Gophers 20, Northwestern 17

The recap: The score was 7-7 late in the third quarter, until Gophers linebacker James Manuel returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown and Chris Hawthorne added two field goals.

What was learned: The quarterback position is far from settled. Mitch Leidner struggled to move the offense; Philip Nelson had much more success.

 

YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

• Gophers safety Antonio Johnson made his first career start and led the team with 11 tackles.

• Tight end Maxx Williams finished without a catch. He dropped Leidner’s first pass, then was overthrown by both Leidner and Nelson.

• For the fourth time in five games, defensive tackle Cameron Botticelli delivered a tackle for a loss.

 

UP NEXT: No. 25 Nebraska

11 a.m. Saturday, TCF Bank Stadium

TV: ESPN • Radio: 100.3-FM

Records: Gophers 5-2, 1-2 Big Ten; Nebraska 5-1, 2-0

The skinny: The Huskers had a bye last weekend, so they’ll be well-rested, and senior QB Taylor Martinez is expected back from his turf toe injury. Nebraska was reeling after a 41-21 loss to UCLA on Sept. 14, but since has lopsided wins over South Dakota State, Illinois and Purdue, cooling coach Bo Pelini’s hot seat. RB Ameer Abdullah ranks second in the Big Ten with 136 rushing yards per game.

JOE CHRISTENSEN