Coach Jeff Brohm came to Purdue with a reputation as a creative genius.
His attacks were fast, fun, and fearless. They scored points by the dozen, winning shots on goal.
So when the Boilermakers’ defensive difficulties became the obstacle, Brohm stepped in. He has changed his coach, his philosophy and his direction.
On Saturday, Purdue’s revamped defense will discover progress against an old nemesis with a tour of Minnesota.
“We were terrible against them on offense,” Brohm said. “Two years ago their quarterback came here and you would have thought he was Joe Montana. He completed 21 of 22 assists and it wasn’t a good defense, it’s a nice way to do it. say. Last year we played better against the run, but we let them throw inside the fade roads all day. “
They are very different teams now, however.
Purdue (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) gives up 14.3 points and barely 300 yards per game, keep two opponents out of the end zone. No team has exceeded the 27 point mark.
This is one of the main reasons the Boilermakers have their best start since 2012 and are set to go 2-0 in the league for the first time since 2010 – despite losing their top two running backs to of injuries with their top receiver, David. Bell (concussion protocol). It’s unclear if Bell will be cleared to play on Saturday.
Minnesota (2-2, 0-1), meanwhile, struggled since losing wide receiver Rashod Bateman to the NFL and leading running back Mohamed Ibrahim with a lower leg injury that ended the season in a loss to Ohio No.4 State.
The Gophers needed 10 points in the fourth quarter to survive a scare in Miami, Ohio and then lost 14-10 to Bowling Green last weekend – a stunning result that sparked a reunion of players.
“We really sat down and said, ‘This is where we have to make a decision,'” defensive end Boye Mafe said. “We know last week was not good enough.”
Coach PJ Fleck reassured his team noting that 25% of Power Five schools have already lost to a Group of Five team this season and now Minnesota has a chance to end their season with a fourth straight victory over Purdue.
Brohm and the Boilermakers defense also want to show they’re better than people think.
“We’re starting the meat of the calendar, and we have a lot of tough opponents,” Brohm said. “We still have a lot to prove and we have to work hard to improve because it has to happen in order for us to win. “
No one wants to bounce back more than Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan, who was 5 of 13 with 59 yards and two steals against Bowling Green.
Morgan will receive additional support at Ross-Ade Stadium, a three-hour drive from his hometown of Kentucky.
Her mother, Pat, who attends every game, a sibling, grandparents, and aunt and uncle should all be in the crowd. Morgan’s father Ted died this summer from brain cancer and the only game he missed before this season was in 2019 at Fresno State because his wife asked him to stay home.
“I think she gave my dad a little warmth, and that’s something we laugh about today,” Tanner Morgan said. “I am incredibly blessed to have a family who truly love me and a father who truly loves me and is truly proud of me.”
QUESTION OF NEIGHBORHOOD
The quarterback question has become a routine during Brohm’s tenure, and it’s back after Aidan O’Connell relieved Jack Plummer last weekend and leads Purdue to the winning score. Brohm told reporters he would announce a decision to players on Tuesday. Everyone else will have to wait until Saturday.
“Aidan has great balance in the pocket and great command of the attack,” Brohm said. “His ability to grab our offense and throw in time and hit intermediate throws is a plus.”
END TO END
The Gophers have two of the Big Ten’s top 12 players in the sacks. Mafe has four and defensive end Thomas Rush has three, having played the outside linebacker last season. The two quickly become friends.
“Boye is a phenomenal teammate,” said Rush. “Just to be able to enjoy those moments with him, it’s great.”
AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis also contributed to this report.