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. 

Next Up

Foreman tl - Flug-Presley tr - Sturm bl - Pettus br - Go Fund Me and Facebook

Mystery surrounds discovery of 4 MN friends found dead in SUV

Here's what is known about the case so far — and what questions remains.

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 9.21.25 AM

Mpls. school moves to virtual learning due to homeless encampment on grounds

The Volunteers of America School says some students will work remotely, while others work at alternative sites.

storm, severe weather

Severe weather Thursday: Here's what the NWS is saying

If storms can get going during daylight hours, they might be nasty.

John Thompson

Rep. John Thompson to serve as independent after ousting by House DFL

Thompson has been involved in multiple controversies following a July 4 traffic stop.


Chisholm school sends some grades home due to COVID-19 outbreak

Elementary students at Vaughan-Steffensrud are subject to the outbreak.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins needs to let it fly against the Cardinals

An aggressive approach could ensure a win in the desert.

Minneapolis police

Shooting Wednesday marks 7th homicide in 7 days in Minneapolis

The latest shooting happened just before noon Wednesday.


Pedestrian, 34, dies after being struck by semi-trailer on Hwy. 12

The State Patrol says the pedestrian was standing in the lane when he was struck by the semi.

Charpenter injury ATV Go Fund Me

ATV rider nearly killed after being impaled in neck by large stick

The stick was 1.5 inches in diameter and went 6-7 inches into his body.

covid, schools

COVID-19: 153 cases linked to State Fair; school cases rapidly growing

More than 1,100 school-related cases were reported Monday and Tuesday combined.

pixabay coffee waffles

MN restaurant faces $98K fine amid fallout from pandemic violations

The coffee and waffle shop has continued to operate despite not having a license.


Gophers fire defensive coordinator Robb Smith

The defensive line coach has been promoted to interim defensive coordinator.

Gophers whip Wisconsin, bring the axe back to the better state

Minnesota became eligible for a bowl game with the win.

Maryland rushed for nearly 300 yards to beat the Gophers in their Big Ten opener

Ty Johnson's 34-yard run with less than 90 seconds to play beat the Gophers.

Previously winless Nebraska blows out Gophers 53-28

Minnesota fought back from a 28-0 deficit but didn't last.

Gophers hang tough but fall short to Ohio State

Nobody expected the Gophers to hang with the third-ranked Buckeyes.

Daniel Faalele

Marquee bowl games projected for undefeated Gophers

Rose Bowl talk gets real with a win over Penn State.