Gopher Toe

Each week we attempt to give you some things to think about regarding that week's Purdue game. For tonight's matchup with Minnesota, I just couldn't help posting this picture of the Minnesota Golden Gopher's... cameltoe, I guess.

Tonight the Boilers take on the 1-2 Gophers in the Metrodome in front of... several fans. Seriously, Minnesota needs to put a major college level football stadium back on their campus. It's kind of ridiculous.

Let's go back two years. Glen Mason, then Gopher's coach, basically got his team ready for Purdue starting with Spring practice. The Boilers had kind of owned Minny for a while and Mason was tired of losing to Tiller. His players played an inspired game in the Big Ten opener in 2005 and the Gophers prevailed -- barely -- in overtime. They reacted like they'd just won the Rose Bowl. Predictably, they tumbled in the subsequent weeks. None of us could really figure out why they took Purdue so seriously -- nobody else does, often to our advantage.

So last year, Glen Mason brought his senior noodlearm QB Brian Cupito into West Lafayette and the Boilers won a sloppy game that was a portent of things to come in the Boilers unimpressive 8-win season.

Well, things are a little different now. Mason is no longer there and the Gophers are starting a freshman QB. However, I'll tell you what hasn't changed: Minnesota still really can't stop anybody on defense and it looks like this Purdue-Minny game might look like the way they looked back when the cadre of writers here at Boiled Sports were starting our time at Purdue in the early/mid-90s. Purdue typically owned them back then, too, and used to win games by scores like 59-56. Nobody could stop ANYone and guys like Rick Trefzger looked like Heisman-caliber passers. Well, I think we could be in for another entertaining, if sad, shootout.

Minnesota is 1-2 but hasn't scored less than 31 points in any game. However, they've lost to Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic, so what does that tell you? Well, basically, that they couldn't stop boilerdowd if he were rushing the ball.

On the positive side for Minny, they've only lost their two games by a total of four point, and their starting QB, Adam Weber, has thrown for almost 800 yards and ten TDs in just three games. Not bad, but that's mainly because they've played three shootouts and are often (always) playing from behind. What scares me about this is that Purdue's defense, while improved, has still taken some quarters off against far lesser opponents. Sure, they've played some decent mid-level schools and maybe a mid-level school equals a marginal Big Ten school (like Minnesota). My point is that what concerns me is this game being a trap game: its SO easy to look ahead at the schedule and see a win tonight, a win next week at home against the South Bend Geniuses and then welcoming OSU to town at 5-0. And if it's easy for US to do that, then you know it's easy for the players to do that. And none of us have any confidence that our coaching staff can keep this squad focused. We're on the road tonight, playing against a team that can put up points. Sure, they won't be able to stop us, either, but what if we take a quarter off and are down 17 points? The question will be whether Painter and company can come back in that "environment." Fortunately, it's only the Metrodome and Minnesota fans so that's a nonfactor.

I checked in with my esteemed co-author boilerdowd and he thinks I'm unnecessarily concerned:

Minnesota's pass defense: 118th
Purdue's pass offense: 15th

Minnesota has allowed over 400 passing yards PER GAME. They've played BGSU, UM (Ohio) & Florida Atl.

I honestly don't see how they can win this game...It's much like it was during the Brees years at Purdue, but more lop-sided against the Gophers. I don't know if it's fair to call it a trap. It should be nearly like Purdue is playing without a defense opposing them.


I love that last line. "It should be nearly like Purdue is playing without a defense opposing them"

Yes, if they're focused. A bigger "if" than any of us want to admit.

Well, as I write this, the game is just ten hours away. So let's get on with it, prediction time.

boilerdowd:

Purdue 49
Mini 10

Painter & Bryant make it rain in the dome...also Orton to start another TD streak. Look for Dan Dierking to look strong as he has had a full week with the 1s. Defense gets back to where it was in the first half of the CMU game.


Tim:

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

J Money:

I would be supremely disappointed if we lose this game because we're such a better team than Minnesota. As long as the Boilers stay focused early, this one shouldn't be a problem. However, I do think we'll give up points in chunks tonight unless the defense is just crushing in the first quarter and truly rattles Weber.

Boilers: 45
Gophers: 33


Saddle up, boys, the Big Ten schedule begins today and it's time to get serious.

Worrisome Win

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