GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. Boilermakers DEFENSE

Purdue ranks 13th in the Big Ten in scoring defense, with most of the struggles coming against the run. The Boilermakers have allowed 250.0 rushing yards per game, which plays right into the Gophers strengths with Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. Advantage: Gophers

SPECIAL TEAMS

Gophers kicker Emmit Carpenter is one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, and punter Ryan Santoso is searching for consistency. Advantage: Gophers

Player to watch

Purdue sophomore David Blough completed a career-high 34 passes against Penn State last weekend, giving him three games with at least 30 completions. He passed for 458 yards and five TDs against Iowa. He has nine TDs and three INTs in the past three games.

THE OPPONENT

Purdue fired Darrell Hazell on Oct. 16 and promoted WR coach Gerad Parker to interim. Since then, the Boilermakers are 0-2, but they led Nebraska 14-10 at halftime and were tied with Penn State 17-17 at the half. If Purdue could put together four good quarters, it could be dangerous.

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. Boilermakers OFFENSE

Purdue likes to throw the ball all over the field and run the draw play. Blough had 50 pass attempts against Penn State and 43 against Nebraska. Senior receiver DeAngelo Yancey had an 88-yard touchdown reception against Nebraska and a 62-yarder against Penn State. Advantage: Gophers

INTANGIBLES

The Gophers won’t overlook Purdue after needing a 52-yard field goal from Santoso to beat the Boilermakers 39-38 at home just two years ago. Advantage: Gophers

JOE’S PREDICTION

Gophers 45

Purdue 14

Far from perfect so far, the Gophers put it all together on a gorgeous fall afternoon.