MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – After a field goal and a crucial forced three-and-out, Purdue had 2:40 left on the clock to score a touchdown to take the late lead on Minnesota. However, Gophers linebacker Nick Rallis had other ideas.
Facing a decisive fourth-down and one, Boilermaker quarterback David Blough handed the ball off to running back Jack Wegher looking for the first down, but Rallis found him first and forced the freshman to fumble. Four players later, Minnesota running back Rodney Smith nailed Purdue’s coffin shut with a 14-yard touchdown run to finalize the Gophers 44-31 win over the Boilermakers.
The man just keeps scoring touchdowns.
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) November 5, 2016
Blough led the way for Purdue’s offense with a four touchdown day and outplayed his Minnesota counterpart, Mitch Leidner, by a wide margin, but didn’t receive any help from his running game. Blough’s finished the game completing 29 of 48 passes for 391 yards and the four scores, and had the Boilermakers winning 28-23 at halftime.
However, Minnesota’s running game wore away Purdue’s defense in the second half as the Golden Gophers scored 21 points in the second half, all on rushing touchdowns. Smith led the Minnesota rushing attack, which out-gained Purdue by over 212 yards on the ground, with 153 yards and three scores. Leidner, who didn’t throw a touchdown pass, scored two on the ground as his defense take care of the rest. The Gophers forced the Boilermakers into three second half turnovers, which culminated on the final forced fumble which sealed the game.
Purdue falls to 3-6 on the season (1-5 in conference), while Minnesota improves to 7-2 (4-2) with a critical matchup with No. 10 Nebraska looming next weekend that may have Big Ten West conference title implications..