Gophers rally at Purdue to give Fleck 1st 2nd-half comeback
Trey Potts ran 4 yards for the go-ahead touchdown 70 seconds into the second half, and the Golden Gophers held on for a 20-13 victory Saturday at Purdue.
Minnesota (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) won its fourth straight over the Boilermakers — this one giving P.J. Fleck his first second-half comeback in 50 career games at the school. He is now 1-17 with the Gophers when trailing at halftime.
The Boilermakers (3-2, 1-1) were seeking their second straight 2-0 start in league play.
But after trailing most of the first half, Minnesota wasted no time turning the game in the second half.
Tanner Morgan found Mike Brown-Stephens for 54 yards on the first play, Potts ran for 17 yards on the second play and scored on the third play to erase the 13-10 halftime deficit on a wet, cool afternoon at Ross-Ade Stadium. Minnesota sealed it with a 38-yard field goal with 1:46 to go.
Chris Autman-Bell hauled in a 32-yard TD pass to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead on its opening possession but the Boilermakers answered with a short field goal and then a 7-yard TD pass from Aidan O’Connell to Milton Wright. O’Connell started in place of Jack Plummer.
And after Minnesota tied it at 10, Purdue closed out the half with a 42-yard field goal from Mitchell Fineran.
Potts ran 15 times for 78 yards while Morgan was 9 of 18 with 169 yards passing.
O’Connell was 33 of 51 with 357 yards and one interception. He was sacked four times and lost a fumble.
Minnesota: It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t efficient. Still, the Gophers got what they needed — a road win. Morgan played well enough but needs to perform more consistently to loosen up defenses. Minnesota continues to look solid defensively.
Purdue: Coach Jeff Brohm made the quarterback change and got running back King Doerue and receiver David Bell back from injuries. But the Boilermakers again struggled to score and O’Connell’s poorly timed sacks and final interception were significant miscues. Purdue must find a way to produce more points.
OUT OF ACTION
Minnesota receiver Dylan Wright missed the game following the death of Aaron Lowe, a high school teammate. The 21-year-old Lowe, a cornerback at Utah, was shot and killed early last Sunday morning in Salt Lake City. Wright returned home to Mesquite, Texas.
Minnesota: Linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin left in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury after a collision with a teammate. Safety Tyler Nubin left briefly but returned and picked off O’Connell’s final pass.
Purdue: Played without tight end Payne Durham (concussion protocol) and lost right guard Tyler Witt (left leg) briefly in the first quarter.
Minnesota: Begins a two-game homestand next Saturday against Nebraska.
Purdue: Following next week’s bye the Boilermakers visit No. 5 Iowa on Oct. 16.