NCAA Game Summary - Nebraska at Minnesota|
(Saturday, October 26th)
Final Score: Minnesota 34, (25) Nebraska 23
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Philip Nelson went 7-for-15 for 152
yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 55 yards and two touchdowns
to power the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 34-23 victory over the
25th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.
David Cobb ran 31 times for 138 yards for Minnesota and Mitch Leidner
added a rushing touchdown. Derrick Engel had two receptions and a touchdown
for the Gophers (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten).
Ameer Abdullah carried the load for the Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1) with 19
carries for 165 yards, while Taylor Martinez completed 16-of-30 passes
for 139 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Sam Cotton and
Imani Cross notched the only touchdowns for Nebraska.
Nebraska started the game with the ball and wasted no time getting into the
end zone. After an Abdullah 16-yard run on 3rd-and-14, Martinez
found Kenny Bell for a 42-yard completion, which took the Nebraska to the
Golden Gophers 2-yard line. On the following play Cross pushed across
the goal line for the touchdown.
The Gophers went three-and-out on their opening possession. Nebraska's Jordan
Westerkamp returned the punt 19 yards to bring the Cornhuskers to the Gophers
The Huskers managed to take the ball to Minnesota's 17-yard line until
Theiren Cockran sacked Martinez causing a fumble, which resulted in an 11-
yard loss, but was recovered by the Huskers offensive lineman Mike Moudy.
Pat Smith kicked a 45-yard field goal on the following play.
Minnesota then drove 13 plays to answer the Huskers' field goal. On the drive
the Gophers threw only one pass and rushed the rest of the way to the end
zone. The score was eventually tallied by Leidner on a 1-yard run.
On the next three drives both defenses stood tall and forced punts, and
Abdullah was taken to the sideline with an apparent knee injury after he was
landed on awkwardly by several linemen.
The Gophers then came out and recorded three first downs in succession, until
sputtering on their next three plays. Nelson overthrew Engel in the end zone
on third down. Defensive coordinator and acting head coach Tracy Claeys made a
gutsy call on 4th-and-10 and went for it, Nelson connected with Engel just
between two Nebraska defenders at the 4-yard line to lead him into the end
zone for a 33-yard score, making the score 14-10 in favor of Minnesota.
"Everyone wants to ask me questions as the head coach; but I'm not, Jerry Kill
is the head coach," said Claeys. "The coaches and players have a tremendous
amount of respect for coach Kill. We know he would love to be with us. Right
now he can't be with us but we didn't want to disappoint him. As coaches and
players we're working our hardest to make him proud."
Abdullah returned to the field after sitting out a drive and on his first
touch fumbled, which was recovered by Gopher Cedric Thompson. Minnesota
capitalized on the turnover on Chris Hawthorne's 26-yard field goal.
Nebraska didn't lose faith in Abdullah and targeted him six of 10 plays on the
next drive, which ended with a 42-yard field goal by Smith with three seconds
left in the half.
Minnesota started the second half going three-and-out and Nebraska followed
with the same outcome. Although on the punt by Nebraska they were penalized 15
yards for a personal foul, which gave the Gophers the ball at the Nebraska 38-
On the first play of the drive Nelson found tight end Drew Goodger for a 21-
yard completion, which was followed by a 14-yard Nelson run. After two 1-yard
runs by Cobb, Nelson pushed the ball over the goal line for the touchdown
bringing the score to 24-13 in favor of the Gophers.
"Everyone was excited about the game plan. You know it's a great game plan
when everyone is excited about it," Nelson said. "We knew going into this week
that Nebraska is the type of a defense that you can't let get comfortable so
that is where all the trade, shifts and motions came into play and we were
able to keep them on their heels."
Nebraska went three-and-out for its second drive in a row but their punt
gave the Gophers the ball on their 13-yard line. Minnesota then drove all the
way to the Huskers 27 before the defense stopped them and held the Gophers to
a 45-yard Hawthorne field goal.
The Cornhuskers then put together a successful drive, highlighted by a 35-yard
Martinez run down to Minnesota's 26-yard line. Abdullah ran three out of the
next four plays and brought Nebraska to the Gophers 3 before Martinez found a
wide open Cotton in the left side of the end zone.
On their next drive the Gophers started off with a 31-yard completion to
Goodger, and two rushes by Cobb led to a first down, but the drive sputtered
and led to a Minnesota punt.
On the Huskers' first possession of the fourth quarter they profited from two
22-yard Abdullah runs and a Quincy Enunwa catch for 32 yards. The drive ended
with a 37-yard Smith field goal, which brought the score to 27-23 Minnesota.
"I want to congratulate Minnesota. I give credit where credit's due," said
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. "Like I just told our football team, they earned it,
they beat us, they were the more physical team and I'm disappointed on how
this football team took the field today and how we executed and how we
With 5:50 left in the game and a chance to drive downfield and take the lead
Nebraska went three-and-out, which led to an eventual Gopher touchdown on a 1-
yard run by Nelson to seal the win.
Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill was watching the game from the booth while
still taking a leave of absence in effort to better control his epilepsy ...
Nebraska is now 10-16 when trailing at the half under Pelini ... Goodger had
three catches for 68 yards.
10/26 20:15:29 ET