Minnesota Vs. Northwestern: Gophers Fall To Northwestern, 28-10

For more on the Golden Gophers, visit SB Nation's The Daily Gopher. For more on the Wildcats, visit SB Nation's Sippin' On Purple.

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Gophers Vs Wildcats Final Score: Northwestern Defeats Minnesota, 28-10

The Minnesota Golden Gophers dropped to 2-9 on the 2011 season on Saturday afternoon, falling in their final road contest of 2011 to the Northwestern Wildcats by a final score of 28-13.

Things got off to a terrible start for Minnesota, as they allowed 21 points in the first quarter of play. This was largely the result of poor special teams play. On the opening kickoff, Northwestern's Venric Marc got his return all the way to the Northwestern 46-yard line, and the Wildcats put the ball into the end zone on a 7-yard pass from Dan Persa to Kain Colter to give themselves a 7-0 lead.

The Gophers answered back on their first drive, marching downfield in seven plays, capping things with a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback MarQueis Gray to tie the score at seven. However, on the next kickoff, Marc outdid himself, returning the ball into Gopher territory at the 43. Northwestern once again took advantage of the short field, getting into the end zone with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Persa to Demetrius Fields to go ahead 14-7.

On their next possession, the Gophers went three and out, and the resulting punt from Dan Orseske. . .with the wind at his back, mind you. . .traveled nine yards, giving Northwestern the ball at the 38-yard line of Minnesota. Nine plays later, Northwestern was in the end zone again, thanks to a 2-yard touchdown run by Treyvon Green, giving the Wildcats a 21-7 lead.

There wasn't a whole lot of scoring action after that. The Gophers got a 28-yard field goal by Jordan Wettstein in the second quarter to cut the score to 21-10, and the Gophers actually held the Wildcats off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, when Northwestern took advantage of a MarQueis Gray interception. They drove 80 yards for a touchdown, capping the drive with a 1-yard scoring run from Jacob Schmidt to make the score 28-10. Wettstein added another field goal in the fourth quarter, this one from 48 yards, to provide the final score.

Gray did not have a great day throwing the football, completing just 9-of-21 attempts for 124 yards and an interception. He had a great day running the ball, however, as he had 26 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown. Duane Bennett also had a nice day on the ground, toting the rock 23 times for 127 yards, but had a costly fumble at the Northwestern 25-yard line on the first drive of the second half. Gray's interception also came at a costly time, as it came on a pass intended for Brandon Green in the end zone.

The Gophers actually had more yardage on the afternoon than the Wildcats did, outgaining Northwestern 393 to 368, including rushing for 269 yards. However, they couldn't punch the ball into the end zone enough times in this one, and they allowed Northwestern to get the victory. The win makes Northwestern bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season.

The Gophers will finish their 2011 season at TCF Bank Stadium next Saturday afternoon when they host the Illinois Fighting Illini.

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Gophers Vs. Wildcats Score Update: Jacob Schmidt Finds The End Zone, Makes It 28-10

The Minnesota Golden Gophers' defense held up for a while, but the Northwestern Wildcats have broken through again thanks to a long, impressive drive.

The Wildcats started out at their own 20-yard line after intercepting MarQueis Gray in the end zone. The Wildcats put together a 15-play drive, largely in hurry-up mode, and mostly behind the running game. The Wildcats were actually facing a 4th-and-6 from the Minnesota 30-yard line, and elected to go for it. They converted it with an 11-yard pass to Kain Colter from Dan Persa, and the drive stayed alive.

Adonis Smith then carried it three straight times for 18 yards to put the ball on the 1-yard line, and on 3rd-and-goal from the 1, Persa took the snap, ran to the left, and pitched it to Jacob Schmidt, who walked in untouched for the touchdown and a 28-10 lead.

The touchdown marked the first points for the Wildcats since the first quarter, but the Gophers haven't been able to take advantage of the spirited play by their defense. Now, needed three scores, Minnesota will have to mount a furious comeback in this one.

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Gophers Vs Wildcats: Northwestern Leads Minnesota After Three Quarters, 21-10

There was no scoring in the third quarter, but there was quite a bit of action between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Northwestern Wildcats.

The Gophers' first drive of the quarter reached the Northwestern 25-yard line, but came to an unfortunate end when Duane Bennett fumbled the ball and Northwestern recovered. The Gophers forced a three-and-out, but the Wildcats blasted a 77-yard punt. . .yes, seventy-seven yards. . .to pin the Gophers down at their own 4.

