MINNEAPOLIS -- Lee Campbell intercepted a pass and blocked a field goal to set up touchdowns for Minnesota in a 35-20 victory over mistake-prone Purdue on Saturday.
Kevin Whaley rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown for the Golden Gophers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who forced three turnovers in their first victory at home since beating Air Force on Sept. 12.
Purdue's Keith Smith caught seven passes for 126 yards and a touchdown, and Joey Elliott threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. The Boilermakers (1-5, 0-2) have lost five in a row.
Purdue led Minnesota 10-0 after the first quarter. But Elliott threw the ball right to Campbell, who returned it to the Purdue 2-yard line. DeLeon Eskridge scored from 1 yard out to give the Gophers their first lead at 14-10 with five minutes to go in the first half.
Then everything came apart in a disastrous third quarter for the Boilermakers. Purdue had a 7-yard punt, a fumble on a kick return and a blocked field goal, and the Gophers turned all three into touchdowns to pull away.
With Purdue trailing 14-13 early in the period, Chris Summers' punt traveled just 7 yards to give Minnesota the ball in Purdue territory. Whaley's 28-yard run set up quarterback Adam Weber's 2-yard run to make it 21-13.
Keith Carlos fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give the Gophers the ball at the Purdue 30. Five plays later, the first touchdown of Whaley's career pushed the lead to 28-13.
The quarter ended when Campbell blocked Carson Wiggs' field-goal attempt. Traye Simmons scooped the ball up and raced 47 yards for the TD, the first time the Gophers had returned a blocked kick for a score since Oct. 21, 1989, against Indiana.
The opportunistic play help the Gophers overcome poor days from Weber and receiver Eric Decker and bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to rival Wisconsin last week.
Weber was just 5 for 9 for 74 yards with two interceptions, and Decker had three catches for 50 yards, his lowest output of the season.
Whaley picked up the slack, making the most out of his eight carries. He was shot in the leg outside a nightclub in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., in the spring before he enrolled at Minnesota last year. Whaley redshirted in 2008.
Aaron Valentin added eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown for Purdue.