Giving Gophers keep taking it

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 9, 2011 - 12:05 AM

Minnesota basically handed Purdue a 24-point lead in a brutal first quarter, committing all sorts of mistakes in another painful, punishing Saturday.

view larger photos

  

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. - Whip them, punish them, humiliate them. Inflict scars both psychic and physical, and even dance a mocking makes-we-want-to-shout shimmy in front of their facemasks. The Gophers absorb it all, climb back to their feet, and respond with a startling request:

More. Give me more.

"I wish we could have played another quarter, just to keep playing," coach Jerry Kill said almost masochistically after his Gophers fell behind by 31 points seemingly during the opening coin flip and walked away after the requisite 60 minutes with their second consecutive blowout loss, 45-17 to Purdue. "We need repetitions, with the youngsters we have playing right now."

It's not fun and it's not sublime, but this is what the Gophers are left with now: Learning how to operate the cockpit controls before they can ever try to fly.

This week's crash came not in the form of a far-superior force, as in last week's 58-0 disaster in Michigan, but in the Gophers' own ineptitude. Two fumbles in their own territory, an interception returned for a touchdown, and a roughing-the-punter penalty that extended a Boilermakers touchdown drive -- all that before halftime, no less -- decided the outcome. But not the day's worth.

"There's some guys who got better today. There's some young guys who played pretty good. There's some older guys that I thought stepped it up," Kill said. "We just haven't done it as a team."

Not even close, not in Big Ten play. The Gophers allowed 372 yards to just 213 of their own, 22 first downs while picking up only half as many, eight extra minutes of possession under a hot, defense-roasting sun. So it's not fair to the Boilermakers to say the Gophers, who used 18 freshmen in various roles, gave a victory away.

But Purdue's first three scoring drives went 39, 36 and 11 yards, thanks to a pair of Donnell Kirkwood fumbles and Dan Orseske's shanked punt, and their fourth first-quarter score was provided by cornerback Ricardo Allen's easy read of MarQueis Gray's underthrown pass and 37-yard return to the end zone. A second-quarter Boilermakers drive stalled at their own 33, but Devon Wright dived into the punter's legs and reignited what turned into a 70-yard touchdown march.

"To be honest, the whole first quarter was one of those things that just hits you in the mouth. We just seemed not to be able to fight back off that with a big play of our own," Kill said. "All four of those [mistakes], that's 24 points. We certainly compliment Purdue for what they did and their aggressiveness to cause those, but on our side of it, you can't make mistakes like that."

Or drop an open pass at the goal line, as Marcus Jones did. Or react to a pass breakup by shoving the cornerback, another freshman mistake that cost Jones and the Gophers 15 yards and killed a drive. Or scatter passes in the vicinity of, but rarely directly to, receivers, as Gray did upon relieving Max Shortell at quarterback. Gray was 4-for-14 at one point before locating his receivers late in the game, but the missed connections were chronic and crippling.

"I felt confident in myself. We were getting out and doing some good things. Then all of a sudden, [we'd] do something bad," said Gray, who didn't start but was called upon after the first three drives under Shortell were short-circuited by mistakes. "We couldn't find a rhythm on offense."

Not until Purdue, after its players took part in an exaggerated dance-off between the third and fourth quarters, sent in its own second- and third-teamers. Gray, who finished with 104 passing yards on 8-for-20 effectiveness, directed a six-minute drive that ate up 78 yards in the final period, completing a couple of timely passes and keeping the defense off-balance with a couple of runs, including the touchdown plunge from a yard out.

It's not much, but it's a step. In a season likely doomed to the Big Ten basement but devoted to laying a foundation while they're down there, the Gophers took heart from small but tangible accomplishments. Jones' electrifying 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and his 32-yard reception along the sidelines. Duane Bennett's 3.5-yard rushing average. Three sacks, a shocking total for a team that had two in the season's first five games.

And especially, the chance to get experience that will help them someday.

"This is how we're going to be -- 60 minutes hard, no matter what it says on the scoreboard," linebacker Mike Rallis said. "I completely agree [that he would have played even longer]. Me personally, and as a team, we need all the experience and reps we can get."

  • related content

  • Gophers' Gray rusty but glad to be back in game

    Saturday October 8, 2011

    The quarterback played with little practice this week because of a hurt big toe, but coach Jerry Kill is confident he will improve.

  • Jones' jaunt counts this time around

    Saturday October 8, 2011

    He didn't even turn around to look.

  • Recap: Purdue 45, Gophers 17

    Saturday October 8, 2011

    The junior quarterback excelled mostly by avoiding mistakes; his 140-yard day included a touchdown pass and no turnovers.

  • No stopping 'em

    Sunday October 9, 2011

    The Gophers have given up 103 points over the past two weeks, and the remaining schedule features high-scoring offenses from...

  • Purdue running back Raheem Mostert ran past Gophers defensive back Kim Royston for a 25-yard score in the third quarter.

  • PURDUE 45, GOPHERS 17

    Up next: 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22 vs. No. 14 Nebraska • TCF Bank Stadium • TV: Ch. 5 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 82 4th Qtr 3:31
Milwaukee 80
Philadelphia 47 3rd Qtr 5:19
Utah 48
New York 32 2nd Qtr 9:45
Sacramento 44
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 3rd Prd 3:02
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 1st OT
Arizona 1
Chicago 3 2nd Prd :44
Colorado 2
Edmonton 0 1st Prd 5:09
Calgary 3
San Jose 1 1st Prd 7:28
Los Angeles 0
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 30 2nd Half 7:50
Illinois 82
Colorado State 42 2nd Half 6:33
New Mexico St 42
Portland 58 2nd Half 1:07
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 49 2nd Half 6:52
Utah State 64
Bristol University 53 2nd Half 3:26
Weber State 107
Sacramento St 72 2nd Half 3:15
Utah Valley U 48
Southern Utah 21 1st Half 3:44
UNLV 34
SD Christian 13 1st Half 4:28
San Diego St 28
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 17 3rd Qtr 10:54
(24) USC 31
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close