Purdue routs Minnesota 45-17

Minnesota tried to avoid duplicating its poor early performance against Michigan in Saturday's game at Purdue, but the Golden Gophers actually got worse.Instead of settling for a 14-0 deficit like they had after a quarter against Michigan, they trailed 24-0 in the first 15 minutes of a 45-17 loss to the Boilermakers.

The final score was better this time - Michigan rolled the Gophers 58-0 - but the feeling of getting overwhelmed was similar.

''The first quarter was just one of those things where it just hits you in the mouth,'' Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said.

MarQueis Gray passed for 104 yards and rushed for 20 yards and a touchdown, and Marcus Jones returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score for Minnesota (1-5, 0-2 Big Ten).

Akeem Shavers caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score, Caleb Terbush completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards and a score and O.J. Ross caught five passes for 63 yards and a TD for the Boilermakers (3-2, 1-0). Ricardo Allen returned an interception for a touchdown and Ryan Russell recovered two fumbles for Purdue, which held the Golden Gophers to 211 total yards.

''The backbreaker was fumbling the ball multiple times,'' Kill said. ''We certainly compliment Purdue for their aggressiveness to cause those things, but we just can't make mistakes like that.''

It was Purdue's largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game since a 62-10 win over Indiana on Nov. 22, 2008.

Purdue had a false start on its first offensive play a week after committing 13 penalties in a 38-10 loss to Notre Dame, but the mistakes were few after that against the Gophers. Ralph Bolden's 2-yard run gave the Boilermakers a 7-0 lead.

Carson Wiggs hit a season-long 53-yard field goal to increase Purdue's lead to 10-0 with 5:18 left in the first quarter.

Minnesota's Donnell Kirkwood fumbled and Russell recovered at the Minnesota 11-yard line. The Boilermakers went for it on fourth-and-goal, and Shavers extended the ball to the pylon and scored to push the lead to 17-0.

Kill replaced starter Max Shortell and turned to Gray, who missed the Michigan game with a toe injury.

''We needed some kind of spark because we had nothing go right in the first quarter,'' Kill said.

Gray got a rude welcome back. Allen jumped a route, intercepted a pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to give the Boilermakers a 24-0 lead. It was the third touchdown return of Allen's career, tying Mike Rose and Rod Woodson for the most in school history.

''Our coaches had been stressing all week that their corner had great speed,'' Gray said. ''Unfortunately, I just held onto the ball too long.''

The 24 points were the most Purdue has scored in a quarter since producing 24 in the Indiana game in 2008.

Robert Marve entered the game at quarterback in the second quarter and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ross that gave the Boilermakers a 31-0 lead with 4:08 left in the second quarter.

Minnesota finally got on the board with a 47-yard field goal by Chris Hawthorne, breaking a run of 95 consecutive points by its opponents. Purdue held Minnesota to 88 yards and six first downs in the first half to lead 31-3 at the break.

TerBush returned in the third quarter and led a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive. His 10-yard touchdown pass on a screen to Shavers gave Purdue a 38-3 lead.

Raheem Mostert's 25-yard touchdown run gave Purdue a 45-3 lead late in the third quarter. That set up Jones' kickoff return.

''I knew they were trying to squeeze me in the middle,'' Jones said. ''So I caught the ball and realized the middle was wide open. I just ran as fast as I could, and then I bounced it to the outside and the kicker couldn't get me.''

Jones' return was Minnesota's first touchdown since the fourth quarter against North Dakota State two weeks ago.

Gray's 1-yard touchdown run cut Purdue's lead to 45-17 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Gophers played even on the scoreboard in the second half.

''I thought the effort was better today,'' Minnesota linebacker Mike Rallis said. ''That's how we're always trying to be, playing hard for 60 minutes, regardless of what it says on the scoreboard. We just need to put ourselves in a better situation earlier in the game.''

The young Gophers have to figure things out soon - the Gophers have a week off before hosting No. 14 Nebraska on Oct. 22.

''We need all the experience and reps we can to get better as a team,'' Rallis said. ''We have to continue to put in the work in practice, and the bye week will give us a chance to regroup.''


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