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Christensen: Q&A with Purdue football beat writer Mike Carmin

With the Gophers getting ready to play at Purdue on Saturday, I traded a Q&A with Mike Carmin, the Boilermakers beat writer for the Lafayette Journal & Courier. You can follow him on Twitter @carminjc. Here's the report I gave him on the Gophers, and here's the report he gave me on Purdue:

1. I know no one wants to talk about moral victories in a coach's third year, but what impact do you think that 24-21 close call at Michigan State can have on the program's collective psyche?

It doesn't hurt, but they have to start building each week to move this program forward. Purdue has been close before - at Marshall, against Bowling Green and at Michigan State. The Boilermakers haven't made the necessary plays at the right moment to pull out a victory. It was a different loss than the previous three because Purdue rallied from a 21-0 deficit, had the ball on the last possession and the momentum. Can the Boilermakers sustain that momentum against a different opponent? Check back Saturday. 

2. What are your impressions of David Blough so far, and has his performance come as a surprise?

He played well in his first start against Bowling Green and I thought he would have an uneven performance against MSU. That's a tough defense to face in your second start. He lost one fumble and the interception was similar to a punt. He missed some throws that he needs to make if this offense is going to stay on the field and produce points. He also needs help from the running game and his receivers have to make plays. Still a young player who is learning.

3. Markell Jones sure looked impressive on the highlights last week. How has he been able to compile that 6.8-yards per carry average?

I didn't really know what type of impact Jones would make this season, but you could see in training camp he was going to be on the field this season. He sees things very well and knows when to make the right cut at the right moment. He won't dazzle you with speed - like Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert did last year - but if Jones gets in the open field, he'll run away. He's also strong, especially in his lower body. In 60 carries, he doesn't have a negative rushing play.

4. What things would need to come together for Purdue's defense to start playing about mid-pack for a Big Ten team, instead of toward the bottom?

The scoring average is a little misleading because four TDs are a result of two pick-sixes, a fumble return and blocked punt for scores. The yardage allowed is all real. Purdue has been dreadful against the run in recent seasons and has given up 200 yards or more on the ground in seven of the last 11 games, dating back to last season. The Boilermakers will never be a three-and-out type defense but need to start making plays when it matters. Last week at MSU, they were able to get off the field late in the fourth quarter to give the offense a chance. To me, that's progress.

5. What kind of atmosphere will the Gophers be stepping into Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium, in terms of approximate crowd size and enthusiasm?

Since it's fall break on campus, student attendance will be down and overall I don't expect an electric atmosphere but it's been that way for several years. Attendance, though, is up 13 percent compared to last year after three games. Students ticket sales are up, nearing 10,000, a positive sign. The Boilermakers have also lost eight straight conference home games dating back to the end of the 2012 season. Purdue has to start creating a home field advantage at some point to help the program but also bring the fans back. 

Gophers release depth chart, injury report for Purdue game

Gophers coach Jerry Kill told KFAN (100.3-FM) on Thursday that eight starters would be out for Saturday’s game at Purdue. He also said he didn’t want to disclose what the new injuries are, to keep from giving the Boilermakers an edge.

It's hard to glean much from the team's depth chart and injury report, which comes out each week after the Thursday practice.

Kill had said two offensive linemen are out. The depth chart actually has injured left tackle Ben Lauer returning to start, with Jonah Pirsig moving to right tackle. Josh Campion, who missed the season opener with a concussion, is not listed as a starter this week. He’s listed as a backup at both tackle positions.

Jon Christenson (knee surgery) is listed as the backup left guard, behind Joe Bjorklund. Those two are expected to split time.

The injury report lists six players, and not all are would-be starters, so there are more names to come. The injury report says four players are out: Craig James (broken leg), Jeff Jones (unspecified injury), Lincoln Plsek (back) and Duke Anyanwu (knee). It lists two players as questionable: Damarius Travis (hamstring) and Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee).

Here's a look at the full depth chart and injury report, but it's worth noting that it's probably an incomplete picture.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Gophers football at Purdue

    2:30pm on ESPN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Timberwolves vs. Chicago (preseason)

    6pm on NBATV, 830-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    7pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Lynx at Indiana

    7:30pm on ESPN, 106.1-FM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto (preseason)

    6:30pm on 830-AM

  • Timberwolves vs. Toronto (preseason)

    6pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Phoenix

    9pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State


  • Minnesota Duluth at Gophers men's hockey

    7pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Los Angeles

    9:30pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

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