WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. – The Gophers went to halftime with a 10-6 lead over Purdue.
The Gophers’ defense had gone three straight games without creating a turnover. They created two in the first half, as Purdue fumbled a punt and threw an interception.
Minnesota couldn’t capitalize on the fumbled punt, as Ryan Santoso missed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right. But Jalen Myrick intercepted a pass from David Blough mid-way through the second quarter, giving the Gophers the ball at Purdue’s 37-yard line.
Shannon Brooks had runs of 9 and 23 yards, and Mitch Leidner scored on a 1-yard sneak.
Leidner played the whole half and completed 6 of 10 passes for 39 yards with an interception.
Purdue won the coin flip, opted to receive, and started the game with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. With injuries depleting the Gophers secondary, true freshman Antonio Shenault got the start at nickel, and Purdue picked him right away.
Senior receiver Danny Anthrop beat Shenault on a post pattern, and David Blough hit him with a 41-yard pass. Purdue converted on fourth-and-1 from the 2-yard line, and D.J. Knox punched it in on the next play.
Purdue kicker Paul Griggs missed the extra point off the left upright, but the Boilers had still made an early statement.
But the Gophers’ defense held Purdue to 46 yards the rest of the half.
Rodney Smith, who was questionable coming into the game, wound up carrying six times for 19 yards in the first half.