Date/Time: Oct. 1, 2022 / 11 a.m. CT
Stadium: Huntington Bank Stadium
Series Overall: Minnesota Leads 41-33-3
Streak: Minnesota Won 4
Series in MN: Minnesota Leads 33-12-3
Streak: Minnesota Won 6
Last Meeting: Minnesota won 20-13 in West Lafayette (10/2/21)
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1. Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 B1G), ranked 21st in the AP Poll and 23rd in the Coaches Poll, welcomes Purdue (2-2, 0-1) to Huntington Bank Stadium for Homecoming and the Gophers’ Big Ten home opener Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. on ESPN2.
2. Minnesota enters Saturday’s contest leading the nation in total defense and ranked third in total offense. The Golden Gophers holding opponents to just 187.8 yards per game and are averaging 543.0 yards of offense per game. They boast the No. 3 rushing defense (61.8 ypg) and No. 2 rush offense (294.5 ypg) along with the ninth-ranked passing efficiency defense (98.22 rating) and seventh-ranked passing efficiency offense (184.68 rating). Alabama (2nd-D, 6th-O) and Georgia (11th, 4th) are the only other programs with their total defense and total offense both ranked in the top 15. For good measure, Minnesota also has the No. 2 scoring defense (6.0 ppg) and No. 11 scoring offense (45.8 ppg). With 183 points scored and just 24 allowed, the team’s scoring differential of +159 ranks second nationally behind only Alabama (+164).
3. The 183 points through the first four games of the season is sixth most in Minnesota history. The only higher-scoring starts came in 1904 (324 points), 1916 (236), 1905 (215), 2003 (187) and 2005 (185). Along those lines, the Maroon and Gold’s scoring differential of +159 through four games is fourth best. The years of 1904 (+324), 1916 (+222) and 1905 (+215) are the only seasons with a better scoring margin through four games. The 24 points allowed through four games is the best for Minnesota since 1961 (16 points).
4. Now 4-0 on the season and one of 21 undefeated teams remaining in the country, the Gophers are looking to start 5-0 for the second time in six years under P.J. Fleck and the 21st time in program history. The other instance under Fleck came in 2019 when they started 9-0. Dating back to last year, Minnesota has won seven games in a row. That’s tied with UCLA and Coastal Carolina for the third longest active winning streak in the country. Only Clemson (10) and Kentucky (8) are currently on longer streaks.
5. The 2022 campaign is the sixth for head coach P.J. Fleck at Minnesota, where he holds a record of 39-23. He is already tied for fifth in program history for wins, sixth in Big Ten wins (22), and is seventh in games coached (62). Fleck’s .629 win percentage is third best among the 11 Minnesota coaches with at least 45 games under their helm behind only Henry L. Williams (.786, 1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (.716, 1932-41, ’45-50). A win Saturday would make Fleck the fifth coach at Minnesota to reach 40 wins and he is on track to do it in the third fewest games (63). In his 10th season overall as a college head coach, Fleck is 69-45 (.605).
Gopher tight end Nick Kallerup caught his first career TD last week and spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm this week:
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)