WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Minnesota (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) at Purdue (2-7, 1-5), 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: Minnesota by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Minnesota leads 41-34-3.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Minnesota's Big Ten West title hopes took a hit with last week's loss to Illinois. The Golden Gophers fell out of a four-way tie for first and now trail Iowa by one game. But they own the head-to-head tiebreaker, so a win could get coach P.J. Fleck's team back in the hunt. At the very least a win makes the Gophers bowl eligible. Purdue already has a postseason-eliminating seven losses but desperately wants to snap a four-game losing streak with their second home win of the season.
Minnesota pass defense vs. Purdue QB Hudson Card. OK, this is not a battle of strengths. The Gophers have allowed 233.9 yards passing per game (11th in the Big Ten), 15 TD passes (tied for 10th) and 7.4 yards per attempt (tied for 12th). Purdue is eighth in passing (207.6 yards), but has a league-low 6.0 yards per attempt. Only three teams have more interceptions than the Boilermakers (eight).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: WR Daniel Jackson. Yes, the Minnesota offense has struggled, but Jackson has been one of the bright spots. His 38 receptions rank sixth in the league and he's fifth in yards (562) and third in TD catches (seven). He could have a big day against Purdue's poor pass defense.
Purdue: Card. Last week, he completed 42.9% of his 28 throws and had 144 yards with one TD and one interception. Sure, that was against No. 2 Michigan. But Card has been struggling. He's had five interceptions and four TDs in the last four weeks and has failed to top 200 yards in three straight games. He needs to be much better for the Boilermakers to turn things around Saturday.
FACTS & FIGURES
Purdue snapped a four-game losing streak against the Gophers last year, but Minnesota has won eight of the last 10 in this series. The Gophers also have three wins in their last four trips to West Lafayette. ... Minnesota scored 53 points over the past two weeks after producing 69 total points in its first four conference games. ... The Boilermakers have the Big Ten's worst-ranked scoring defense (31.2 points per game) under first-year coach Ryan Walters, the former Illinois defensive coordinator. ... Minnesota S Tyler Nubin is tied for second in the Big Ten with four interceptions. ... Deion Burks, the Boilermakers' top receiver, has eight catches for 83 yards over the past three games though he does have TD catches against the Wolverines and No. 3 Ohio State. ... Fleck will again have a chance to become the fifth coach in Minnesota history with 50 career victories. ... Purdue RB Devin Mockobee had his first career 100-yard game against Minnesota last year. Mockobee rushed for 112 yards in that game but has nine fumbles this season.
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