After a disappointing loss to Northwestern last Saturday, the Boilermakers have an opportunity to bounce right back.
Purdue will travel to Minnesota tonight to take on the Golden Gophers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Despite their 1-3 record, Minnesota has had success against Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers in the past, winning each matchup since 2017.
The Boilermakers started the season off strong with a 2-0 record, but its recent loss has the team ready to rebound and gain some new momentum on a short week.
“I feel like we had as good a week as you could practice,” Brohm said in a press conference Wednesday about the upcoming game. “We got right back in it and I think our guys have done a great job.”
Brohm remains optimistic, speaking highly of his team’s response to the loss.
“Our guys have shown a lot of maturity,” Brohm said. “Now it’s about going out and executing.”
Minnesota has started sluggishly after an 11-2 season, which was capped off by defeating then-No. 23 Auburn in the Outback Bowl and a top ten finish in the AP Top 25, but with the return of wide receiver Rashaad Bateman and the success of running back Mohamed Ibrahim, the Boilermakers must respect a balanced offensive attack.
“You have to be careful,” Brohm said. “They have two great NFL players and a good quarterback as well. It’s a tough combination.”
Bateman has over 400 receiving yards through four games and Ibrahim has rushed for a whopping 715 yards, racking up 10 touchdowns in the process. Ibrahim has yet to have a game with fewer than 149 rushing yards
Last week against Northwestern, the offense had significant struggles. The team rushed for a total of 2 yards and accumulated a total of 265 yards total on offense. The loss brought junior quarterback Aidan O’Connell’s starting role into question.
While the rushing attack wasn’t as successful as the first two weeks of the season, Brohm said he feels that the offense retains the ability to spread the ball. Junior running back Zander Horvath contributed to the team’s 265 total yards with a career-high nine catches for 100 receiving yards against the Wildcats.
“The goal is always to have balance,” Brohm said. “One thing I can say about Zander is that we didn’t get much push on the line of scrimmage, but we did find ways to get him the ball.”
Horvath could potentially be gearing up for a field day with Minnesota’s defense, which has allowed an average of 238 rushing yards per game.
Purdue opened the Las Vegas betting odds as a 3-point favorite, but the continuous loss of key players may affect the game plan. Wide receiver Rondale Moore remains sidelined for undisclosed reasons, and defensive end George Karlaftis is questionable.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll get a few guys back, but we’ll see come game time,” Brohm said.
The game will kick off from TCF Bank Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST. Fans can tune into the Big Ten Network to watch.