Purdue runs away against Gophers

October, 8, 2011
10/08/11
3:10
PM ET
It's all over -- mercifully -- in West Lafayette, and for the second consecutive season, Purdue begins Big Ten play at 1-0.

Let's take a quick look at the first conference game of the day.

Purdue 45, Minnesota 17: Not surprisingly, the second half turned into a run fest for Purdue, which gave all of its reserve running backs carries and had some success. Akeem Hunt, Raheem Mostert and Reggie Pegram all got involved, and Mostert had a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Although it's tough to evaluate Purdue's offense against a flimsy Minnesota defense, the Boilers have the backs and the offensive line to run the ball consistently in Big Ten play. Purdue finished with 216 rush yards on 47 attempts.

Caleb TerBush hasn't been spectacular for Purdue, but he has been steady enough at quarterback to remain the starter. Coach Danny Hope wants to establish continuity at an injury-ravaged position, and TerBush's ability to stay healthy and hit on short passes makes him the best option going forward. Robert Marve gives Purdue another option, but TerBush should be the guy.

Although Purdue didn't have a turnover, the Boilers still are committing too many penalties (7) and major breakdowns (punt return allowed for TD). Eliminating these errors is critical if Hope's team wants to win more Big Ten games. It's also important for Purdue to start stretching the field more in the pass game.

Minnesota can't take away many positives from this one, but at least it reached the end zone for the first time in seven quarters when freshman Marcus Jones returned a punt 92 yards. The Gophers added a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, their first offensive touchdown since the fourth quarter of a Week 4 loss to FCS North Dakota State.

MarQueis Gray played the final three and a half quarters at quarterback for the Gophers, and while he's still a bit limited by his toe injury, he's healthy enough to play almost a full game. You have to assume Gray is Minnesota's top option going forward.

But quarterback is only one of many items on coach Jerry Kill's to-do list. He has a young team that lacks confidence in a lot of areas. Today marked a chance to boost morale, but Minnesota never gave itself much of a chance. Kill wants to build the program on concrete, not sand, but this team is clearly standing on shaky ground right now.

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