The Gophers will never know if they could have given Nebraska a competitive game. As it has in all three Big Ten games this season, Minnesota short-circuited its own chances with mistake after mistake, and the Gophers trail the Cornhuskers 34-0 at halftime.
     The first-half shutout means the Gophers have been outscored 103-3 in the first two periods during the Big Ten season; their halftime deficits this year have been 38-0, 31-3 and 34-0. They have also surrendered 145 consecutive points to the Cornhuskers, a streak dating back to 1984.
     It's one thing to fall behind the nation's 13th-ranked team, but the Gophers are so often the culprits in their own demise. Ill-timed penalties, fumbles and poor tackling handed the Cornhuskers more than enough breaks to run to a big advantage. Nebraska has 330 yards of offense at halftime, Minnesota 88. Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray is 2-for-8 for 9 yards.
     While the score was still only 10-0, the Cornhuskers were also aided by a freak play on fourth-and-two at the Gophers' 13. I-back Aaron Green fumbled a pitch from Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, but the ball bounced forward off his hands and out of bounds beyond the first-down marker. By rule, a backward pass fumbled out of bounds is spotted where it goes out, and the Huskers received a first down on the play, over heated objections from Minnesota's coaching staff. The Huskers scored two plays later.
     Nebraska also scored on an 82-yard double reverse by Kenny Bell, and cornerback Austin Cassidy added another score by picking up a Gray fumble and tip-toeing along the left sideline for an 11-yard score.