The Gophers (6-2 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) fell behind by 10 points early in the game, but bounced back to take the lead for good midway through the second quarter.
The game was over when…Philip Nelson crossed the goal line with 48 seconds remaining to give the Gophers an 11-point lead. The Gophers took the lead for good with six minutes and 21 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but the Huskers never trailed by more than 14 points and got to within four points before Nelson's touchdown.
The turning point was when…Theiren Cockran sacked Taylor Martinez and forced a fumble on a third down play on the Huskers' second offensive possession of the game. Before that play, the Gopher sideline was dead and the Huskers could do anything they wanted. It was a complete 180 degree turn after the sack.
The reason for optimism is…that the Gophers were able to knock back a Big Ten opponent. It hadn't happened in awhile. The Gophers racked up 271 rushing yards. Also, they had fun doing it. All the pre-snap movement was out of the ordinary for the Gophers and it confused the Huskers defense all game.
The reason to worry is…that was not the Huskers we are used to seeing and Martinez was not on top of his game. It was a good win, but as Tracy Claeys said after the game, "there are better wins out there." The Gophers can get too high from the win and suffer a let down in Bloomington, Ind. this week.
The unsung heroes were…Ed Olson and Ben Lauer on offense and Cockran on defense. Olson and Lauer split snaps at left tackle throughout the game. Their task was to stop star defensive end Randy Gregory. Mission accomplished. Gregory, a JUCO transfer, made just four tackles and one sack. He entered the game with eight sacks on the season. Cockran recorded four tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. His sack in the first quarter was the turning point of the game.
This week…the Indiana Hoosiers have a dynamic offense and a horrible defense. The Gophers defense will have their hands full, while the offense has a chance to continue to build momentum off last week's win.