MINNEAPOLIS -- On a picture-perfect day for football, the Minnesota Golden Gophers beat the Northwestern Wildcats 24-17 to start the Big Ten portion of the schedule 2-0 for the first time in over a decade.

Despite only averaging 3.1 yards per carry rushing, the Gophers defense and timely big plays resulted in an important victory.

Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner plunged into the endzone twice for touchdowns and completed several key throws to keep drives going - including a 52-yard pass to tight end Msxx Williams.

The big gains through the air were vital, as star running back David Cobb was effectively bottled up by Northwestern's aggressive defense.

Cobb still finished the day with 97 yards on the ground on 30 attempts.

The Wildcats battled back from a 17-10 deficit to tie the game midway through the final quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Gophers defensive back Jalen Myrick provided the difference in the game, as he returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for an eventual game-deciding score.

With the win, the Gophers improve to 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2004.

The Gophers will host the Purdue Boilermakers next Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium with an 11:00 a.m. kickoff.