Minnesota Gophers (2-2) vs Purdue Boilermakers (3-1) Week 5 Preview
We are going to keep things positive for this preview. Whatever happened last week wasn't the Gophers that we have come to know since PJ Fleck took over in Minnesota. The Gophers will be traveling to Purdue this Saturday to take on the Boilermakers at 11am Central Time. It's early in the season and the Big Ten West is 100% up for grabs with all the deciding games right in front of the Gophers over the next couple of months.
The experienced Gopher football team will have plenty of billboard/locker room material to get up and motivated for this week. Last week was one of the more disappointing Homecoming games I have ever experienced, but there is no way that last week will be what defines this team. I still truly believe this team is Top-25 in the nation and they will have a fun road test against Purdue to kick off the Big Ten West season! The main question is: which Gophers team will show up on Saturday? Will it be the team that was beating Top-5 Ohio State in the 3rd quarter and a team that dominated Colorado 30-0 on the road? Or will it be the team that has struggled against 2 MAC teams so far? I would like to believe the Gophers will play a complete game against Purdue and get their season back on track.
Offenses: The Gophers offense has been inconsistent this year. They need to come out of the gates running the ball with Treyson Potts and the other RB's and not stop. The passing game needs improvement, but Tanner Morgan and the receivers will find some consistency as long as the ground game is working. The Purdue offense has a lot of key injuries and hasn't played well this year. They will likely be using 2 different QBs this game and they will be relying on the passing game, since their running game hasn't been performing and the Gophers rush defense has been a brick wall. Purdue might be playing without their top WR and without their top 2 RBs. That doesn't bode well for them.
Defenses: The Gophers defense has been a bit susceptible to big passing plays, but the rush defense has been top notch. Purdue's defense has been their bright spot this season and their only loss of the season has been against Notre Dame. Their rushing defense has been mediocre, ranking 51st in the FBS, so far. Treyson Potts has been very solid, stepping in for Mo Ibrahim, and comes into this game with 3 consecutive 120+ rushing yard performances. I expect him to continue that streak, even if Purdue decides to stack the box against the Gopher's offense.
Like I said earlier, this game will be determined by which Gopher team decides to show up. I think the Gophers will come into Purdue, pissed off from last week, and absolutely roll the Boilermakers 34-14. The Gophers desperately need a bounce back week to show the Minnesota fans that last week was a fluke that will never happen again.