Minnesota meets Purdue again chasing bowl eligibility
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 08 Nov, 2023 at 07:46 PM
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
After a heartbreaking loss, Minnesota once again will try to become bowl eligible when it visits Purdue on Saturday afternoon in a Big Ten Conference matchup in West Lafayette, Ind.
Minnesota (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) is coming off a 27-26 defeat at home to Illinois last week. The Golden Gophers led in the final minutes before Illinois' backup quarterback John Paddock entered the game in the final drive and completed all three of his passes, including one for a game-winning touchdown.
Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said his players could learn from the setback.
"We've got to play an entire game," Fleck said. "And the whole thing with this team is, to this day, nine games in, and we still have not played a complete complementary football game yet."
They will get another chance against Purdue (2-7, 1-5), which is mired in a four-game losing streak. The Boilermakers are coming off a 41-13 loss on the road against No. 3 Michigan.
Five of Purdue's seven losses have come by double digits.
Boilermakers coach Ryan Walters acknowledged that his team has been eliminated from bowl contention, but he said there still is plenty of meaning in the remaining games.
"Everybody can count to six, right?" Walters said. "So the path to postseason play is not there. It breaks my heart for the seniors, the guys that have exhausted eligibility and this will be their last season.
"The message to the team (this week) was, ‘This is like a new season within a season.' These last three games, for the guys that it will be the last time they will put on a uniform, to close out the right way. You'll be remembered about the way you finished the season and the way you went out and fought and competed.
"And then for the guys that are coming back, it's the start of a new season. How do you want practice to be run? How do you want the games to be played? How do you want next season to look? It's got to show up in these next three games."
--Field Level Media