Minnesota falls to Northwestern, 24-14

Three Gopher turnovers turn into 10 Wildcat points.

Posted: Nov 18, 2018 10:36 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When he was an assistant at Northern Illinois, Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck once cold-called Pat Fitzgerald for a lunch meeting to learn about being a head coach.

A decade later, Fitzgerald and his Northwestern Wildcats are still teaching teams like the Gophers how to win in the Big Ten.

Isaiah Bowser rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 24 Northwestern turned three turnovers by Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan into 10 points on the way to a 24-14 victory on Saturday that stretched its program-record road winning streak to eight games.

"The teams that win in our league are the teams that have the sustainability over the long period of time," Fleck said. "You have to earn that, but they have that."

Clayton Thorson completed 15 of 21 passes for 230 yards without a turnover and had a 13-yard touchdown run in the first half for the Wildcats (7-4, 7-1, No. 22 CFP), who have their best Big Ten record since 1996 when Fitzgerald was in his final season as a player.

Nate Hall had two interceptions for the Wildcats, who have won 14 of their last 15 conference contests, including 11 games in a row against opponents within the West Division they clinched the week before. Hall, who also made the tackle on a fourth-and-1 stop of Seth Green at the Northwestern 26 in the second quarter, was ejected for targeting on a helmet-to-helmet hit on Morgan in the fourth quarter.

"A very businesslike championship-type approach to the week culminated with a very businesslike win," Fitzgerald said. "I thought our guys were very focused."

Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown and Blake Cashman had a sack among his career-high 20 tackles for the Gophers (5-6, 2-6), who fell to 4-13 in conference play under Fleck.

With a kickoff temperature of 23 degrees, which was actually slightly warmer than when Minnesota beat Purdue here last week , Thorson and the Wildcats played the field-position game well. The secondary missing three injured starters complemented a strong pass rush led by Joe Gaziano, who forced a fumble by Morgan with a sack in the fourth quarter, setting up a short field goal.

That came right after a 68-yard completion on third down from Thorson to J.J. Jefferson, who slipped past freshman safety Jordan Howden and was tackled at the 2 before Bowser's second score.

Morgan finished 19 for 32 for 197 yards and a late touchdown pass to Tyler Johnson, who topped the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Minnesota's streak of four straight games with 400-plus total yards, the longest for the program in more than 12 years, was stopped.

"They're fighting for bowl eligibility. We knew we were going to get their best shot," Fitzgerald said. "That's what jumps out to me so much about our defense."

MONEY MAN

Cashman, a senior playing in his final home game, had a career performance. Fleck said he planned to have the team review all 20 of the former walk-on's tackles this week to be reminded of what full effort looks like.

"I'm very excited to see where this team goes," Cashman said, "and one day I'll come back here and I think we'll see a lot of success."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After cracking The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season following last week's win at Iowa , Northwestern will remain a ranked team for now. The Wildcats aren't part of the College Football Playoff conversation, but to be headed for the Big Ten championship game in December after losing at home to Akron and starting the season 1-3 in September is quite an accomplishment.

The Gophers were actually favored by two points on the final betting lines.

"That was a joke," Fitzgerald said, adding: "The level of respect for the guys in that locker room is not very high because of a couple games earlier in the year."

THE TAKEAWAY

Northwestern: Fitzgerald implored his team to maintain a "pedal-down" mentality despite the outcome of this game having no bearing on the Wildcats' bid to become Big Ten champions and reach the Rose Bowl. Right after the Gophers tied it with 2:18 left in the first half, they responded with authority. Kyric McGowan had a 39-yard kickoff return, and Thorson followed two straight completions with his untouched run into the end zone to take the lead for good.

"Our guys came in on Monday and were ready to go," Thorson said.

Minnesota: With a freshman quarterback, limiting turnovers this season was bound to be one of the biggest challenges for the Gophers. They entered the week with a minus-6 margin that was the second-worst in the Big Ten.

"I've got to play better, 100 percent no question about it," Morgan said.

UP NEXT

Northwestern: Hosts Illinois next Saturday. The Wildcats have won five out of the last six meetings.

Minnesota: Plays next Saturday at Wisconsin, where the Gophers have lost 11 straight times since 1994.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 22464

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7540565
Ramsey2610103
Stearns198412
Nobles14883
Anoka126259
Dakota118244
Olmsted57510
Washington56230
Kandiyohi4751
Rice4112
Clay40625
Scott3792
Todd2960
Wright2691
Sherburne2192
Mower2161
Carver1852
Benton1692
Steele1480
Martin1265
Blue Earth1221
St. Louis11513
Freeborn970
Pine850
Winona7815
Nicollet747
Carlton730
Cottonwood650
Otter Tail620
Unassigned6110
Goodhue603
Watonwan590
Polk592
Crow Wing571
Itasca537
Chisago501
Dodge460
Chippewa441
Meeker440
Le Sueur431
Morrison400
Douglas390
Jackson390
Becker370
Murray360
Lyon360
Isanti330
McLeod290
Waseca240
Rock210
Swift170
Pennington170
Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Wabasha170
Brown142
Faribault130
Beltrami130
Sibley130
Cass122
Norman110
Wilkin113
Kanabec111
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pope80
Wadena80
Aitkin70
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Lincoln50
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Red Lake40
Traverse30
Big Stone30
Clearwater30
Redwood30
Grant30
Lac qui Parle30
Houston20
Lake10
Hubbard10
Roseau10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 18342

Reported Deaths: 496
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3876115
Woodbury265831
Black Hawk171343
Linn93876
Marshall87815
Dallas87317
Buena Vista6820
Johnson6058
Muscatine54741
Wapello5384
Crawford4882
Tama40026
Scott34610
Louisa33610
Dubuque33016
Jasper25716
Pottawattamie2277
Sioux2100
Washington1858
Wright1240
Allamakee1194
Plymouth1191
Warren1140
Story961
Poweshiek888
Mahaska888
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines581
Boone560
Taylor480
Cedar461
Guthrie443
Clarke400
Benton391
Jones360
Iowa360
Monroe354
Shelby350
Clayton313
Buchanan310
Osceola310
Marion300
Webster291
Hamilton280
Madison261
Fayette260
Monona240
Lee230
Cherokee230
Winneshiek230
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Jefferson190
Harrison190
Lyon190
Grundy190
Floyd181
Sac170
Mills160
Hardin150
Butler150
Delaware150
Humboldt140
Ida140
Keokuk140
Hancock140
Appanoose133
Jackson130
Dickinson130
Clay130
Greene130
Howard120
Audubon121
Winnebago110
Cass110
Page100
Van Buren90
Franklin90
Carroll90
Pocahontas90
Chickasaw80
Emmet80
Unassigned80
Kossuth80
Adair70
Adams70
Lucas70
Union60
Montgomery60
Mitchell50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Calhoun20
Decatur10
Wayne10
Rochester
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 67°
Mason City
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 67°
Albert Lea
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 63°
Austin
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
spotty pop-up showers and storms for Wednesday & Thursday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

IA Evictions and Foreclosures Can Start May 28

Image

Doctor scolds politicos who fail to social distance

Image

MN churches allowed to reopen, how are they adapting

Image

Sean Weather 5/27

Image

City Council supporting outdoor seating

Image

Boys and Girls Club Care Packages

Image

Helping get food on the table

Image

Good news for job seekers in Rochester

Image

Do not delay medical care

Image

Stay safe on the water

Community Events