MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s maligned defense held Purdue to season-lows in yards and points, and Seth Green had a touchdown rushing and passing for the Gophers in a 41-10 win against the Boilermakers in the cold and snow on Saturday.
Redshirt freshman Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 156 yards for Minnesota, which played its first game under interim defensive coordinator Joe Rossi and posted its best showing in conference play after entering the game allowing 43.2 points and 507.7 yards per game.
Gophers linebacker Blake Cashman forced a fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown as Minnesota (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) held Purdue to 233 total yards and 0 of 12 on third down.
Senior quarterback David Blough was 20 of 31 for 142 yards passing for the Boilermakers (5-5, 4-3), who entered the game second in the Big Ten scoring with 35.8 points per game.
Coach P.J. Fleck fired defensive coordinator Robb Smith after giving up 646 yards in a loss to Illinois the prior week. Rossi was the team’s defensive line coach this season.
The announced 21-degree weather was the third-coldest start for a game in the 10-year history of TCF Bank Stadium. A light snow fell during much of second half in which Minnesota took control.
Cashman’s fumble return for a touchdown on the opening drive started the half. The Gophers capped their first three offensive possessions of the second half with a touchdown.
Green had a 2-yard rushing touchdown. Bryce Williams ran for a touchdown from 11 yards out and quarterback Tanner Morgan connected with Tyler Johnson for a 12-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-3 early in the fourth quarter.
The longest drive for Purdue, which entered with 485.2 yards per game in Big Ten play, was 30 yards until midway through the fourth quarter when Blough connected with Moore for a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap a 75-yard drive.
Purdue: The Boilermakers’ chance to win the Big Ten’s West division took a big hit with a second straight loss on the road. They were 3-1 within a division led by Northwestern. For any shot, Purdue will likely have to beat Wisconsin next week and hope for help against Northwestern. Of more concern is the bowl outlook gets cloudy as well. Purdue will need at least one win out of Wisconsin and Indiana.
Minnesota: The defensive improvement sure changes the perception. The Gophers had allowed at least 30 points in every Big Ten game this season prior to Saturday. Beating Purdue gets Minnesota one game closer to bowl-eligible. The Gophers need a win at home against Northwestern or on the road at Wisconsin, no easy task.
Purdue: Hosts Wisconsin on Nov. 17.
Minnesota: Hosts Northwestern on Nov. 17.
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