BLOOMINGTON, IND. – The Gophers football team struck again Saturday.
Lined up as an underdog against a Big Ten opponent for the third consecutive week, the Gophers made it three straight wins, defeating Indiana in a 42-39 thriller at Memorial Stadium.
Philip Nelson passed for 298 yards and four touchdowns, and David Cobb rushed for 188 yards, but a game that seemed headed for a Minnesota rout turned extremely tense at the end.
The Gophers had 35-13 lead with 6:24 remaining in the third quarter, and then the Hoosiers scored the next 26 points to go in front 39-35.
Nelson hit Maxx Williams with a 50-yard touchdown pass, putting the Gophers back in front. But the game clocked showed 2 minutes and 57 seconds remaining -- an eternity for the Hoosiers, who came in averaging 42.4 points per game, eighth-best in the country.
Indiana had the ball at Minnesota’s 8-yard line, when the Gophers called timeout with 25 seconds remaining. It didn’t look good at all, but then Minnesota caught a major break.
Hoosiers quarterback Nate Sudfeld misfired on a screen pass to Tevin Coleman, a play ruled a lateral, and linebacker Aaron Hill pounced on the fumble.
The Gophers could hardly believe their luck, as the offense went on the field to run out the clock.
Minnesota (7-2, 3-2 in the Big Ten) surpassed last year’s win total heading into what looks like another winnable game next week, when Penn State visits TCF Bank Stadium.
Indiana (3-5, 1-3) entered the game as nine-point favorites, but the Gophers were used to it, after being 12 1/2-point underdogs at Northwestern and 10-point underdogs against Nebraska, and still coming out on top.