Skip to main content

P.J. Fleck's Gophers ship 49 points in embarrassing rout at lowly Purdue

Up against the 2-7 Boilermakers, the Gophers defense was unable to make a stop.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Minnesota Golden Gophers' Big 10 West hopes are all-but-done after falling to another humiliating defeat, giving up 49 points to a struggling Purdue team that entered the day rock bottom in the division.

The 49-30 loss means P.J. Fleck's men are now 5-5 with a conference record of 3-4, and need a miracle to win the Big 10 West after Iowa beat Rutgers. The Gophers need to beat both No. 1 Ohio State and Wisconsin, while requiring Iowa to lose out and other results fall their way.

They'll also need to win one of their two remaining games just to be bowl eligible.

On Saturday's showing the Gophers will have trouble beating anyone let alone Ohio State and Wisconsin, with Minnesota's defense having no answer to Purdue's running game and deep passing plays. 

The Boilermakers cut through the Gophers with ease, with the visitors unable to get a stop until 42 seconds remaining in the first half, and their offense disappeared in the second half as Purdue pulled away with relative ease.

The first six drives of the game resulted in scores, but with three touchdowns for Purdue to the Gophers' one, the home side found themselves 21-13 ahead.

The Gophers had gotten off to the perfect start, with a four-play opening drive ending with a 21-yard touchdown catch by tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford – his second touchdown in as many games.

The lead lasted mere minutes as Purdue responded with an opening drive touchdown of their own, as Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card found Garrett Miller for a 20-yard score.

Athan Kaliakmanis then led the team down the field on the next drive, resulting in a field goal as the Gophers retook the lead, but the Purdue offense continued to walk through the Gophers defense, and on the next drive TJ Sheffield produced a stunning 24-yard catch in the end zone.

Nov 11, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver Daniel Jackson (9) catches a pass against Purdue Boilermakers defensive back Dillon Thieneman (31) during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Nov 11, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver Daniel Jackson (9) catches a pass against Purdue Boilermakers defensive back Dillon Thieneman (31) during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium.

What was starkly apparent in the first half was time in possession. While the Gophers put together methodical drives that ate up the clock, Purdue would immediately hit back with a series of explosive plays that put points on the board in a matter of seconds.

Another field goal resulted from the Gophers' first drive of the second quarter, but Purdue then took just three plays to move 75 yards, including a 52-yard catch for running back Tyrone Tracy Jr., who then rushed in for a touchdown on the very next play.

The seventh possession was the first to not result in points, though this was not down to Dragan Kesich missing his field goal attempt as the Gophers lost a chance to stay within striking distance. 

Within moments of gaining possession, Purdue running back Devin Mockobee ripped off a 65-yard run that brought his team to the one-yard line. The Gophers defense stood strong for the first three plays, but Card was able to run the ball in on fourth down to stretch his team's lead to 15 points.

But after finally forcing a three-and-out from Purdue, the Gophers struck on the stroke of half time, with Chris Autman-Bell making an incredible falling catch in the end zone from Kaliakmanis' pass to get Minnesota back within a score.

Any hope of the Gophers reeling Purdue in took a massive blow early in the second half. After both teams went three-and-out, Purdue went 74 yards in just three plays (again), with Deion Burks finishing a deep bomb to send Purdue 35-20 up.

That proved to be a killer score, with the Gophers' offense, which performed well in the first half, unable to get going in a second half in which they only managed a field goal.

Purdue meanwhile continued to make big play after big play, with Mockobee running in for another score early in the fourth quarter to put Purdue three touchdowns ahead and the result beyond doubt.

Tracy Jr. added another rushing touchdown with five minutes remaining to complete the rout, with a late touchdown catch from the Gophers' Elijah Spencer proving a mere consolation.