NORTHWESTERN 21, GOPHERS 13
The recap: The Gophers fell behind in the first 11 seconds and couldn't muster enough offense to overcome their mistakes.
What was learned: Once it settles in, the Gophers defense is Big Ten-caliber. Their offense can't say that yet.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
• MarQueis Gray, who suffered an ankle injury of unknown severity in the second half, still became one of the Gophers' top 25 rushers. His 86 yards gave him 1,661 for his career, passing Shorty Almquist (1925-27) and Terry Jackson II (2001-03) for 25th place.
• Freshman Andre McDonald, who had not played since the season opener, led the Gophers with four catches for 33 yards. But for the fourth time in six games, walk-on junior A.J. Barker had more yards than any other receiver, finishing with 49 yards on three catches.
• The Gophers failed to record a sack or cause a turnover for the second consecutive game. But Minnesota's defense held its opponent below 80 second-half yards for the second game in a row.
• The loss broke a four-game winning streak at TCF Bank Stadium and was the third in a row to Northwestern.
UP NEXT: WISCONSIN
11 a.m. Saturday, Camp Randall Stadium
TV: ESPNU • Radio: 100.3-FM
Records: Gophers 4-2, 0-2 Big Ten; Wisconsin 5-2, 2-1
The skinny: The two-time defending Big Ten champion looked a lot more toothless before Saturday, suffering two embarrassing losses, ranking next-to-last in rushing and firing their offensive line coach. But Wisconsin, which has won Paul Bunyan's Axe for eight consecutive years, savaged Purdue with 645 yards of offense, 467 of them on the ground, and 247 (and three touchdowns) by senior Montee Ball.