Due to a faulty DVR, there will be no broadcast recap from the Ohio State game. However, the screenshot of the game would have absolutely been this fumble on Carlos Hyde's game-winning score that nobody mentioned (or saw), yet nearly cost Ohio State the game in overtime if the ball hadn't bounced right back up into his chest.
Read more about the fumble and all the other things that went wrong in last week's game on our recap post.
Meanwhile, let's stop dwelling on the past and start looking towards the future, where a 5-3 Big Ten finish is still not completely out of the question.
Why Purdue wins
Purdue may be 0-2 on the road this year, but they've put up their best two performances away from Ross-Ade stadium. This team does not seem to be affected by difficult crowds, so they should have no problem with a cold, dreary TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota's best win is against a middle-of-the-pack Syracuse team and they haven't scored more than 13 points in a Big Ten game this year. Last week, Minnesota took the redshirt off Freshman quarterback Philip Nelson, who looks like he'll be a pain to deal with for the next three years. He can best be compared to Rob Henry - a guy who should have as many rushing attempts as passing attempts. However, with only one start under his belt, and with Purdue having faced two running quarterbacks over the last three weeks, expect Nelson to struggle. I sound like a broken record, but if Purdue can keep from throwing a pick-six and avoid a blocked kick, the Boilers should pick up their first Big Ten win of the season.
Why Minnesota wins
Minnesota has one of the top pass defenses in the country, which could really keep Purdue's offense form getting into a rhythm. When Purdue played Michigan, the key was to establish the running game against a poor rush defense. That didn't happen, and Purdue got blown out. The same can be said here. If Purdue's running backs can't get going against a team that's given up nearly 550 rushing yards over the last few weeks, expect a lot of Cody Webster punts. There was an increased effort to protect against punt blocks against Ohio State which will most likely continue against the Gophers. That spells disaster for Purdue, as Minnesota's kick returners, Troy Stoudermire and A.J. Barker are very dangerous. Give Barker room to return a punt, and he may be Minnesota's best offensive weapon. It isn't too difficult to imagine a special teams score, a defensive score, and a 60-yard TD run by Nelson against a Purdue team that's prone to mistakes and giving up big plays. If that happens, Minnesota gets that much closer to bowl eligibility.
Player we're most concerned about since their stock photo may break our TV
This is a tough one this week, as over 60 Minnesota players are getting their heads shaved in order to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. The team is rallying behind WR Connor Cosgrove, who's been battling Leukemia. This is a great cause and we definitely agree with using your hair to support charity (Kirk has been growing ugly mustaches for years to raise funds for DonorsChoose.org).
However, just because the Gophers are doing a good thing doesn't mean a stock photo isn't cringe-worthy. We're especially worried about Minnesota's starting punter, Christian Eldred. Christian is from the land down under, played Aussie Rules Football, and most likely doesn't agree with the statement, "Foster's: Australian for Beer" (Foster's is not very successful in Australia).
He also strikes more than a passing resemblance to Stefan from Saturday Night Live.
Perhaps he could give you a good suggestion for Sydney's hottest clubs...
Picks of the week
Purdue is favored on the road by 3 points. This week, Kirk and I will be using this guide to cable network subscriber fees from 2009 (I couldn't find anything more recent) to figure out what we SHOULD be paying for cable based on what channels our household has watched over the last 3 months. I'm tacking on 3% inflation for 3 years so that we have an absolutely rock-solid bet here.
Kirk's family watches only $8.48 worth of tv/month. We'll round this to $8.50 to make it easier to track. I'm sure the cable companies will see this and proactively offer him an extremely large discount on his cable bill.
Kirk went from completely depressed to believing in this team overnight. Expect this week's power rankings to come out later today, but based on last week's rankings, he has the number 11 team beating the number 8 team on the road. That makes me worry about our power rankings... Purdue 24 - Minnesota 17
I watch $13.53 (rounded to $13.50) of tv/month, which is still absurd compared to what's being paid. I believe the difference from Kirk's bet can be partially attributed to the Cleveland Cavs being on an extremely expensive Fox Sports Net.
Minnesota's defense reminds me a lot of Michigan's, so I worry about the Boilers scoring enough points. However, Purdue gets revenge from last week, blocks a Minnesota extra point, and holds on to the 1-point victory. I'm picking Minnesota with the spread... Purdue 21 - Minnesota 20
Three Final Things
1. Will Purdue complete a bomb on the first play of the third consecutive game? Nobody can blame the way the offense has started the game the last two weeks. My guess is that Minnesota will be ready for it, so expect a quick little bubble screen.
2. For those still holding onto a glimmer of hope for the Big Ten Championship game (yes, amazingly it's not completely out of the question), keep an eye on ABC during the Purdue game. Wisconsin faces Michigan State in the first of three "must-lose" games in order for Purdue to have a chance at Indy. For those that think I'm crazy, at least it's a good excuse to switch the channel whenever J Leman decides he has something insightful to say.
3. Boiler Up!