Monday, December 22, 2008

Boilers crush Gophers, win seventh straight

The Minnesota Golden Gophers entered their game against third-ranked Purdue hoping for a major upset that would turn around their season.

After an impressive 13-play opening drive that put them ahead 7-0, Minnesota was feeling pretty good. Then, Purdue proceeded to run off 52 straight points. The Golden Gophers didn't even make it past the 50-yard line for the rest of the game.

"Wow. After that opening drive, I was starting to worry about the defense. Those guys really stepped it up after that. They didn't give Minnesota any breathing room at all. I'm really proud of them," Coach Matt Adams said, using his right hand to sweep the bill of his trademark black hat.

This game was an exercise in domination and humiliation. Purdue outgained Minnesota 432-148 in total offensive yards. 76 of Minnesota's yards came on the game-opening drive.

Justin Siller provided the spark yet again in place of the injured Joey Elliott. Siller passed for a career-high 412 yards. He finished with five touchdown passes and added another score on a quarterback sneak.

"We went away from the spread a little bit this week," Siller explained. "We used a lot more two tight end formations. Some of my guys got wide open."

No one was more open than tight end Arsenio Curry. A coverted wide receiver, Curry finially lived up to his promise, catching eight passes for 160 yards. His 54-yard TD catch was a game breaker. Running a wheel route out of play action, no one picked up Curry. All alone, Siller lofted the ball in the air, Curry brought it in, and took it the rest of the way. There wasn't a Minnesota defender within 20 yards.

"You look at a play like that and you see Minnesota's record and you can see why they're struggling," Adams said. "To leave a guy like that so open...it'll break your back."

Siller spread the ball around, finding nine different receivers in a variety of formations.

"Coach really wanted to open it up this week," Siller said. "We worked on a lot of different things, a lot of different ways to attack that defense. It paid off."

Curry's big pass catch was a highlight of the game on offense. Defensively, a single hit defined the game. Freshman safety Gavin Roberts blew up the Golden Gophers' Harold Howell, who fumbled the ball. Freshman linebacker Ryan Tyson picked it up.

"That was one of the most ferocious hits I've ever seen," defensive tackle Mike Neal said. "I mean, G-Rob just laid down the law on that one. That'll be a picture for Gavin to show to his kids, for sure."

"I was just trying to keep the guy from getting any more yardage," Roberts explained. "He already had the first down. I just launched at him, Bob Sanders-style. Before I knew it, the ball was out."

In addition to the forced fumble, Roberts had five tackles and an interception. Tyson finished with eight tackles, three tackles for loss, and the fumble recovery.

The Boilermakers take on Wisconsin next week.

Notes

Freshman wide receiver Anthony Kellner left the game briefly with a strained abdomen that affected his usually prodigious receiving totals...five different Boilermakers caught touchdown passes, including Kyle Adams, Aaron Valentine, Arsenio Curry, Waynelle Gravesande, and Anthony Kellner...three of Siller's touchdown passes came in the third quarter, when the Boilermakers scored 21 points...Purdue was 7-7 in the redzone with six touchdowns and a field goal.

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