Game Notes: Gopher Football 44, Purdue 28 (10/27/12)

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

Oct. 27, 2012

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Postgame Notes
Minnesota [5-3, 1-3] 44, Purdue [3-5, 0-4] 28
October 27, 2012   |   TCF Bank Stadium  |   Minneapolis, Minn.   |   Att. 41,062

SERIES NOTES
• Today’s game was the sixty-ninth all-time against Purdue, with the Gophers leading the series, 34-32-3.
• Purdue won nine of ten in the series during 1996-2007, but Minnesota is 3-2 during the past five seasons.
• The Golden Gophers’ record in games played versus Purdue in Minneapolis improved to 29-12-3 all-time.
• This was the second game in the series played at TCF Bank Stadium, with the Gophers improving to 2-0. Minnesota defeated Purdue, 35-20, here on October 10, 2010.
• The 44 points scored marked the most by Minnesota against Purdue since a 59-56 win at home on Oct. 9, 1993.

TEAM NOTES
• Minnesota reached five wins for the first time since going 6-7 during 2009. The Gophers reached five wins in their eighth game, the fastest they’ve reached five victories since it took just six games during 2008.
• Minnesota improved to 12-14 in games played at TCF Bank Stadium, and is 11-8 there since the start of 2010.
• The Gophers improved to 4-1 at home this season with their first home B1G win since last year’s season-ending 27-7 win versus Illinois. The 4-1 start at home is Minnesota’s best since also starting 4-1 at home during 2008.
• Of head coach Jerry Kill’s eight wins at Minnesota, seven have taken place at home.
• Kill’s career record in home games improved to 82-30 (.732).
• Minnesota finished with 458 yards of total offense, just short of the season-high 478 yards it accumulated in the season-opening overtime win at UNLV. It’s the most yards against a B1G opponent since the Gophers had 415 yards in last year’s 31-24 loss at Michigan State on Nov. 5, 2011.
• The Gophers’ four TDs on four-straight drives during the first and second quarters marked the first time Minnesota has accomplished that feat since scoring TDs on five consecutive drives during the second and third quarters of a 49-48 overtime loss at Northwestern on Oct. 13, 2007.
• The 34 points scored by Minnesota in the first half were the most since scoring 35 points in the opening half of the 44-41 Insight Bowl loss to Texas Tech on Dec. 29, 2006. It was the most points scored in a half versus a Big Ten opponent since the Gophers scored 35 points in the first half of their 63-26 win versus Indiana on Nov. 4, 2006.
• The Gophers’ defense entered today’s game without a defensive interception or fumble recovery in Big Ten play, but came up with an interception in the win. Two potential INTs by Minnesota were overturned by replay reviews.
• Minnesota recorded three sacks and had 10 pass breakups.
• Minnesota wore Maroon pants with Maroon jerseys at home for the second time this season. The Gophers wore that combination during their 17-10 win against Syracuse on Sept. 22.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES (OFFENSE)
• True freshman quarterback Philip Nelson made his second consecutive start for the Gophers after having his redshirt removed last week.
• Nelson completed 13 of his first 14 pass attempts, including a streak of 12 consecutive completions.
• Nelson completed 15-of-17 passes for 246 yards and three TDs in the first half. With as much as a 37-point lead early in the third quarter, the Gophers went to a running game to eat up clock. Nelson finished the game 15-of-22, while also rushing nine times for 37 yards.
• Redshirt junior wide receiver Derrick Engel caught his first career TD, a 34-yard strike from Nelson, in the opening quarter. Engel had nine touchdown receptions during the 2009-10 seasons at Winona State.
• Senior MarQueis Gray made his second start this season at wide receiver and caught four passes for 53 yards.
• Sophomore running back Donnell Kirkwood rushed 22 times for a career-high 134 yards, including 14 attempts for 90 yards in the second half.
• Freshman running back Rodrick Williams Jr. scored his first career touchdown for the Gophers on a four-yard run in the first quarter. Williams had career-high totals of nine rushing attempts for 43 yards and the TD.
• Junior wide receiver A.J. Barker caught his team-leading sixth and seventh TD passes of the season, hauling in a 38-yarder from Nelson in the first quarter and then breaking free for a 63-yarder in the second quarter.
• Barker, who left the game due to an injury on the 63-yard TD, tied his career-high with five receptions for a career-best 135 yards and two TDs. It was Barker’s third 100-yard receiving game this season, and his third game with five catches. Barker’s career-best for TDs in a game was three against Western Michigan on Sept. 15.
• Barker leads the Gophers with 30 catches for 577 yards and seven TDs this season.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES (DEFENSE)
• On Purdue’s first drive of the third quarter, senior cornerback Michael Carter broke up three passes and then intercepted a pass during a six-play span. It was Carter’s second interception of the season, and he returned it 43 yards for his first career touchdown.
• The pick-six by Carter was the first for the Gophers since Traye Simmons returned an interception 23 yards for a TD versus Northwestern on Nov. 1, 2008.
• Carter tied a single-game record with six pass breakups in the game, giving him 13 for the season. Michael Lehan also had six pass breakups versus Michigan State on Oct. 20, 2001.
• Senior defensive end D.L. Wilhite increased his team-leading sack total to 6.5 by recording one sack for a seven-yard loss.
• Sophomore defensive end Ben Perry notched his first sack of the season, while also forcing a fumble and breaking up a pass attempt.
• Freshman defensive end Thieren Cockran recorded his first career sack.
• Senior cornerback Troy Stoudermire tied for the team lead with seven tackles (six solo) and added a pass breakup.
• Junior safety Brock Vereen tied Stoudermire with a team-high seven tackles and had two pass breakups.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES (SPECIAL TEAMS)
• Senior kicker Jordan Wettstein made 3-of-4 field goals in a game for the second time this season. Wettstein opened the season by making 3-of-4 field goals at UNLV on Aug. 30. He had two field goals versus Northwestern on Oct. 13.
• Wettstein made a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter, added a 35-yarder right before the half, and then made his longest attempt this season from 44 yards in the third quarter. He missed a 45-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.