Five things to know about Purdue

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  1. Off to their best start…

Purdue comes into this game 3-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play, which is their best start since 2012. They haven’t gone 2-0 in conference play since 2010. Their only loss of the season comes at the hands of Notre Dame, which was close until the fourth quarter. 

  1. The injury bug has bit Purdue hard. 

Purdue’s leading running back Zander Horvath broke his leg in the second game of the season and is out for some time. Starting cornerback Cory Trice will also miss the Minnesota game with an injury and could return in a few weeks. One person to keep an eye on is wide receiver David Bell, who is one of the best pass-catchers in the conference. Bell took a big hit against Notre Dame and is still in concussion protocol. Backup running back King Doerue also missed the last game due to a “Non-Covid related illness.”

  1. Who will play at QB? 

Jake Plummer started the season at QB, which was no surprise since he was the starter last year and did decently.  What has come as a surprise is the play of Aidan O’Connell, who replaced Plummer when the offense wasn’t moving the ball that well and has shown to be a spark when he plays. Both quarterbacks played against Illinois last week with O’Connell having the better day. Does O’Connell fully replace Plummer this week against the Gophers or do we see both quarterbacks split snaps? 

  1. Jeff Brohm and P.J. Fleck are not best friends. 

Both coaches entered the conference at the same time in 2017 but that is about the only similar thing they share. While their personalities are completely different, which be the reason why they aren’t best friends,  both coaches and teams have made subtle jabs towards one another. One could say it started in 2018. Purdue beat Minnesota in 2017 and then Minnesota won in 2018: 41-10. After the game, Purdue’s Derrick Barnes said “But this is a team we beat the previous year, so we knew that if we come out and play harder… and played strong we could have blown them out of the water.” After another Gopher win in 2019, which Fleck passed that quote on to the team, Fleck said “I do everything I can to educate our players on how to be able to talk to the media and respect all of you, respect your teammates, respect who you are going to play.” Needless to say, you won’t see the head coaches having any pregame chit-chats and their postgame handshakes have been nothing but a handshake. Go to the two-hour, one-minute mark in the video to see what I mean. 

  1. Purdue has struggled against Minnesota in the last decade. 

Purdue enters this game losing three straight against the Gophers and has lost seven of the last eight. Their last win was in 2017, P.J. Fleck’s first year at Minnesota. In their last seven wins against Purdue, the Gophers offense has had no problem scoring 40 points a game. In their current three-game win streak over the Boilermakers, the offense has put up 37.6 points a game. In his weekly press conference before the game, Jeff Brohm mentioned the career performance Tanner Morgan had the last time Minnesota visited… ”We Made Tanner Morgan look like Joe Montana last time he was in Ross-Ade Stadium.”

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