GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. PURDUE DEFENSE

Purdue defensive coordinator Greg Hudson held that same job for the Gophers from 2002 to 2004. The Boilermakers are last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (33.0), but the defense wasn’t responsible for four of those TDs — two pick-sixes, a fumble return and a blocked punt. Advantage: Purdue

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Both teams have good punters. Ryan Santoso has made seven of nine field goal attempts, compared to 3-for-8 for Purdue’s Paul Griggs. Advantage: Gophers

Player to watch

Purdue quarterback David Blough is a redshirt freshman who’ll be making his third career start. He went 29-for-39 for 340 yards against Bowling Green but just 15-for-31 for 136 yards against Michigan State.

 

THE OPPONENT

Purdue is 5-24 in three seasons under Darrell Hazell, including 1-16 in the Big Ten. Seeking a breakthrough win, the Boilermakers trailed No. 4 Michigan State 21-0 at halftime Saturday and wound up losing 24-21. The Spartans entered survival mode, at home in cold, wind and rain.

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. PURDUE OFFENSE

The Gophers rank 14th nationally in fewest passing yards allowed (154.6), but they’ll have to contain Purdue’s Markell Jones, who rushed 22 times for 157 yards last week against Michigan State. The 5-11, 207-pound Jones, a true freshman, was the Indiana Mr. Football winner last year. Advantage: Gophers

 

INTANGIBLES

The Gophers had 20 players miss practice with injuries Wednesday and will be without eight starters. They are also 1-9 in their past 10 games at Ross-Ade Stadium. Advantage: Purdue

 

JOE’S PREDICTION

 

19           17

MINN     PUR

Jerry Kill’s injury-riddled team won’t get style points but will lean on its defense and four field goals from Ryan Santoso for a much-needed win.