Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Gophers Use Big Third Quarter To Undermine Boilers

Stan Jastrzebski

At least most of the student body wasn't around to see this.

In front of a crowd diminished by Purdue's fall break and much smaller than the announced figure of 33,780, the Boilermakers again failed to secure their first Big Ten Conference home win in the Darrell Hazell era, losing to Minnesota 41-13.

Purdue scored a touchdown on its first drive, converting a 4th-and-1 at the Gopher 2-yard line and then taking the lead when D.J. Knox ran the ball in on the next play. But the Boilermakers only led 6-0 after Paul Griggs' extra point attempt clanged off the left upright, continuing the senior kicker's season-long struggles.

The first of Purdue quarterback David Blough's three interceptions led to a Minnesota score near the end of the first half, putting them up 10-6 at he break. But the Boilers were literally run over by Minnesota tailback Shannon Brooks in the second half.

Two plays into the third quarter, Brooks broke five tackles on a 71-yard scoring run and the visitors never looked back. For the game, the Gophers had eight runs of at least 10 yards and Brooks racked up 176 yards on 17 carries (an average of better than ten yards per rush). The Minnesota rushing attack saw seven different people carry the ball and bowl over numerous Boilermakers en route to 326 yards -- more than Purdue's entire offense had. The success of the ground game led Minnesota to 28 unanswered third quarter points and effectively put the game away.

The Purdue offense wasn't much of a factor after its opening drive. Blough completed only 21 of 49 passes for 207 yards. His one touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter with the game already out of reach was more than offset by the three interceptions he'd thrown earlier.

Despite good showings in most of his games this season and a standout game against Michigan State last week, the Boilermakers failed to start freshman running back and leading rusher Markell Jones, and then handed him the ball just six times, as the team gained 68 yards combined on the ground.

The Boilers are now 1-5 on the season and would have to win five of their last six games to become bowl eligible. They head to Madison next week to face Wisconsin.