Kill looks on as Minnesota tops Northwestern 20-17
MINNESOTA 20, NORTHWESTERN 17
By JACK MCCARTHY
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Ailing head coach Jerry Kill watched from
the coaches' box as Minnesota turned two second half turnovers
into scores en route to a 20-17 Big Ten victory over
Northwestern Saturday afternoon.
The Gophers (5-2, 1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak as James
Manuel broke a 7-7 tie with a 24-yard third quarter interception
return and Chris Hawthorne turned another Wildcat turnover into
a 34-yard field goal in the fourth.
Host Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) dropped its third straight.
Kill, on indefinite leave after a series of epileptic seizures,
watched Manuel picked off Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian
with 1:22 for a go-ahead score. The Gophers made it 17-7 just 87
seconds later on Hawthorne's field goal after recovering a
Hawthorne's 38-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining made it
20-10. Northwestern cut the deficit to 20-17 on a 10-yard
touchdown strike from Siemian to Tony Jones with 2:07 remaining.
Gopher quarterback Philip Nelson was 8-of-11 for 112 yards,
including a touchdown strike to Derrick Engel. Running back
David Cobb rushed 20 times for 103 yards.
Siemian completed 25 of 46 passes for 234 yards but was picked
off twice and fumbled once. Jones had eight catches for 84
Northwestern opened the scoring on Stephen Buckley's first
career touchdown with 1:53 left in the first quarter. Buckley's
3-yard score capped a drive on which he had a 33-yard reception
and an 11-yard run.
Minnesota tied the game at 7-7 as Nelson hit Engel hit on a
29-yard touchdown pass with 6:48 left in the first half.
Hawthorne's try for a go-ahead 44-yard field goal just before
halftime sailed wide left.
Minnesota's defense shut down a promising Northwestern drive
deep into Gopher territory early in the final frame. The
Wildcats settled for a 35-yard Jeff Budzien field goal that cut
the Gopher lead to 17-10 with 11:09 left in regulation.
After Hawthorne's second field goal, Northwestern converted on
three fourth downs in a 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in
Jones' 10-yard TD reception.
Two key Northwestern players were sidelined with reported ankle
injuries: tailback Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter, who
was dressed but only available in an emergency role.
Kill didn't coach for the second straight game. Kill and his
wife, Rebecca, drove down from Minneapolis and arrived just
before the game. He reportedly addressed the Gophers at
Tracy Claeys has served as head coach in Kill's absence.
Minnesota hosts Nebraska next Saturday while Northwestern
travels to Iowa.
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