Scouting report: Gophers vs. Purdue
2:30 p.m. Saturday, TCF Bank Stadium (ESPN2, 100.3-FM)
A look at the Boilermakers
After losing their first three games by a combined eight points, the Boilermakers have caught fire in Jeff Brohm’s second year as coach, winning five of their past six games, including a 49-20 rout of then-No. 2 Ohio State. On Saturday, they beat Iowa 38-36 on Spencer Evans’ 25-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter. With a 4-2 Big Ten record, Purdue is tied for second place in the West Division, one game behind Northwestern, which beat the Boilermakers 31-27 in a season opener. Purdue plays Wisconsin next week and finishes the season at Indiana, so its path to win the West is to finish 3-0 and have Northwestern lose twice.
Who to watch: David Blough, QB
The fifth-year senior had a sluggish start, passing for 74 and 48 yards in losses to Northwestern and Eastern Michigan while splitting time with Elijah Sindelar. But beginning with a 572-yard passing day in a loss to Missouri, Blough has averaged 365.9 yards and has passed for 17 touchdowns. “He’s probably playing the best football at the quarterback position, of film I’ve watched, in the country,’’ Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. “It’s incredible what he’s able to do. He’s got a lot of weapons, a lot of time, he understands their system inside and out.’’
From the coach: Jeff Brohm
After guiding Western Kentucky to a 30-10 record in three seasons, the former Louisville quarterback made an immediate impact in West Lafayette, improving the Boilermakers from 3-9 in 2016 to 7-6 last year. Purdue, which starts as many as 10 upperclassmen on offense and six on defense, is on the verge of bowl eligibility but could upgrade its destination with a strong finish. “This year there are a couple of elite teams that are playing extremely well on the East side [of the Big Ten],’’ Brohm said. “On the West, it’s been a lot of stiff competition, which is good to see. We’re trying to inch our way up the ladder and be a competitive football team.’’