Gophers Steal One In Nebraska
LINCOLN, NE -- The #25 Minnesota Golden Gophers have a chance to win a spot in the Big Ten Championship game after completing a 28-24 comeback victory on the road against the #23 Nebraska Cornhuskers today.
Minnesota fell behind 21-7 in the first half before outscoring Nebraska 21-3 the rest of the way.
Quarterback Mitch Leidner completed only eight passes on the day, but did not turn the football over.
The sophomore quarterback did most of the damage with his legs - rushing for a team-high 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior running back, David Cobb, rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown that made the score 21-14 early in the second half.
Backup running back Rodrick Williams relieved Cobb, who left the game with an apparent leg injury, as the Gophers trailed 24-14 and faced 4th-and-one at the Nebraska 19 yard line.
Instead of attempting a field goal (Minnesota had an attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown in the first half), the Gophers went for the first down.
The hand off went to Williams, who bounced it outside and outran the Huskers defense for a momentum-swinging 19-yard touchdown that brought the Gophers to within three points.
The Minnesota defense continued to keep Ameer Abdullah and the rest of the Nebraska offense at bay.
Midway through the final quarter, Leidner led the offense down the field before giving the Gophers a 28-24 lead on a two-yard touchdown plunge with three and a half minutes remaining.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. led the Huskers deep into Gophers territory - aided by a bogus roughing the passer call on Minnesota defensive tackle Cameron Botticelli.
With just over a minute left, Armstrong evaded the pass rush and threw a jump ball that Husker wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El came down with inside the ten yard line.
Pierson-El appeared to stumble into the endzone - but he did not have the ball.
Gophers defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun had ripped the ball away at the two yard line, giving Minnesota the ball and sealing the win.
The Gophers improve to 8-3 on the season and will travel to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison to take on Melvin Gordon the #16-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
If the Gophers win next week, they will win the Big Ten West Division and play the winner of the East - likely the Ohio State Buckeyes - in the Big Ten Championship game.