WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Dan Dierking ran for a career-high 126 yards, quarterback Rob Henry accounted for four touchdowns, and Purdue beat Minnesota 28-17 on Saturday. The Boilermakers (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten) matched their best conference start since 2004.
Purdue entered this season with high expectations after winning four of its final six games last season. Even after starting quarterback Robert Marve and top receiver Keith Smith were lost for the season with knee injuries, the team's goals didn't change.
It was Minnesota's sixth straight loss, adding to the pressure on coach Tim Brewster. Reports circulated before the game that he could be fired if the Golden Gophers (1-6, 0-3) lost on Saturday. A Minnesota spokesman said the school had no comment and said athletic director Joel Maturi would not be available to the media. Brewster said no one has spoken with him about his future.
Da'Jon McKnight, who caught six passes for 123 yards, said the rumors weren't a distraction.
"I'm not worried about that," he said. "Coach Brew is a good coach. I know he's going to coach us hard. If he's gone or not, I still love him."
While Minnesota has been mistake prone, Purdue has been scrapping and finding ways to win.
Henry passed for 163 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 57 yards and three scores in his second start. The redshirt freshman said he is becoming more comfortable.
"Coming in and preparing every week to play backup to Robert, I was always ready to play," he said. "I'm a lot more confident than I was in the Toledo game."
Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber was shaky. The senior completed just 20 of 45 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Weber threw a 31-yard TD pass to McKnight, and MarQueis Gray caught the 2-point conversion pass from Weber to cut Purdue's lead to 28-17 with 3 minutes to play.
Now, Minnesota will need to win out to become bowl eligible.
"This is a very disappointing loss," Brewster said. "The biggest thing I take from today is we are our own worst enemy."