September 23, 2007
Early mistakes overshadow progress
In what is becoming an all too familiar story this season, a poor first half cost Minnesota a chance to beat Purdue in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Poor special teams play and three costly turnovers were too much for Minnesota to overcome despite a strong second half showing. Despite giving up over 500 total yards the defense played better, but the team still came up short in the end losing 45-31 at the Metrodome moving the Gophers to 1-3 on the season.
For the third time in four games Minnesota came out flat in the first half and that once again likely cost them the game. The positive for the Gophers is that it was not the defense that was the problem, but special teams and turnovers that were the doing this time. Purdue scored on a 95 yard kickoff return to open the game and was also able to capitalize on a fumble by Adam Weber that lead to a field goal. Weber also threw an interception the defensive end Cliff Avril returned 42 yards for a touchdown. Tim Brewster knows that slow starts are killing his team and that he and his coaching staff have to find the root of this problem if they are going to turn the season around.
"We have to find a way to play better in the first half. Tonight we turned it over and dropped the ball on the 10-yard line when we were about to score. Those are self-inflicted wounds and when we figure out how to eliminate them." Brewster said in his opening statement to the media. "We have been behind every game and we can't continue to do that in the Big Ten. Our coaching staff needs to figure out a way for us to start better. We are going to continue to put our guys in positions to make plays. Sooner or later those breaks are going to fall our way."
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