BLOOMINGTON, IND. -- Philip Nelson passed for three touchdowns, including two to Derrick Engel, as the Gophers jumped to a 28-13 halftime lead today at Indiana.
Nelson made his first start since the Iowa game on Sept. 28. Mitch Leidner replaced him on the first drive of the second quarter and led a touchdown drive.
But when Leidner fumbled twice on Minnesota’s next series, both recovered by the Gophers, Nelson came back in. On fourth-and-2 from Indiana’s 10-yard line, the Gophers went for it, and Nelson hit tight end Drew Goodger for a touchdown pass, stretching Minnesota’s lead to 21-13.
The Gophers fumbled three times on that drive, yet still scored. Nelson found Engel for a 33-yard touchdown on the next drive.
The Gophers forced Indiana to punt on its final three possessions of the half.
The only negative in the first half for Minnesota was losing starting center Jon Christenson to an apparent left leg injury. Christenson was carted off the field and replaced by Tommy Olson.
Minnesota’s first play from scrimmage was a flea-flicker, as Nelson handed to David Cobb, who pitched it back to Nelson for a 40-yard completion to Engel. A few plays later, Nelson hit Engel on third-and-9 for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
It was the first time the Gophers had scored points on their first possession of a game this year, and the first time they’d done it in a Big Ten game since Nov. 19, 2011 at Northwestern.
Indiana came right back down the field, and the Gophers it to a field goal. The teams traded punts, and then Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood.
It was the Gophers first turnover in three games, and the Hoosiers quickly made it hurt. Tre Roberson hit Kofi Hughes with an 18-yard touchdown pass.