WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- —
It was an unbeatable combination.
Mockobee and Tracy became the first Boilermakers rushers to each top 100 yards in a game since 2018, Card matched his career high with three TD passes and Purdue rolled past Minnesota 49-30 to snap a four-game losing streak.
“Me and Tyrone, we were both running really well,” Mockobee said. “I think it all came down to execution. The offensive line, they were working their butts off and they were giving us lanes.”
The Boilermakers (3-7, 2-5 Big Ten) made everything else look easy.
Mockobee rushed 17 times for a season-best 153 yards and one TD. Tracy had 15 carries for 122 yards and two scores and had one catch for 52 yards. And the 353 yards rushing was Purdue's highest single-game total since 2012.
For first-year coach Ryan Walters — and his players —- this was the kind of offensive attack they expected to see all season.
“I think we had a great game plan and we took the shots accordingly,” Card said after going 17 of 25 with 251 yards and running eight times for 44 yards. “At the end of the day, we executed. That's what it's supposed to look like.”
Not to Minnesota (5-5, 3-4), which lost its second straight and possibly any hope of winning the Big Ten West. After beating Iowa (No. 22 CFP) on Oct. 21, they were tied for first. Now, they trail the Hawkeyes by two with two games remaining and still needing another win to become bowl eligible.
And in a season filled with frustrations, this game may go down as the worst of all.
“There’s no excuses, that was a bad night, not a bad life,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “They’ve always been explosive, they took advantage of every opportunity tonight. They played very well on offense, we did’t play very well on defense..”
For the first time since 2004, against Ball State, Purdue opened a game with TDs on its first four possessions while the Boilermakers defense repeatedly forced the Gophers to kick field goals.
The result was predictable.
After Minnesota took a 10-7 lead on its second possession, Card answered with a 24-yard TD pass to TJ Sheffield, who made a spectacular catch despite being held on the play. Tracy added a 6-yard TD run, following another Gophers field goal, and Card's 1-yard run late in the first half made it 28-13,
All Minnesota could muster after that was Chris Autman-Bell's incredible 27-yard TD catch from Athan Kaliakmanis just before halftime, another field goal and late two scores — when the game was all but over.
Minnesota: What once looked so promising for the Gophers now looks bleak. They must beat either No. 3 Ohio State (No. 1 CFP) or rival Wisconsin to make the postseason.
Purdue: Yes, the Boilermakers ended their losing streak, earned their second home win this season and beat the Gophers for the second straight year. It just came too late to earn a bowl bid.
Purdue: With two starting offensive linemen already out and another, LT Daniel Johnson, not playing, Walters moved RT Ben Farrell to the other side and put Josh Kaltenberger at right tackle. Card may have hurt his throwing shoulder but didn't come out. RB Dylan Downing was carted off the field late in the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
Minnesota: Autman-Bell had two receptions for 66 yards and became the ninth player in school history with 2,000 yards receiving in his career. ... Fleck must wait another week to win game No. 50 at Minnesota.
Purdue: The Boilermakers avoided their first five-game losing streak since 2016. ... Mockobee's first career 100-yard game came against Minnesota last season (112 yards). ... LB Nic Scourton recorded his eighth sack of the season.
Minnesota: Visits No. 3 Ohio State (No. 1 CFP).
Purdue: Makes its final road trip this season next Saturday at Northwestern.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll