Football Game Notes - At Minnesota

Oct. 5, 2009


Football Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Press Conferences:  Coach Hope  |  J. Elliott  |  K. Smith  |  B. King

Television This Weekend
Play-By-Play - Pam Ward
Analyst - Ray Bentley

Radio This Weekend
Purdue Sports Network
Play-By-Play - Joe McConnell
Analyst - Pete Quinn
Sideline - Rob Blackman
Producer - Tim Newton
Engineer - Gary Kline
XM Satellite Radio
Channel 196
Sirius Satellite Radio
Channel 122

Purdue vs. Minnesota Series Information
Series record: Minnesota leads 32-30-3 (First meeting: 1894 / Last meeting: 2008)
Purdue points: 1,248
Minnesota points: 1,304
Series record in West Lafayette: Purdue leads 18-5
at Ross-Ade Stadium: Purdue leads 16-5
Series record in Minneapolis: Minnesota leads 27-12-3
at TCF Bank Stadium: First Meeting
Games decided by 3 points or less: Minnesota leads 7-5
Games decided by 7 points or less: Minnesota leads 6-4
Longest Purdue win streak: 7 (1996-2002)
Longest Minnesota win streak: 3 (1935-38, 1946-48, 1973-79, 1985-89, 1989-91)
Current streak: Minnesota won the last meeting
Largest Purdue victory: 35-0 in 1965 and 56-21 in 1998
Largest Minnesota victory: 33-0 in 1936
Last Purdue home victory: 2006
Last Purdue road victory: 2007
Last Minnesota home victory: 2005
Last Minnesota road win: 2008

The Boilermakers head out on the road for the first time in the Big Ten season and just the second time overall this year ... One of the most closely played series in Purdue history, Minnesota leads the all-time series 32-30-3 ... The Boilers' first look at the Gophers' new digs at TCF Bank Stadium ... Can the Boilers overcome their self-inflicted errors to stop a four-game losing streak ... Wide receiver Keith Smith looks to add a third straight 100-yards receiving game and add to his 17 consecutive games with a reception streak,

With an 11-4 record on the date, Oct. 10 has been pretty good to Boilermakers in school history ... Ironically it is one of the four losses that people will probably remember most. In 1998 sophomore Drew Brees set an NCAA record for attempts and tied the completions mark in a 31-24 loss to Wisconsin in Madison. The Boilermaker quarterback dropped back to pass an unbelievable 83 times and completed 55 throws (66 percent). He finished the game with 494 yards passing and two touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions including a pair in Wisconsin's end zone. Behind Brees' passing effort the Boilermakers outgained the Badgers 570-229.

The Boilermakers have dropped four straight games by a total of 18 points. In the previous 25 years (1984-2008) Purdue has lost single games by 18 or more points 59 times ... While the current streak is painful enough to endure, the 2004 Purdue team dropped four straight contests by an agonizing 10 combined points. The `04 club still managed to put together a 7-4 overall record in the regular season and an appearance in the Sun Bowl where it fell to Arizona State 27-23. The loss to the Sun Devils put the grand total of the point differential of the five defeats for the year at 14. Ouch.

Purdue's turnover struggles (minus 8 for the year) has led to less time with the ball. The Boilers have had 73 less total offensive touches than its five opponents this season and trail in average time of possession 33:50 to 26:10, yet they are still managing to outgain their opponents (411.8 yards per game to 399.4) and outscore them (30.2 points per game to 29.6). Looking at the statistics alone it's hard to believe the Boilermakers have four losses.

The weekend's match up in Minneapolis will feature two of the top passing catching threats in the Big Ten this season in Purdue's Keith Smith and Minnesota's Eric Decker. Smith enters the game second in the league to Decker in receptions per game (7.0 to 8.60) and Smith is third (91.8) and Decker first (127.8) in receiving yards per game ... Smith posted his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game against Northwestern last Saturday (7-101, TD). It was his third game over the century mark this season and the fourth of his career ... Since moving to wide receiver from safety prior to the 2008 season, Smith has caught at least one pass in 17 consecutive games.

Including this season, Purdue head coach Danny Hope is no stranger to playing tough non-league schedules, nor does the importance of conference play elude him. At his previous stop as head coach, Eastern Kentucky, Hope would traditionally schedule an out of conference slate stocked with FBS schools and the top FCS non-league competition to prepare for Ohio Valley Conference play. While taking his lumps out of league, Hope's Colonels turned it around in OVC play in each of his five seasons at the helm.
Eastern Kentucky Non-Conference vs. Ohio Valley Conference Records under Hope Year Overall Non-Conference Ohio Valley Conference 2003 7-5 1-3 6-2 2004 6-5 0-3 6-2 2005 7-4 0-3 7-1 2006 6-5 1-2 5-3 2007 9-3 1-2 8-0

The Boilermakers own the 50th-ranked rushing (153.6) and the 30th-ranked passing (258.2) offenses in the nation this week. However, when you combine the two together one finds that Purdue is ranked 34th in the country and third in the Big Ten in total offense (411.8).

