Date/Time: Oct. 2, 2021 / 11 a.m. CT
Site: West Lafayette, Ind.
Stadium: Ross-Ade Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass
Series Overall: Minnesota Leads 40-33-3
Streak: Minnesota Won 3
Series at Purdue: Minnesota Trails 7-21
Streak: Minnesota Won 1
Last Meeting: Minnesota won 34-31 in Minneapolis (11/20/20)
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The Golden Gophers are one of the strongest teams in the country in both rushing offense and defense. Minnesota ranks 13th in the country by allowing opponents just 77.0 rushing yards per game, while the Gophers’ offense ranks 26th with an average of 209.2 rushing yards per contest. Minnesota is one of just six teams in the country to rank that highly in both categories. The rush defense has given up just three yards in the last two games (-19 at Colorado, 22 vs. Bowling Green), while the offense has gained at least 175 in all four games this year, including a season-high 277 yards at Colorado on Sept. 18.
2. The Gophers have turned to redshirt sophomore Trey Potts as their lead back with the season-ending injury to Mohamed Ibrahim and Potts has delivered in a big way. In three games as a starter, he’s rushed for 440 yards and scored five touchdowns on 87 carries. In his first career start against Miami (OH) on Sept. 11, Potts ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries, smashing his previous personal highs in all three categories. In fact, Potts’ 34 carries are the second most by an FBS player this season. He followed that by rushing for 121 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on 26 carries at Colorado, then tallied 141 yards on 27 rushes against Bowling Green. Since Sept. 11, no player in the country has run more times or for more yards than Potts.
3. Sporting a 28-21 mark, Saturday will be the 50th game as head coach for P.J. Fleck at Minnesota. Of the 10 coaches in program history to have coached at least 50 games with the Gophers, only Henry L Williams and Bernie Bierman have a better record at the 50-game mark than Fleck. Fleck is 10th already in school history in games coached, and tied for eighth in wins. He needs one more victory to tie John Gutekunst (29-36-2, 1986-91) and Jerry Kill (29-29, 2011-15) for sixth place in Minnesota annals. Fleck’s .571 win percentage is third best among the 11 Minnesota coaches with at least 45 games under their helm behind only Williams (.786, 1900-21) and Bierman (.716, 1932-41, ’45-50). In his ninth season as a college head coach, Fleck is 58-43 overall.
4. Minnesota did not have a sack through its first two games, but the Gophers have since tallied 9.0 sacks in their past two contests. Boye Mafe and Thomas Rush recorded 2.0 sacks a piece at Colorado on Sept. 18. Mafe added 2.0 more against Bowling Green, while Trill Carter also had 2.0 against the Falcons and Rush added his third of the year. The 5.0 sacks against Bowling Green were the most for Minnesota since recording 6.0 against Nebraska in 2017. That was also the last time the Gophers had at least 9.0 sacks in two games as they preceded the performance against the Cornhuskers with 3.0 sacks at Michigan.
5. Minnesota and Purdue meet for the 77th time on Saturday. The Golden Gophers own a 40-33-3 edge in the all-time series and have won the last three matchups. That’s tied with three straight wins over Indiana for Minnesota’s longest active win streak against a B1G team. The Golden Gophers are 7-21 all-time in the series at Purdue. They won when the teams last played in West Lafayette in 2019, and a win this Saturday would mark the first time Minnesota has won consecutive games on the road at Purdue in program history.
SPANN-FORD EXCITED FOR TEAM TO REBOUND
Gopher tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm about his season:
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)