After the Gophers had to punt it away, the Wildcats took over and appeared to have a nice drive of their own going, but Dan Persa and his running back couldn't get together on the exchange, and they put the ball on the turf, with the Gophers recovering.

On the ensuing drive, the Gophers drove deep into Northwestern territory, thanks to a big 25-yard run by MarQueis Gray and a huge pass from Gray to Brandon Green to put the ball on the Northwestern 5-yard line. However, on a third down play, Gray tried to find Green on a slant, and it didn't appear as though Green was even looking for the ball. The ball was deflected, and intercepted by Northwestern in the end zone.

As we start the fourth quarter, the Wildcats are on the move with the ball at around midfield, still holding a 21-10 lead over the Golden Gophers in Evanston.

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Gophers Vs Wildcats Score Update: Minnesota Adds Field Goal To Get Within 21-10

The Minnesota Golden Gophers actually made the Northwestern Wildcats drive more than half the field on their most recent possession, and something good came out of it.

While Northwestern was driving, Dan Persa overthrew one of his receivers, and the ball wound up in the hands of Kim Royston for an interception that gave Minnesota the ball on their own 31-yard line. From there, the Gophers put together a decent drive behind the running of MarQueis Gray and Duane Bennett. Gray mixed in a nice pass to Brandon Green for 18 yards on a 3rd-and-7 that kept the drive going for Minnesota.

The drive eventually stalled, however, and the Gophers had to settle for a 28-yard Jordan Wettstein field goal to cut the Northwestern lead to 21-10.

We have a little more than six minutes remaining before halftime in Evanston, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers trail the Northwestern Wildcats by eleven points. Northwestern is driving again, however, as they are approaching midfield.

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Gophers Vs Wildcats Score Update: Treyvon Green Gets A Touchdown For Northwestern

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have found a way to hide their bad kickoff coverage. Apparently the key is to not score, and then launch such an awful punt that you don't have to worry about it.

The Gophers responded to the Northwestern Wildcats' second touchdown of the afternoon with a three-and-out, and punted Dan Orseske got off a 9-yard punt. . .yes, nine yards. . .to give Northwestern the ball at the Minnesota 38-yard line. Blessed once again with great field position, it didn't take the Wildcats long to find the end zone, as they moved down the field in nine plays, with the capper coming on a two-yard touchdown run that saw Treyvon Green go untouched around the left side.

The extra point is good, and the Wildcats extended their lead over the Golden Gophers to 21-7 with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter of play. Things aren't looking great for the Gophers thus far, folks.

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Gophers Vs Wildcats Score Update: Demetrius Fields Gives Northwestern Lead

If the first three drives are any indicator, we're in for a high-scoring affair this afternoon in Evanston between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Northwestern Wildcats.

For the second consecutive time, Venric Mark busted a huge kickoff return for the Wildcats, this time taking the ball to the Minnesota 43-yard line. After converting one first down on a 4th-and-1, Northwestern found themselves looking at 4th-and-7 from the Minnesota 28. No problem for Dan Persa and company, however, as he found a wide open Demetrius Fields behind the Minnesota defense for a 28-yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave the Wildcats a 14-7 lead with 8:13 remaining in the first quarter of play.

If the Gophers don't do something to shore up their kickoff coverage, the Wildcats are going to have short fields all day. The Gophers defense is suspect at the best of times, and if Northwestern doesn't even have to drive half the field to score, it's going to be a long day for Jerry Kill's squad.

As it stands now, the Minnesota Golden Gophers trail the Northwestern Wildcats, 14-7, with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the first quarter of play.

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Gophers Vs Wildcats Score Update: MarQueis Gray Ties Things Up For Minnesota

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have answered the Northwestern Wildcats' first drive with a pretty impressive drive of their own, and we are tied up in the early going in Evanston.

The Gophers started out from their own 34-yard line, and Duane Bennett had them quickly into Northwestern territory after rushes of 12 and 13 yards. From there, MarQueis Gray converted a big third down to Da'Jon McKnight to put Minnesota down at the Northwestern 10-yard line.

A couple of plays later, Gray powered his way into the end zone, dragging Wildcats into the end zone from six yards out to tie the game at seven.

We're only four minutes into the action this afternoon in Evanston, and both teams are already on the board. Northwestern has just returned the ensuing kickoff past midfield again, so they could be in business once more.

With eleven minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Northwestern Wildcats are tied at seven.

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Gopher At Wildcats Score Update: Dan Persa And Kain Colter Connect For Northwestern

Well, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have gotten off to a rip-roaring start this morning in Evanston against the Northwestern Wildcats.

