Saturday’s opponent: Purdue
Three things to know:
Big Ten punching bag
Purdue closed the 2012 season with three consecutive Big Ten victories and earned a trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Since then it is 1-16 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers’ latest loss, however, was a tight one at then-No. 2 Michigan State: 24-21 last Saturday, ending when Purdue couldn’t score on its final drive of a wild second half. Purdue (1-4) was down 21-0 at halftime.
Gophers’ best chance for a Big Ten road win
The Chicago Tribune recently ranked Big Ten stadiums, and Ross-Ade finished last. It holds more than 57,000, but only33,162 showed up for Purdue’s most recent home game, a 35-28 loss to Bowling Green on Sept. 26. The Gophers have trips to Ohio State and Iowa coming in November, so this is their best chance for a Big Ten road victory. The Gophers lost in their past two stops in West Lafayette, Ind. — 45-17 in 2011 and 28-17 in 2010 — but are favored to stop that losing streak Saturday.
Rough start again for Hazell
Darrell Hazell (5-24 at Purdue) is suffering through another bad start in his third season. The Boilermakers have the worst defense in the conference (33 points allowed per game). You can’t find a Boilermaker among the top five in the Big Ten in any offensive category, and their team defense is last or close to it in several key areas.