The Minnesota Golden Gophers lost their second game in a row Saturday, falling to the Purdue Boilermakers 31-17 and dropping to 3-2 on the season.
The Gophers started out strong, with 14 points off four Boilermakers turnovers in the first half. They ran the ball well early with Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith, who finished with 204 yards combined. In the red zone, quarterback Conor Rhoda found Tyler Johnson and Brandon Lingen for touchdowns.
The Gophers defense played great football early as well, with an interception from linebacker Kamal Martin and a forced fumble from Thomas Barber. It highlighted a great opening performance from the linebackers, who kept the Boilermakers in check through the first half.
With Duke McGhee out on suspension and Antoine Winfield Jr. out on injury, the Gophers needed safety Adekunle Ayinde to step up. He answered with a first quarter interception, adding to their 14-6 first half lead.
The Boilermakers made adjustments that would prove to be game winning ones. They pulled starting quarterback David Blough early in the second quarter, shortly after his second interception. This proved to be a smart decision, as backup Elijah Sindelar went on to throw for 248 yards and a score in the comeback game.
The Boilermakers also got the ball to running back D.J.C Knox, who gave their offense an explosive and dynamic edge in the running and passing game. He finished with 173 all-purpose yards and a score.
The Gophers were only able to add a field goal before a weather delay that lasted roughly an hour. Once play resumed, the Gophers found themselves down 24-17 with the clock winding down.
The Gophers were down by seven with 1:17 left on the clock. They started driving 48 yards to try to get down in time to tie the game; that’s when Rhoda threw an interception to Ja’Whaun Bentley, who took the gift for a 75-yard pick six to seal the game.
It is the second consecutive game Rhoda has thrown a pick on a drive that could tie or win the game.