Purdue Football Pulls Away Late, Takes Down No. 21 Minnesota 20-10 on the Road

by 24USATVOct. 2, 2022, 4 a.m. 21
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MINNEAPOLIS — In a matchup with the third-ranked offense among all FBS programs, the Purdue defense produced three takeaways and gave up 304 yards to Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers entered the game averaging 543 yards of total offense per game, including 294.5 on the ground, which was good for first in the Big Ten. But without star running back Mohamed Ibrahim to carry the load, the Boilermakers were stout against the run and allowed just 47 yards rushing.

Despite three turnovers of its own, Purdue pulled ahead in the fourth quarter and held on to take down No. 21 Minnesota 20-10 on Saturday inside Huntington Bank Stadium.

“Just a great team win against a team that was playing about as good as anybody,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said after the game. “They were playing well, they were hot, they dominated their opponents. So to come in here and beat a ranked team, couldn’t be prouder of our football team.”

After a three and out to start the game, Purdue administered a taste of Minnesota’s own medicine to begin its first offensive possession. Junior running back Dylan Downing took three straight handoffs to kickstart a 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive.

The Boilermakers accounted for 38 rushing yards before Downing punched the ball into the end zone from the 2-yard line. His trip to the end zone was the only touchdown of the first half for either team.

Purdue attempted to press a balanced offensive attack through two quarters by recording 21 passes and 16 runs, but it lacked explosive plays down the field. The team’s longest play in the first half was an 18-yard pass to redshirt junior tight end Paul Pifer on the opening drive.

Even when the offense found ways to march into opposing territory, costly mistakes plagued the Boilermakers.

Sixth-year senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who missed last week’s game due to injury, tossed a pair of interceptions in the first half. Redshirt freshman running back Devin Mockobee also put the ball on the ground in the second quarter, but the Golden Gophers only managed three points off the trio of turnovers.

A stout Purdue defense registered two takeaways and allowed Minnesota to gain just 17 yards on the ground before the team went into the locker room clinging to a 10-3 lead.

“We do run fits every day," Purdue redshirt senior defensive lineman Branson Deen said. "So there was nowhere to run, and I think we really played a sound game. I think the game plan was great, and I think we executed great.”

Minnesota would eventually equalize on its first drive in the third quarter, going 52 yards in eight plays, capped by a one-yard touchdown plunge by running back Bryce Williams. Purdue stagnated coming out of the break, recording only 37 yards in the third quarter.

But the Boilermakers found a spark to pull ahead late as O’Connell found sixth-year senior wide receiver Charlie Jones for a 28-yard gain that led to a field goal. Jones led the team with six catches for 55 yards.

“That's what it's about. When a play comes your way, just make it,” Jones said. "That was just one of our base plays, the line was blocking and Aidan threw a great ball to where really only I could get it."

Minnesota went three and out in its next possession, and Mockobee would avenge his earlier fumble by snaking his way through the defense for a 68-yard run that put Purdue at the 2-yard line. He went untouched for a touchdown on the very next play to give the team a 20-10 lead.

Mockobee, a walk-on running back that's seen more playing due to an injury to senior King Doerue, led the team with 112 yards rushing on 11 attempts.

Senior safety Cam Allen came away with his second interception of the afternoon on the Golden Gophers' final drive, which would stave off any chance at a comeback in the final minutes.

Minnesota sixth-year quarterback Tanner Morgan finished the game completing 18 of his 33 total passes for 257 yards and three interceptions after torching Michigan State a week ago.

Following the win, Purdue will be back on the road next Saturday, Oct. 8, for a matchup with Maryland inside SECU Stadium in College Park, Md. That game is scheduled to kick off at noon ET.

Now sitting at 3-2 and 1-1 in Big Ten play, a victory over a ranked opponent came as a result of experiences in tightly-contested matchups through the first four weeks of the season. This time around, it was the Boilermakers who stunned their opponents to walk away victorious.

"The first few games, we've been battle-tested," Deen said. "I think today it showed that we're ready for the test, and we came out and we proved it. That's what the Big Ten is about. Finishing games and being in close games.”
• Purdue, Minnesota Live Blog: Purdue football jumped back into Big Ten play with a 20-10 road win against No. 21 Minnesota on Saturday inside Huntington Bank Stadium. CLICK HERE

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