Gophers punish slumping Boilermakers
Freshman Phillip Nelson passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns as the host Golden Gophers snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over the slumping Boilermakers.
Minnesota (5-3, 1-3), which had not scored more than 13 points in any of its previous three Big Ten games, led 34-7 at halftime and scored 44 consecutive points. The 44 points were the most the Golden Gophers scored in regulation in a Big Ten game since 2006.
Purdue (3-5, 0-4), which has lost four consecutive games, took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard pass from Caleb TerBush to running back Brandon Cottom with 11:28 remaining in the first quarter. But Minnesota answered quickly with a 34-yard touchdown from Nelson to junior wide receiver Derrick Engel, setting off the 44-0 scoring blitz by the Gophers that also included two more touchdown passes from Nelson, both to junior wide receiver A.J. Barker covering 38 and 63 yards.
Defensive back Michael Carter added a 43-yard interception return off TerBush's pass for another touchdown, Rodrick Williams Jr. had a 4-yard touchdown run and Jordan Wettstein added field goals of 40, 35 and 44 yards to complete Minnesota's scoring.
Backup quarterback Robert Marve threw a pair of second half touchdowns for Purdue.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Minnesota, which committed nine turnovers in its first three Big Ten games while forcing none, finished with zero turnovers while forcing one. ... Senior MarQueis Gray, who began the year as Minnesota's starting quarterback before being sidelined with an ankle injury, started the game at wide receiver and caught four passes for 53 yards. ... Purdue wide receiver Antavian Edison caught a pass in his 29th straight game.