Northwestern's Venric Mark took the opening kickoff to near midfield for the Wildcats, and from there Dan Persa and company were on the march. The Gophers appeared to have had the Wildcats stopped after a 3rd-and-1 play, but Kyle Henderson got flagged for pass interference, and the replays showed that it was clearly the correct call. On the next play, the Gophers appeared to get to Persa for a sack, but it was negated by a face mask penalty on Gary Tinsley that moved the ball to the Minnesota 7-yard line.

On the next play, Persa flipped one to receiver Kain Colter out in the left flat, and Colter did the rest, going basically untouched into the end zone for Northwestern's first touchdown of the afternoon. The drive took just one minute and 26 seconds.

So, in the early going in Evanston, the Minnesota Golden Gophers trail the Northwestern Wildcats by a score of 7-0, and they're taking the field for their first possession.

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College Football Schedule, Week 12: Nebraska At Michigan Headlines Saturday's Big Ten Action

The game most eyes will be focused on today is the one between Michigan and Nebraska, two top-20 ranked teams sitting just a game behind MSU in the Big Ten's Legends Division.

Each team is 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten with a fighting chance to catch MSU, who can clinch a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game with a win and a Cornhuskers' loss. While it's unlikely either will surpass MSU, there's still a lot at stake, particularly a better bowl game. The two teams last played in 2005 in the Alamo Bowl when Nebraska edged out the Wolverines, 32-28. 

In addition to Michigan/Nebraska, the Penn State vs. Ohio State game provides college football fans with an interesting match up. Both the PSU and OSU programs are in turmoil, the Nittany Lions finding their former coaches in the middle of a child molestation scandal and the Buckeyes recovering from the tats-for-cash scandal. When these teams played last year, both had the most winningest active coaches in college football and now, with Tressel and Paterno fired, both have two of the least winningest coaches in college football.

Ohio State is coming off of a heartbreaking 26-23 loss to Purdue after missing the game-winning extra point in regulation. Penn State lost 17-14 to Nebraska last week.

Here's the full Big Ten schedule for today: 

No. 16 Nebraska @ No. 18 Michigan, 12 p.m. ESPN

Minnesota @ Northwestern, 12 p.m. BTN

Indiana @ No. 12 Michigan State, 12 p.m. BTN*

No. 17 Wisconsin @ Illinois, 12 p.m. ESPN 2/ESPN 3
Iowa @ Purdue, 12 p.m. BTN

No. 21 Penn State @ Ohio State, 3:30 p.m. ESPN/ABC

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Minnesota Vs. Northwestern Game Time, TV Schedule And More

As the 2011 college football season winds down Minnesota is looking to establish momentum going into next year. This week they visit Northwestern, who is one win short of bowl eligibility with two games left. Northwestern comes in as one of the hottest teams in the conference. They have won three straight games, including a surprise win two weeks ago at No. 10 Nebraska. Northwestern will look to take lock up its bowl eligibility before facing Legends Division leader Michigan State next week.

Game date, time: 12 p.m. ET, November 19, 2011

Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL

TV channel: Big Ten Network

Spread: Northwestern favored by 15.5

Series history: Minnesota leads, 50-31-5

For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Minnesota Golden Gophers blog The Daily Gopher and Northwestern Wildcats blog Sippin' On Purple. Here’s the complete Week 12 college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.

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College Football Odds Minnesota Vs. Northwestern: Wildcats Favored By More Than Two Touchdowns

With bowl eligibility on the line the Northwestern Wildcats have a lot to play for when the Minnesota Golden Gophers visit on Saturday. SB Nation's odds partner Oddshark has taken that into account when factoring in the spread. The Golden Gophers find themselves as a 15.5 point underdog as they head to Evanston:

They bring a 5-5 record (5-5 ATS) to the Week 12 battle against the 2-8 Golden Gophers, who are 5-5 ATS against the spread. Over under bettors have seen Northwestern go 6-4 so far and the Golden Gophers go 5-5.

SB Nation's The Daily Gopher is much more confident, however, as they believe that Minnesota has a chance to win the game straight up:

Whatever NU's record, whatever their team may have done, this Saturday, like every year we play them, I think Minnesota should beat them.

Part of that belief comes from the perception of Northwestern's history, specifically before their Rose Bowl run in 1995. If anything, Minnesota's recent play has inspired some confidence that the Gophers can pull off an upset and end the season on a high note.

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Minnesota Vs. Northwestern: Golden Gophers Look To Continue Improvement

For more on the Golden Gophers, visit SB Nation's The Daily Gopher. For more on the Wildcats, visit SB Nation's Sippin' On Purple.

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