In another sloppy, Big Ten battle, Purdue falls to Minnesota by a score of 20-13. It feels like whenever heavy rain games come along, Purdue has massive struggles offensively... and thus was the theme of today’s ballgame.
All of a sudden, this team has hit a massive slump on the offensive side of the football and lost 2 of their last 3 games. Purdue’s defense did continue their solid play this year getting a lot of stops to give Aidan O’Connell and the guys a chance to sneak out of Ross-Ade with a win.
Purdue’s issues on offense all year in my opinion have been failing to execute situationally, especially on third down and in the red zone. Maybe Jeff Brohm believed that starting Aidan O’Connell over Jack Plummer would solve these issues, but it was a whole lot of the same for the Boilermakers. Taking out the UConn game, Purdue is averaging about 17 points per game.
Coming out of the gates, even for the lack of scoring, Purdue’s offense looked to be in a nice flow during the first quarter at times. These swings in momentum were then totally dead after costly mistakes and turnovers. O’Connell had his first which was a fumble in the opening drive, then Minnesota would turn that into 7 points.
Purdue would not be able to strike back until 6 minutes left in the first with a 36-yard field goal by Mitchell Fineran. It then looked like Purdue might be getting some mojo and snapping out of their funk in the opening minutes of the second quarter, when Aidan O’Connell connected with Milton Wright for a beautiful touchdown pass and catch to take a 10-7 lead.
Minnesota and Purdue then traded field goals in the last five minutes of the first half to make the score 13-10 at the break.
Minnesota then came out with a 3 play, 75-yard touchdown drive to start half spanning just over a minute. Purdue had a lot of chances to take the lead back and get back into the contest, but could never quite get there. There were two or three big moments that really decided the game, one being giving up a sack when Purdue was driving, for a 12-yard loss that took them well out of FG range.
When the Boilermakers finally got into the red zone, the previously perfect Mitch Fineran missed a 37-yard field goal that would have made it just a one-point game. This was not entirely his fault as it was a poor snap and hold, but it was brutal nonetheless.
The nail in the coffin was obviously Aidan O’Connell’s interception in the final minute. He had been taking chances all game and easily could have had 3 or 4 passes picked off, but it was the final pass that was ultimately what ended the game.
From the looks of things, Brohm is probably going to stick with Aidan O’Connell at quarterback and bring Austin Burton in for those short-yardage-designed run plays that we saw today.
David Bell and King Doerue both provided a lot of production in their returns to the lineup as Doerue had 120 total yards from scrimmage, while Bell resumed his role as the number one wideout and a 6 catch, 120 yard stat line. Bell also reached the 2,000 career yards mark, the 12th in school history to do so.
Milton Wright also had a great performance with a season-high 91 yards on 6 receptions including a touchdown.
Now, Purdue needs to reset and figure it out. Three straight games of lackluster offensive outputs should not be acceptable for a Jeff Brohm-led team. Until then, I can see this season getting very long for Boilermakers fans.
This may sound odd, but today was a potentially huge game for Jeff Brohm. Now, Purdue takes on Iowa on the road which they have won before but it is not a favorable match-up this season. Following that, they have back-to-back games against Wisconsin and Nebraska that are extremely winnable games.