Purdue overcomes four first half turnovers, weather to defeat Minnesota, 31-17 on a day it honored Joe Tiller.
Elijah Sindelar threw for 248 yards and a touchdown to lead the Boilermakers to a 31-17 victory. Purdue also received solid games on the ground by D.J. Knox and Markell Jones. The duo ran for 56 and 52 yards, respectively, and a touchdown each.
After forcing a quick three-and-out, Purdue scored less than two minutes into the game to take a 6-0 lead. David Blough connected with Cole Herdman for a 20-yard touchdown, but the Boilers missed the extra point.
The rest of the first half was full of mistakes for the Boilermakers. Blough threw two interceptions and both Terry Wright and Elijah Sindelar lost fumbles to account for four Purdue turnovers.
Both of Blough’s picks led to touchdowns for the Gophers as Minnesota took a 14-6 lead into the half.
Purdue answered with a touchdown to start the second half which cut the Gopher lead to 14-13. After a great kickoff return by Knox, Sindelar led the Boilers down the field. The scoring play came on a 22-yard catch and run by Knox.
Purdue had their first opportunity to take the lead near the end of the third quarter. A poor Minnesota punt allowed the Boilers to take over at the Gopher 40-yard line. However, Purdue was unable to capitalize and in the end missed a 52-yard field goal.
After another stand by the Boilermaker defense, Purdue marched down inside the Minnesota red zone. The drive stalled, but J.D. Dellinger connected on a 19-yard field goal to give the Boilers a 16-14 lead.
Then the rains came. The game was paused immediately after the Dellinger field goal with 9:58 left in the game. The game was delayed for 90 minutes as torrential rain passed through Ross-Ade Stadium.
After the game resumed, Minnesota marched down the field and kicked a 39-yard field goal to regain the lead, 17-16. On this day, Purdue was not to be outdone. The Boilermakers marched down the field once again. Markell Jones scored on a 12-yard scamper to give Purdue a 22-17 lead. The Boilers went for two and Sindelar hit Gregory Phillips to extend the lead to 24-17.
However, the game was not yet over. The Gophers once again marched down the field. They faced a 4th down deep inside Boilermaker territory. Minnesota QB Conor Rhoda rolled out looking for a receiver. Instead he hit Purdue linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley who raced 76 yards for a touchdown. The pick six was the final score as Purdue won, 31-17.
Purdue honored beloved former head coach Joe Tiller all throughout the game. Tiller, who led the Boilers from 1997-2008, passed away on September 30. The original plan had been to honor the 1997 team, but in leau of Tiller’s recent passing, the day turned into a celebration of Tiller himself.
Many former players and coaches returned to West Lafayette including Drew Brees, Rosevelt Colvin, and Brian Alford. Joe Tiller even led the Ross-Ade crowd in “Shout” via video on the Jumbotron. Tiller guided the Boilermakers to a 87-62 record in his tenure, which included a Rose Bowl appearance in 2001.
Purdue improves to 3-2. Minnesota falls to 3-2. Purdue heads to Wisconsin next week to take on the #9 Badgers. Minnesota will host Michigan State.