Defensive lineman Brandon Purdum was being redshirted, but could have gotten a sideline pass to watch his first college game when Ohio University played at Penn State in 2012. Purdum opted to sit in the student cheering section. He's proud to admit that he got a little crazy.
Ohio at Minnesota
3:30 P.M. SATURDAY, MINNEAPOLIS
Favorite: Minnesota by 10 1/2
Records: Ohio 3-0; Minnesota 2-1
Last meeting: Minnesota won 42-20 in 2003 in Minneapolis; Minnesota leads the series 8-1-1.
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Defensive lineman Brandon Purdum was being redshirted, but could have gotten a sideline pass to watch his first college game when Ohio University played at Penn State in 2012.
Purdum opted to sit in the student cheering section. He's proud to admit that he got a little crazy.
The Bobcats upset the Nittany Lions 23-16 in a game that had national interest. It was the first for Penn State in the wake of NCAA penalties brought on by the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
"I wanted to be with our fans, and that was an experience,'' said Purdum, a senior from Jonathan Alder. "I was ecstatic. I was in awe of that stadium. Then as the game progressed I was so loud. I was talking trash. They were putting us down because we were in the MAC, but we got them.''
Victories over teams from so-called "Power Five'' conferences are few for Ohio. Before Penn State, its previous "big win'' came in overtime against Pittsburgh in 2005.
The Bobcats' only victory against Minnesota came under coach Jim Grobe in 2000.
Purdum said practices have been different leading to this game against the Gophers.
"You are locked in because this can be a statement game for our team and our school,'' he said. "It's not as if we're going in there trying to survive. We think we can beat them. Practices are more physical.''
Minnesota will have an offensive line composed of extra-large people, but Purdum said he experiences that every week in the MAC. He pointed out that offensive tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan was the No. 1 overall pick by Kansas City in the 2013 draft.
"Minnesota has some big guys - the Big Ten has a lot of them – but players are players,'' he said. "I won't look at them as if they are better.''
Gophers coach Jerry Kill, who formerly coached at Northern Illinois in the MAC, was perturbed over his team's spotty play in a 10-7 victory over Kent State last Saturday.
Ohio coach Frank Solich expects Minnesota to play better.
"Jerry and his staff will get that straightened out,'' Solich said.
The coaches are so close that Solich called Kill during the off-season to question him about his practice and training regimen despite having a game in a matter of months.
"That was a very interesting phone call, and Jerry alluded to that,'' Solich said, laughing. "But in this business everyone shares. It wasn't X's and O's and not trying to get information (for the game). It was about organization. Jerry was very willing to share that. That shows you what he is all about.''
* * *Best of the rest
Arkansas State (1-2) at Toledo (2-0), 7 p.m. With victories over Arkansas and Iowa State, Toledo is the first MAC team to defeat "Power Five'' conference teams in back-to-back weeks since Ball State in 2008. The Rockets defeated the RedWolves 63-44 in the GoDaddy Bowl in January and are 3-0 against them in the series.
Wittenberg (2-0) at Wabash (2-0), 1 p.m. Wittenberg has won four of the last six meetings against the Little Giants in a game that usually determines the outright North Coast Athletic Conference champion. The Tigers, who have won 23 straight conference games, are averaging 40 points a game behind quarterback Zack Jenkins.
John Carroll (2-0) at Baldwin-Wallace (1-1), 2 p.m. John Carroll should be a heavy favorite to win a third straight game in this series. It did need two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 7-yard touchdown pass by Jake Schaefer with 3:39 left, to get past Heidelberg 23-16 last Saturday.