SCOUTING REPORT: GOPHERS AT PURDUE
Saturday: 2:30 p.m. Ross-Ade Stadium (ESPN2, 100.3-FM)
A look at the Boilermakers
A year ago, Purdue was on top of the world when it demolished then-No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 at home for a fourth consecutive victory. The Boilermakers were 3-0 to open the Big Ten season, which included winning back-to-back road games at Nebraska and Illinois. They averaged 45.7 points per game in that early conference stretch. In the next two road games, though, Purdue scored a total 23 points, including a 41-10 loss at Minnesota. Things basically went downhill from there, with four losses in the last six games. Jeff Brohm’s road woes continued into the 2019 season, blowing a 17-point lead in a 34-31 season-opening loss at Nevada. Purdue’s offensive weapons are still formidable with All-America wide receiver Rondale Moore, but quarterback Elijah Sindelar’s health after a concussion creates doubt if things will turn around in Big Ten play.
Who to watch: Purdue receiver Rondale Moore and tight end Brycen Hopkins
Containing Moore has been the No. 1 priority on every opponent’s scouting report since he burst onto the college football scene early last year. History could be made Saturday if Moore records six catches and two receiving touchdowns to become Purdue’s career leader in both categories — as a sophomore. Injuries to receivers David Bell (shoulder) and Jared Sparks (ankle) have opened the door for Moore’s talented tight end teammate to get passes thrown his way, too. The 6-5, 245-pound senior ranks second on the team with 13 catches for 202 yards with a team-best three touchdowns (two of them vs. Vanderbilt).
From the coach: Jeff Brohm
Brohm, who was 13-13 overall and 9-9 in the Big Ten in his first two seasons at Purdue, was known as a quarterback whisperer when he took over Western Kentucky’s program in 2014. In three years, the Hilltoppers won 30 games and earned three consecutive bowl appearances behind stellar QB play. Brohm’s signal-callers continue to put up big numbers with the Boilermakers. Sindelar, next in line this year after David Blough’s graduation, led the country with 932 passing yards before a concussion sidelined him at the end of the Vanderbilt victory. Brohm has been noncommittal this week on Sindelar’s availability to play instead of backup Jack Plummer on Saturday vs. the Gophers. Earlier this week, Brohm said “some things popped up again” for Sindelar before the TCU game, but on Thursday, the coach added, “We are hopeful to have him ready for the game.”