Nebraska vs. Minnesota Photo No. 6

Wide receiver JD Spielman (10) catches the ball and is brought down by the Minnesota defense at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. 

After a heartbreaking overtime loss at home against Northwestern, Nebraska went on the road to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota entered the game having lost two straight games to Iowa and Michigan and having lost five of their last six games. Both teams entered the game with 4-5 records, with a win being imperative for a chance at bowl eligibility.

Notable plays from the first quarter:

  • (MIN) Minnesota receives the game’s opening kickoff and junior Rodney Smith returns the kick 100 yards for a touchdown. Minnesota takes an early 7-0 lead with 14:47 left in the first quarter.

  • (NEB) Following the Gopher touchdown, Nebraska pushes 75 yards in 12 plays to score a touchdown of its own. Mikale Wilbon carries the ball five times during the drive, including a 1-yard touchdown run to cap off the drive. Nebraska ties the game at 7-7 with 8:57 to go in the quarter.

  • (MIN) The game’s third possession ends in the game’s third touchdown as Minnesota goes on its own 12 play, 75 yard drive for a touchdown. The Golden Gophers keep the ball on the ground for the drive, converting a crucial fourth down play deep in Nebraska territory. Quarterback Demry Croft runs the ball in from 3 yards out for the score, putting Minnesota back on top 14-7 with 3:08 to play in the quarter.

Notable plays from the second quarter:

  • (MIN) Nebraska drives 68 yards down the field to the Minnesota 7-yard line, but its drive stops there. A big 44-yard pass to De’Mornay Pierson-El and a couple Devine Ozigbo runs power the drive along, but Mikale Wilbon is stopped short on fourth down and the Huskers walk away empty. Demry Croft fools the defense on a read-option play and runs 73 yards for a touchdown. The Golden Gophers extend their lead to 20-7 with 11:42 left in the second quarter.

  • (MIN) Following a Nebraska punt, Minnesota takes the ball and drives down the field for their fourth touchdown of the game. Rodney Smith and Kobe McCrary combine for four runs of 10 or more yards on the drive, including McCrary’s 11-yard run for the score. Minnesota leads 27-7 with 6:40 left in the quarter.

  • (NEB) The Huskers take the ball and drive 90 yards down the field behind four completions to JD Spielman for 66 yards, before Tanner Lee finds Tyler Hoppes for the 14-yard touchdown pass. Nebraska cuts the Minnesota lead to 27-14 with 2:50 left in the half.

  • (MIN) The Gophers continue their scoring streak, as Croft completes two passes to Tyler Johnson for over 20 yards each. Minnesota moves into field goal range and converts from 36 yards out. Minnesota leads 30-14 at the half.

Other notes:

Minnesota scored 30 points against Nebraska in the first half. The Golden Gophers had scored more than 30 points in a game only twice all season, against Oregon State and Middle Tennessee State. Their previous point high in a Big Ten game was 27 against Michigan State.

Mikale Wilbon carried the ball eight times for 26 yards for Nebraska in the first half. The junior running back out-carried Devine Ozigbo, which came as a surprise after he had five carries for eight yards in the past four weeks combined.

After gaining 84 yards on six catches, JD Spielman became the Nebraska leader in all-purpose yards, receiving yards and catches for a freshman.

Assistant Sports Editor