Game 8: Purdue at Minnesota
Five Things You Need To Know
1. Minnesota welcomes Purdue to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The Gophers lead the all-time series against the Boilermakers 33-32-3. Purdue won seven straight in the series from 1996-2002, but the teams are 2-2 in their last four games. The last two games have been played at Purdue and both ended up as wins for the Boilermakers. Minnesota and Purdue have faced each other once at TCF Bank Stadium and that game ended in a 35-20 win for the Gophers in 2009.
2. More than 60 Minnesota football players will have their heads shaved on Monday, Oct. 29, to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. Minnesota wide receiver Connor Cosgrove, who is battling leukemia, conceptualized the idea and has worked closely with the department's Student-Athlete Welfare staff to organize the event. The Gophers are partnering with St. Baldrick's Foundation to raise money and awareness. The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Fans are able to support and donate at stbaldricks.org. In the search box on the right side of the page, type "Gophers Clip Cancer" to find the football team's page. A public service announcement featuring Cosgrove and senior linebacker Mike Rallis (who has not had a haircut in four years) will run in-stadium during the Oct. 27 home football game against Purdue. On Saturday fans are able to text the word HERO to 27722 to donate $5. The text donations will only be operational on Oct. 27.
3. True freshman Philip Nelson made his collegiate debut and first career start last Saturday at Wisconsin. He became the second true freshman signal caller to start in as many seasons for the Gophers and just the third all-time. Rickey Foggie (1984) and Max Shortell (2011) were the others. Nelson finished the game as the Gophers' leading rusher with 67 yards on 16 carries. He was 13-for-24 passing for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
4. The Gophers have used 77 players through seven games this season. Thirty-three of those 76 players (42.8 percent) had never played a game for Minnesota prior to this season. The Gophers have used 11 true freshman this year, 10 redshirt freshman and 12 additional players who made their Maroon and Gold debut this season. Last Saturday, true freshman accounted for 94 yards rushing (team had 96), 22 yards receiving (team had 149) and all 149 yards passing.
5. A win Saturday would improve the Gophers to 4-1 at home this season and would be Minnesota's first Big Ten win since it beat Illinois 27-7 at home last year to end the season.
Click on the Game Notes link above for Minnesota's complete game notes.