–> Follow @Tony Liebert on Twitter
- Date: Sat., Nov. 11
- TV channel: NBC
- Time of kickoff: 2:30 p.m. (CST)
- Betting line: Minnesota (+1) @ Purdue, o/u: (46.5 points)
Opponent Information (Purdue):
- 2023 record: 2-7
- V. Fresno State 35-39 L
- @ Virginia Tech 24-17 W
- V. Syracuse 20-35 L
- V. Wisconsin 17-38 L
- V. Illinois 44-19 W
- @ Iowa 14-20 L
- V. Ohio State 7-41 L
- @ Nebraska 14-31 L
- @ Michigan 13-41 L
- Head Coach: Ryan Walters (1st year)
- Players to watch: Dillon Thieneman (S), Hudson Card (QB), Devin Mockobee (RB), Nic Scourton (EDGE), Tyrone Tracy (RB), Preston Nichols (OG)
Coming off the heels of one of the most frustrating losses of the P.J. Fleck era, life in the Big Ten West roles on for the Gophers — traveling to West Lafayette for a road matchup vs. Purdue. In year one of the Ryan Walters era, the Boilermakers have lost four straight games, but they’re still favored against Minnesota.
Purdue Season Storylines:
- Year One of the Ryan Walters era:
Longtime Purdue head coach finally made a longtime rumored move to his alma mater Louisville to accept the same role. Brohm had led the Boilermakers to one of their most successful stretches in program history, so his successor was something interesting to watch. They went out and hired former Illinois DC Ryan Walters. Walters, 37 years old is one of the brightest young defensive minds in the sport. He had found success at Missouri for five seasons between being the safeties coach and DC in Columbia. He completely transformed the Fighting Illini’s defense in only two seasons, know he will look to do the same with Purdue.
- Texas-transfer QB Hudson Card:
Texas transfer quarterback Hudson Card was one of the bigger names in the transfer portal this offseason. Walters and his staff made their first big splash, adding Card to replace longtime starter Aidan O’Connell who is now QB1 with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Card, a former 4-star top-70 recruit in 2020 had plenty of hype when he arrived in Austin. The arrival of Quinn Ewers, Arch Manning and Maalik Murphy pushed him out of the Longhorns depth chart. Through 9 games, he’s had a shaky start completing 57.7% of his passes for 1,861 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Card is still an incredibly talented player, but he has yet to find his footing in West Lafayette.
- Worst team in the Big Ten?:
After a week that saw Michigan State knock off Nebraska and Indiana knock off Wisconsin, it’s a real question of whether or not Purdue is the worst team in the conference. The Boilermakers are the only team in the conference with two wins but with victories over Virginia Tech on the road and Illinois at home, they’ve proved that they’re always dangerous.
I think last week showed that the Big Ten is as deep as ever top to bottom, there are no cupcakes like Rutgers and Indiana have been in the past, so while Purdue might look like the worst team in the conference the Gophers cannot take them lightly.
Gophers’ path to victory:
I think a major factor in this game will be the health of Darius Taylor. Jordan Nubin has proven to be more than capable of being a starting Big Ten running back, but Taylor has proven to take the Gophers offense to another level. This game will be like any game has been in the Big Ten West this season and there will be a handful of opportunities for both teams that will determine the outcome. It will be gross, there will be turnovers and coaching will play a large role.
Purdue’s pass defense has struggled this season, allowing 238.9 yards per game, ranking 89th best in the country. I think we will continue to see an improved performance from Athan Kaliakmanis and he will put together one of his best games of the season against the Boilermakers.
I expect this game to be another up-and-down battle, but Purdue’s offensive inconsistencies and the fact that they haven’t scored more than 14 points from September, gives me the belief that Minnesota will win 21-20 in another close Big Ten West battle.