Two teams looking for bounce back games meet up Friday night in the Purdue at Minnesota pick. The Boilermakers suffered their first loss of the season last week in a hard fought 27-20 battle with Northwestern as +4 point home underdogs. The Golden Gophers were embarrassed 35-7 their last time out against Iowa as +3 ‘dogs in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota’s abysmal showing against the Hawkeyes has the oddsmakers listing Purdue as -2 point favorites on the road in this tilt. Is this a chance for P.J. Fleck’s team to get right at home, or does Purdue continue their successful start to the season?
Purdue a Bit Overrated?
The Boilermakers looked good in the season opener, beating Iowa 24-20 at home as +3 point underdogs. They’ve also struggled to a 31-24 win on the road against an Illinois team starting their 4th string QB because of COVID exposure. Then, even after a week off because Purdue’s game with Wisconsin was cancelled, the Boilers were beaten 27-20 at home vs. Northwestern.
Purdue’s offense wasn’t great last week, gaining just 2 yards rushing on 17 carries. That’s no surprise as the Boilermakers have the worst rush offense in the Big Ten, but also the top passing attack in the conference. Purdue QB Aiden O’Connell has put up at least 250 yards passing in each game, and has 4 TD to 0 INT the last two weeks. O’Connell is also a game-time decision however (undisclosed) and Minnesota has the 3rd best pass defense in the conference however.
Purdue’s defense did a stand-up job of shutting down Northwestern’s running game last week, holding the Wildcats to 80 yards on 40 carries. The Boilers face another stiff test in the Purdue at Minnesota pick, as the Golden Gophers rank 2nd behind Wisconsin with 261.5 rushing yards/game. Despite their solid outing vs. Northwestern, Purdue is giving up over 150 yards/game on the ground including 195 to Iowa and 177 to Illinois to start the year.
Minnesota Ground Game Fueling a Win?
Temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing by game time on Friday night, which would prove to be a huge disadvantage to the Purdue passing attack. This game could be playing into Minnesota’s ability to run the ball. Minnesota has one of the biggest and most experienced offensive lines in the entire country, and did tally 145 yards on 40 carries against Iowa’s #4 ranked run defense in the Big Ten.
Mo Ibrahim had all but one of those Golden Gophers rush yards last week, and he continues his stellar play with four straight 140+ yard games to start the year. Rashod Bateman added 8 catches for 111 yards, his 3rd 100+ game on the season. Minnesota has some weapons, despite the ineffectiveness of QB Tanner Morgan who has just 4 TD and 4 INT on the year.
Free Purdue at Minnesota Pick
Mother Nature and a possible injury to Purdue’s starting QB gives the Gophers an edge on Friday night. Minnesota has won two straight in this series, including 38-31 last season when Morgan was 21/22 with 4 TD for the Gophers. Minnesota also won 41-10 the last time Purdue visited the Twin Cities. The Golden Gophers ability to run the football makes them the play.
Minnesota 34 – Purdue 17
Free Pick: Minnesota +2