Minnesota vs. Purdue prediction and game preview. The Golden Gophers look to keep pace in the Big Ten West with a victory over the Boilermakers on Saturday.
Minnesota vs. Purdue Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
If not for a heartbreak start to October, Minnesota could be heading into this contest 8-0 and in control of its own destiny in the Big Ten West. Instead, the losses to Penn State and Iowa by a combined 10 points have made the Golden Gophers’ road more difficult despite having won three in row.
Their defense has been the story during that winning streak as they’ve taken over the Big Ten lead in turnovers forced. Coincidentally, Purdue is coming off a 62-24 loss to Penn State, during which it turned the ball over four times. Interim coach Gerad Parker hopes to have the Boilermakers more conscious of hanging on to the ball this week.
What To Know About Minnesota
The Gophers have forced at least three turnovers in four straight games, giving them a conference-leading 18 and tying them for 10th in the nation in takeaways. They held Illinois to 245 total yards – their best effort of the season – in last week’s 40-17 victory and rank third in the Big Ten in average yards allowed per play at 4.71.
Minnesota’s offense has taken advantage of the extra possessions, especially Rodney Smith. He finished with his third straight 100-yard game against the Illini and scored twice to give him 10 touchdowns, tied with Saquon Barkley for the conference lead. Smith also can return kicks and leads the Big Ten in all-purpose yards.
What To Know About Purdue
David Blough has thrown an interception in every game but one this season, but he’s also been forced to throw the ball nearly 70 more than every other quarterback in the Big Ten because Purdue constantly is playing from behind. Blough’s 12 picks are the most in the conference, and he’ll have to be smarter against the ball-hawking Gophers.
More concerning, though, has been the Boilermakers’ defense – or lack there of. Purdue is giving up an average of 6.38 yards per play, which ranks 118th in the nation. It also ranks 115th in scoring defense allowing an average of 36.9 points per game.
Offense: Minnesota – Smith is the X-factor.
Defense: Minnesota – The Gophers have a great opportunity to pad their takeaway total.
Special Teams: Even – Purdue is allowing the fewest yards per punt return, and Minnesota is allowing the fewest yards per kick return.
Coaching: Minnesota – Tracy Claeys is doing a quality job with the Gophers, who will be heading to a fifth straight bowl game.
Intangibles: Minnesota – The Gophers picked off Blough three times in last year’s 41-13 victory.
Matchup To Watch
Smith vs. Purdue’s run defense
Smith has to be salivating watching film. Purdue is allowing an average of 5.78 yards per carry, which ranks 125th in the country. Smith is going to get a lot of touches and he’s going to run all over the Boilermakers.
Spread: Minnesota -17
Minnesota vs. Purdue Prediction
Smith nears 200 yards rushing, the Gophers intercept Blough three times for the second straight year and win handily.
Minnesota vs. Purdue final score prediction: Minnesota 48, Purdue 21