Gophers Outlast Purdue In Big Ten Shootout
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Gophers and Boilermakers combined for over 900 yards of offense, but a late rally led Minnesota to a 39-38 win on their homecoming.
A freshman kicker connected on a 52-yard field goal to give the Gophers a one-point lead with under five minutes left which proved to be the difference in a wild Big Ten showdown.
The game started about as well as it could have for the Gophers, with safety Cedric Thompson intercepting a pass on Purdue's first play from scrimmage and running it back to the two yard line.
Three seconds later, Minnesota star running back David Cobb plunged in for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.
That would prove to be Cobb's only score of the game, but the senior tailback had another big day - rushing 35 times for 194 yards.
The teams would trade scores in the first half, including touchdowns from Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams and running back Donnell Kirkwood.
Trailing 20-14, Purdue scored 17 unanswered points to take a 31-20 lead going into the half.
Minnesota rallied in the second half, with quarterback Mitch Leidner running in a touchdown and later hitting wide receiver K.J. Maye on a 37-yard touchdown pass which cut the Purdue lead to 38-36.
On the play, Maye caught a Leidner pass in-stride at the 10 yard line and then showed his athleticism by leaping from the five yard line into the endzone, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Gophers called on kicker Ryan Santoso, who had missed an extra point earlier in the game, to attempt a 52-yard field goal.
Santoso got all of it - nailing the kick and giving the Gophers a 39-38 lead.
Purdue had a chance to drive down the field for the win but on fourth down, Cedric Thompson made a diving interception - his second of the game - effectively sealing the win.
With the win, the Gophers improve to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten - the best start they've had in recent memory.
The Gophers will travel to Champagne next Saturday to take on the 3-4 Illinois Fighting Illini.