With new defensive coordinator, Gophers stymie Purdue for 1st Big Ten win

Purdue beat Ohio State a month ago, but they couldn't handle the Gophers.

The often-torched Minnesota Gophers defense was anything but that as they allowed just 233 total yards in a 41-10 blowout victory over the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday. 

A dominating defense was the last thing anyone expected after Minnesota fired defensive coordinator Robb Smith just six days prior after giving up 55 points to lowly Illinois. 

Jim Rossi, the defensive line coach, took the reigns as defensive coordinator and his game plan shut down a Purdue team that just a month ago upset third-ranked Ohio State and entered the day second in the country with 23 passing plays of 40+ yards. 

His defense came up with the play of the game when linebacker Blake Cashman forced a fumbled and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to put Minnesota up 21-3. 

Purdue's drive-by-drive summary shows they didn't score a touchdown until their 11th possession of the game, and they might not have scored at all until that 11th drive if not for a Gophers fumble deep in their own territory that led to a first quarter field goal. 

  • 5 plays, 13 yards - punt
  • 5 plays, 16 yards - field goal
  • 3 plays, 9 yards - punt
  • 3 plays, 3 yards - punt
  • 4 plays, 9 yards - turnover on downs
  • 5 plays, 18 yards - punt
  • 3 plays, 8 yards - fumble recovered for a MN touchdown
  • 4 plays, 17 yards - punt
  • 3 plays, 8 yards - punt
  • 10 plays, 30 yards - turnover on downs
  • 10 plays, 75 yards - touchdown
  • 8 plays, 47 yards - end of game

Mohamed Ibrahim led Minnesota offensively with 155 rushing yards while Tyler Johnson hauled in his ninth touchdown of the season. Johnson finished with five catches for 73 yards, putting him within 52 yards of a 1,000-yard season. 

The last Gopher receiver to reach 1,000 yards was Eric Decker with 1,074 in 2008. 

The win puts the Gophers at 5-5 on the season and 2-5 in Big Ten play. They need to win one of their final two games (vs. Northwestern, at Wisconsin) to become bowl eligible. 

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