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Wildcats At Gophers: Minnesota Comes Up Short On Fourth Down

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had a chance to put themselves in a position to tie the Northwestern Wildcats, but came up short.

The Gophers started out on their own 12-yard line and, behind Max Shortell, quickly found themselves in Northwestern territory after an 18-yard pass to Isaac Fruechte and a 23-yard hit to A.J. Barker. A 16-yard rush on 3rd-and-4 by Rodrick Williams put Minnesota at the Northwestern 24.

Shortell appeared to have Fruechte wide open in the end zone on first down, but Shortell missed him with the pass. A slant to Barker on second down moved the ball to the Northwestern 8-yard line for a first and goal, and Donnell Kirkwood moved the ball to the 4. Shortell then fumbled an exchange from center to bring up third down, and an incomplete pass towards Barker brought up fourth down.

On that fourth down, Shortell was looking for a fade route to Andre MacDonald, but threw a pass that MacDonald couldn't possibly have caught, with the ball going out of the back of the end zone. Minnesota turned the ball over on downs, and Northwestern took over at their own 6-yard line.

Minnesota needs a stop now in order to have any shot. A first down or two by Northwestern will allow the Wildcats to run out the clock.

Just over two minutes left at TCF Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers trail the Northwestern Wildcats by a score of 21-13.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.