Minnesota took advantage of 144 rushing yards from David Cobb and mostly stifled Nebraska's offense in the second half, as the Gophers beat the Huskers 34-23 before 49,995 fans at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Gophers (6-2, 2-2 B1G) sealed the win with a Phillip Nelson 1 yard touchdown run with less than a minute remaining, handing Nebraska (5-2/2-1) their first Big 10 loss of the season.
Nebraska early on had success on offense, where the Huskers took the opening kickoff 69 yards in 6 plays, ending with a Imani Cross TD run of 2 yards. Nebraska added a Pat Smith 45 yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
However, the Gophers scored the next 17 points of the game to take the lead they would never relinquish. Mitch Leidner's QB sneak ended a 13 play, 75 yard drive. On their next possession, Minnesota's Derek Engle took in a 33 yard TD pass from Phillip Nelson on a fourth down play to give Minnesota the lead. Along with a Chris Hawthorne FG, Minnesota took a 17-10 lead before Nebraska drove down the length of the field at the end of the second half, finishing with another Pat Smith FG to make the score 17-13 Minnesota into halftime.
Minnesota put up the first 10 points of the second half, with Phillip Nelson putting in a QB sneak along with another Hawthorne FG to put Minny up 27-13. Nebraska went up tempo the next series though, putting together a 8 play, 72 yard drive capped off by a Taylor Martinez to Sam Cotton TD pass from 3 yards out, making the score 27-20 Gophers after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Nebraska got another Smith Field Goal to get as close to 27-23 before Nelson's clinching touchdown with less than a minute remaining. Martinez's pass, intercepted by Jeremy Baltazar ended the game.
The Huskers at times looked lost on defense, especially when it came to covering Minnesota's TE's. Several catches and open drops were prevalent throughout the entire game. However, the bigger issue was the 282 total rushing yards by Minnesota, led by David Cobb and his 31 carry, 144 yard effort.
Offensively, Nebraska was paced by Ameer Abdullah's 19 carry, 165 yard effort that went for naught in the end. Taylor Martinez was 16 for 30 for 139 yards and 1 touchdown and interception each. Even though Martinez did not seem to be 100 percent today, he did make a few plays including a 35 yard carry on Nebraska's third quarter TD drive.
Nebraska comes back to Lincoln for a 2:30 kickoff against the Northwestern Wildcats next week, while Minnesota head on the road to play Indiana.