The Purdue Boilermakers and Minnesota Golden Gophers headline the Big Ten on Friday night. Minnesota fans have had enough with this season and are already looking ahead to next season. If there’s any season to be bad, it’s going to be more acceptable to happen in 2020, so P.J. Fleck avoids a full brunt of criticism with this team.
And no, I don’t think we can make an exception for Michigan, who has been bad under Jim Harbaugh for a while now. The pandemic is no excuse for Harbaugh and the Wolverines. In any case, Minnesota has been so bad this season that Michigan made easy work of them to open the 2020 campaign.
Minnesota heads into Friday with a record of 1-3, with their lone win against a bad Illinois team. They have losses against Michigan, Maryland, and Iowa. The 45-44 loss versus Maryland has to be the biggest stain on their season. Maryland is not a good team by any means, so that’s a huge blemish.
After getting blown out by Michigan, 49-24, you would have believed some fight was going to be present for the Golden Gophers. The offense did what they could, though the defense didn’t offer any resistance. In their outing last week at home against Iowa, it was more of the same. If the Hawkeyes wanted to they probably could have scored more in the 35-7 win. They were well aware that Minnesota wasn’t a threat offensively.
This is going to be a season to throw into the waste bin for Fleck, who can start fresh in a full season in 2021. Purdue has been rock solid this year. Nothing special, but they’re off to a 2-1 start and been competitive in all of their outings. Their biggest win came in Week 1 of the Big Ten schedule against Iowa.
The Boilermakers bounced the Hawkeyes by a score of 24-20 in an impressive display. After dispatching Illinois the following week, Purdue lost a close one against Northwestern, 27-20. To casual observers that might look like a bad loss, but Northwestern has been playing excellent football in 2020. A game on the road against them isn’t easy, as Purdue showed in their loss. Head below for our free Purdue vs. Minnesota pick for November 20, 2020.
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Big Ten Football Betting Odds:
Purdue vs. Minnesota Prediction:
Minnesota hasn’t done much right this season. Tanner Morgan has really been a disappointment under center for the Golden Gophers. He is coming off a productive season last season. Morgan passed for 30 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 66% completions. Work hard in the offseason and Morgan would have been on a nice path to hearing his name called in the draft in the future. The way it’s going, he still could be a late round flier, though.
Having said that, Morgan has been well off the mark this season. Even with an ultra talented running back on the field with him, Morgan has struggled to get locked in. Morgan has passed for 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on 57.5% completions. He doesn’t have much to work with in the passing game, but if you want to be a starter in the NFL, it’s helpful to make others around you better in college. Morgan hasn’t accomplished that, even with an elite running back.
Mohamad Ibrahim has been running wild for the Golden Gophers. He’s been the offense’s only hope. Ibrahim has run for 715 yards and 10 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry. Their offense has been centered around Ibrahim. Neutralize Ibrahim and the Minnesota offense has nowhere to go. Purdue has held up well against the run, as they’ve conceded 150.7 rushing yards per game. I think where Purdue can put a dent in the Golden Gophers is going to be with their offense, though.
The Minnesota defense has been getting gashed, especially on the ground where they haven’t been able to stand up to any offensive line yet. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell has been in fine form for the Boilermakers this season. He’s going to do enough to prevent Minnesota’s defense from playing too close to the line. O’Connell has passed for 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 64.7% completions in 2020. Running back Alexander Horvath is a really physical runner that should prove to be too much of a load to slow down on Friday night. I will side with the more well-rounded team on the road in this one.