Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Early in Saturday’s game, it looked like a repeat of last week’s loss to Northwestern for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Purdue had a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game, but a missed extra point was a bit of a buzz kill for the Boilermakers. Minnesota scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter, then a four-touchdown domination in the third quarter made it 38-6 entering the fourth quarter and the Golden Gophers will come home with 41-13 win.
The star of the game for the Golden Gophers was freshman running back Shannon Brooks, who had 17 carries for 176 yards. His 71-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter helped push Minnesota’s lead to 17-6, and Purdue really never recovered amid an onslaught of touchdowns over the rest of the period.
A run-heavy game plan limited quarterback Mitch Leidner’s numbers, but he was efficient (8-for-12 for 59 yards) and he accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) against Purdue. Both of Leidner’s touchdown passes went to tight end Brandon Lingen, who finished with three catches for 22 yards and two scores.
Any talk of Demry Croft playing a lot on Saturday did not meet reality, but the true freshman signal caller did play in his second straight game and he went 2-for-5 as a passer along with 34 rushing yards.
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Cornerback Jalen Myrick helped break Minnesota’s forced turnover drought with two interceptions on Saturday, including a pick-six in the third quarter that came right after Lingen’s second touchdown reception and effectively sealed a victory. The Golden Gophers were +3 in the turnover margin on Saturday, and perhaps no other number is a better reflection of how the game turned out.
A decisive victory is just what the Golden Gophers needed on Saturday, as they now enter the teeth of their Big Ten schedule. If nothing else, their ability to easily handle an inferior opponent is a good sign moving forward.
Up next for Minnesota is a home game against Nebraska next Saturday. Kickoff is slated for around 2:30 pm. Central Time.
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