Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was first-half jitters.

Whatever the reason, the Gophers found themselves in a dogfight Thursday night in their season opener against UNLV at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Gophers headed to the locker room with a 16-13 lead.

Philip Nelson, who ran for a 48-yard touchdown run earlier in the half, found Maxx Williams with a 10-yard touchdown pass to give Minnesota the lead. It was Williams’ first career reception, and he made a nice lunging catch, keeping himself in bounds.

Chris Hawthorne missed the extra point, negating an earlier missed PAT by UNLV.

The Rebels took a 13-10 lead midway through the second quarter with a big play on fourth down. Sophomore quarterback Nick Sherry scrambled and found Devante Davis for a 34-yard touchdown pass.

The temperature was 92 degrees at kickoff, and was 90 degrees as the teams headed to the locker rooms. The Gophers entered the game as 14-point favorites.

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Gophers pregame: Preparing for a 90-degree kickoff vs. UNLV

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