Ugly Second Half For Gophers in Loss to Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Devin Mockobee and Tyrone Tracy Jr. each rushed for more than 100 yards, and Hudson Card matched his career high with three touchdown passes Saturday, leading Purdue to a 49-30 blowout over Minnesota.
The Boilermakers (3-7, 2-5 Big Ten) snapped a four-game losing streak with their second home win of the season by rushing for a season-high 345 yards. Mockobee rushed 17 times for a season-best 153 yards and one TD. Tracy had 15 carries for 122 yards and two scores and had one catch for 52 yards.
Minnesota's second straight loss was a devastating blow to its fading Big Ten West Division title hopes. The Gophers (5-5, 3-4) shared the division lead going into last week but now find themselves two games behind Iowa (No. 22 CFP) and still need another win to become bowl-eligible.
And this loss might be Minnesota's most frustrating all season.
For the first time since 2004, against Ball State, Purdue opened a game with TDs on its first four possessions and the Boilermakers defense repeatedly forced the Gophers to kick field goals.
The result was predictable.
Athan Kaliakmanis and Card traded scoring passes on their opening possessions and the Gophers took a 10-7 lead on their second possession.
But Card answered with a 24-yard TD pass to TJ Sheffield, who made a spectacular one-handed catch despite being held on the play. After another Minnesota field goal, Tracy Jr. capped a 75-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run. Card followed that with his own 1-yard run to make it 28-13.
All Minnesota could muster after that was Chris Autman-Bell's one-handed 27-yard TD reception while drawing a pass interference call that made it 28-20 at the half, a late field goal, and a late TD pass.
Purdue sealed the win with Card's 42-yard scoring strike to Deion Burks early in the third quarter.
Card was 17 of 25 with 251 yards and ran eight times for 44 yards and the TD.
Kaliakmanis finished 18 of 42 with 292 yards and three TDs. Jordan Nubin rushed 16 times for 89 yards and Daniel Jackson had seven receptions for 119 yards.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers seemed well-positioned for a memorable November when it beat No. 24 Iowa on Oct. 21. Now the outlook has turned bleak. Minnesota must beat either No. 3 Ohio State (No. 1 CFP) or rival Wisconsin just to become bowl-eligible.
Purdue: This was the offense first-year coach Ryan Walters expected to see all season. Yes, the Boilermakers managed to stop their losing streak, earn their second home win this season, and beat the Gophers for the second straight year, it just came too late to make the postseason.
Minnesota: Leading tackler Maverick Baranowski left with what appeared to be a right wrist injury in the first quarter and defensive back Tre'Von Jones with what appeared to be a right shoulder or arm injury later in the first half. Neither returned.
Purdue: With two starting offensive linemen already out and LT Daniel Johnson ruled out before the game, Walters moved right tackle Ben Farrell to left tackle and put Josh Kaltenberger at right tackle. Card appeared to hurt his throwing shoulder in the second half but did not miss a play.
BY THE NUMBERS
Minnesota: Autman-Bell had two receptions for 66 yards and became the ninth player in school history with 2,000 yards receiving in his career. ... P.J. Fleck must wait another week to win game No. 50 with the Gophers. ... Minnesota still has only beaten Iowa and Purdue on the road twice in the same season.
Purdue: The Boilermakers avoided their first five-game losing streak since 2016 when they lost their last six. ... Mockobee's first career 100-yard game came against Minnesota last season (112 yards). ... Boilermakers LB Nic Scourton recorded his eighth sack this season.
Minnesota: Visits No. 3 Ohio State (No. 1 CFP).
Purdue: Makes its final road trip this season next Saturday at Northwestern.