Football Pregame: Minnesota vs. Purdue

by Austin Cumblad

Apparently Minnesota has decided to skip fall this year and jump straight to winter.  There are still traces of snow dotting campus this morning and the scoreboard at TCF Bank Stadium informs us that it is 31 degrees.  I feel like I should be surprised by snow on October 10th…am I the only one disturbed by the fact that I’m not?  But hey, a little snow isn’t about to spoil the Gophers’ first outdoor homecoming in 28 years.  The marching band is on the field, fans are backed up at the entrance and Purdue awaits.  Here’s what to look for today:

How does the offensive line adjust to a new center?  Starting center Jeff Tow-Arnett had surgery Tuesday for a right leg injury and will miss the rest of the season.  Sophomore Trey Davis replaces him and will lead a group that has had its share of struggles opening holes for the running backs and protecting quarterback Adam Weber this season.

Speaking of the running backs, once again, will Minnesota establish a ground attack?  With running back Ralph Bolden, Purdue has moved successfully from a pure spread offense to a balanced multi-set attack.  The Gophers have transitioned from the spread to a more pro-style attack this year too but have yet to establish the same balance.  The more weeks they go without establishing a running game, the more likely it is that this will happen…

Can Purdue stop Eric Decker?  The question arises every week.  When will a team be able to neutralize the threat that is Eric Decker?  Check back throughout the game to see if the Boilermakers finally answer.