Joey Elliott heads into Saturday's game at Minnesota ranked first in the Big Ten in average passing yardage (255.2) and total offense (270.8) ... The senior signal caller is 22nd nationally in total offense ... Boiler running back Ralph Bolden has dropped to second in the Big Ten in rushing average (108.2), but he remains one of just two league rushers to average over 100 yards per game (also Wisconsin's John Clay (116.4). Bolden is also second in the Big Ten to teammate Aaron Valentin and 32nd nationally in average all-purpose yardage (141.2) ... Wide receiver Keith Smith heads to Minnesota second in the Big Ten and tied for 19th nationally in receptions per game (7.0), and his 91.8 yards per game average is third in league play and 24th among all FBS players ... Wide receiver/kick returner Aaron Valentin leads Big Ten players in both punt return average (13.7) and average all-purpose yardage (158.2). The senior is 22nd nationally in returning punts and 20th in all-purpose yards ... Cornerback David Pender is tied for the Big Ten lead in PBUs (1.40) with Iowa's Seth Tyler.

Heading into the sixth week of the year, Ralph Bolden owns the top game performances in the Big Ten this season in touchdowns (3 at Oregon, tied), rushing yards (234 vs. Toledo) and all-purpose yards (247 vs. Toledo) ... Wide receiver Keith Smith's 11 receptions against Notre Dame are the most by a conference wide receiver this season ... Carson Wiggs' 59-yard field goal remains the longest in the Big Ten and the nation this year ... His seven PATs against Toledo are the most by a kicker in the league ... Aaron Valentin's 62-yard punt return for a score against Northern Illinois is the longest in the Big Ten thus far and his 24.5 punt return average against Notre Dame also tops the list ... Jason Werner's two sacks against Notre Dame are tied for the most by an individual Big Ten player ... As a team, Purdue's 52 points against Toledo are still the high-water mark for the Big Ten this season.

Sophomore Ralph Bolden's 541 yards rushing on 97 carries this season is the third-best start to a year by a Boiler running back in school history. Purdue's all-time leading rusher, Mike Alstott, has the top two five-game efforts to start a season when he put together 620 yards on 108 carries in 1995 and 548 yards on 86 carries in 1994.

The Boilermakers scored on their opening drive for a second consecutive game ... The contest marked the first time since Nov. 22, 2008 vs. Indiana that Purdue has had two players with 100 or more yards receiving (Keith Smith 7-101 and Aaron Valentin 4-101) ... The Boilermakers scored on their first three possessions of the game (34 yards, 73 yards and 76 yards) ... Purdue has turned the ball over 11 times in the last two games against Northwestern ... The 67-yard Joey Elliott to Aaron Valentin touchdown pass in the first quarter was the longest passing play of the season for Purdue. It was also the longest pass in Elliott's career ... Purdue's 14 first quarter points equaled the most in the opening 15 minutes of a game this season (also vs. Toledo) ... Ryan Kerrigan forced his third career fumble and Torri Williams recovered his second career fumble on Northwestern's first play from scrimmage ... Keith Smith, who finished Saturday with seven catches for 101 yards, has had at one reception in 17 consecutive games. It was his third 100-yard game of the season and the fourth of his career ... Valentin, who finished the game with four catches for a career-high 101 yards, posted his first career game with multiple touchdowns (2). It was also the first time a Purdue receiver found the end zone twice since Dorien Bryant did so against Iowa on Oct. 20, 2007 ... Joey Elliott threw for a career-high 313 yards and finished the game 20 of 28 with three touchdowns and an interception ... Joe Holland had a career-high 12 tackles ... Kawann Short had a career-best nine tackles ... Kerrigan, finished with eight tackles, including two for losses, a forced fumble and a pass break up. It was his fifth career PBU and his first since 2008 vs. Michigan.

The Boilermakers have turned their first offensive possession of a game into a touchdown three times in five tries thus far. Ralph Bolden raced for a 79-yard run on Purdue's first touch against Toledo and Joey Elliott has fired TD passes to Aaron Valentin and Keith Smith the last two weeks to open up against Notre Dame (38 yards) and Northwestern (5 yards). The opening drive scores have come at a quick pace - averaging just 5.3 plays and 2:13 time of possession, while covering an average of 65 yards.

Minnesota welcomes Purdue to its new stadium with a 3-2 overall record and a 1-1 mark in the Big Ten ... The Gophers dropped a 31-28 decision to Wisconsin last weekend after opening the league slate witha 35-24 win over Northwestern ... As a team, Minnesota is averaging 25.4 points, 96 rushing yards and 231.4 yards passing per game this season ... Individually, wide receiver Eric Decker has put together a pretty impressive season by hauling in 43 passes for 639 yards and five scores. He leads the Big Ten in receptions (8.6) and receiving yards per game (127.8) ... Quarterback Adam Weber is completing 57 percent of his passes (91 for 159) and has thrown for 1,150 yards. He has thrown six touchdown and six interceptions this year ... Defensively Minnesota is allowing 24.6 points, 174.6 rushing yards and 202.4 passing yards per game this season ... Linebacker Nate Triplett paces the Gopher defense with 56 tackles - the second-best total in the Big Ten thus far. He also has two interceptions and four PBUs ... Defensive end Eric Small has tallied a team-best three sacks ... Head coach Tim Brewster is in his third season in Minneapolis and has posted a. 11-19 overall record with the Gophers.




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