The Gophers overcame a 21-0 halftime deficit to take a late lead, only to lose in OT on a two-point conversion in coach Tim Brewster's debut.
The storybook start to the Tim Brewster Era is over. Bowling Green made sure of that.
A night that began with unbridled optimism and promise ended in major disappointment as Bowling Green scored on a two-point conversion in the first overtime to ruin Brewster's coaching debut with a 32-31 victory against the Gophers before an announced crowd of 49,253 at the Metrodome.
Bowling Green quarterback Tyler Sheehan rolled right and squeezed a pass to Freddie Barnes in the end zone for the winning points in a roller-coaster affair.
Afterward, Brewster displayed a range of emotions. He said he was disappointed by the loss but encouraged that his team rallied from a three-touchdown halftime deficit to make a game of it.
"I'm going to be no less excited about coming to work tomorrow morning," he said. "This is a long race. This is a marathon, not a sprint."
The game took on a frenetic pace, especially in the second half. Weird doesn't begin to describe how it all unfolded.
Trailing 21-0 at halftime and getting booed by their home fans, the Gophers scored points on four consecutive possessions to take their first lead. Jason Giannini's 33-yard field goal with 2 minutes, 12 seconds remaining put the Gophers ahead 24-21.
"We needed to close it out," Brewster said. "We needed to make one play on defense."
They didn't. Bowling Green moved the ball quickly downfield and sent the game into overtime on Sinisa Vrvilo's 35-yard field goal with three seconds left.
Gophers tailback Amir Pinnix scored on a 23-yard touchdown run in overtime. Bowling Green answered with a 9-yard touchdown catch by Marques Parks on its second play of overtime. The Falcons elected to go for two instead of an extra point, and the gamble paid off.
"We made the decision long before tonight," Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon said. "We've got to go for it, so we did."
The Gophers had won their previous five season openers by an average of 39.6 points. Bowling Green, which lost to lowly Temple last season and had 40 first- or second-year players on its depth chart, had the look of another lightweight, on paper at least.
But then the game started. And the Gophers quickly found out it wouldn't be easy.
The Falcons came out flying on offense and took advantage of a young and shaky Gophers secondary. Sheehan completed his first seven passes and had a big night. He completed 34 of 51 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. Bowling Green rolled up 512 total yards.
Bowling Green jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the smoke from the pregame fireworks had cleared the air and led 21-0 at halftime.
"We can't put our offense behind by 21 points in the first half," Gophers defensive tackle Eric Small said. "It's as simple as that. We can't put them in that hole."
The entire first half was a disaster for the Gophers. Bowling Green rolled up 324 total yards in the half -- 235 passing. Minnesota's spread offense debuted with only 163 total yards, eight first downs and two turnovers before halftime.
"It was the first game and we had a lot of emotion," Brewster said. "But give credit where credit is due. Bowling Green did a heck of a job."
|Houston||12/5/13 7:25 PM|
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|Denver||73||4th Qtr 11:22|
|LA Clippers||44||3rd Qtr 10:20|
|Dallas||43||2nd Qtr 4:01|
|Detroit||33||2nd Qtr 5:45|
|Phoenix||38||2nd Qtr 5:00|
|San Antonio||8:30 PM|
|Oklahoma City||9:00 PM|
|Montreal||1||2nd Prd :54|
|Brewton-Parker||56||2nd Half 3:55|
|West Va Tech||74||2nd Half 2:23|
|Valparaiso||66||2nd Half 1:17|
|Western Carolina||67||2nd Half 0:44|
|South Florida||59||2nd Half 4:25|
|Rutgers||67||2nd Half 4:40|
|No Greenville||66||2nd Half 3:42|
|Richmond||71||2nd Half 0:30|
|William & Mary||60|
|Central Conn St||65|
|Wisconsin||48||2nd Half 0:38|
|Wofford||61||2nd Half 1:09|
|Maine||68||2nd Half 1:08|
|Marist||74||2nd Half 0:30|
|Maryland||58||2nd Half 1:53|
|UMBC||76||2nd Half 1:19|
|UMKC||50||2nd Half 5:05|
|Binghamton||69||2nd Half 0:19|
|Mount St Marys||65|
|Harvard||69||2nd Half 1:10|
|Albany||51||2nd Half 4:16|
|Lehigh||57||2nd Half 0:04|
|Furman||48||2nd Half 0:35|
|Hartford||55||2nd Half 3:50|
|Davidson||68||2nd Half 6:09|
|Detroit||73||2nd Half 3:02|
|Fair-Dickinson||60||2nd Half 0:29|
|Citadel||65||2nd Half 1:47|
|Cleveland State||57||2nd Half 0:28|
|Central Penn College||70||2nd Half 2:07|
|Catholic||48||2nd Half 13:20|
|Bryant||57||2nd Half 7:46|
|Bucknell||53||2nd Half 5:59|
|Louisiana||54||2nd Half 15:44|
|Howard||17||2nd Half 15:59|
|Northwestern||32||2nd Half 8:23|
|Robert Morris||46||2nd Half 15:23|
|Huston-Tillotson||22||1st Half 0:01|
|North Florida||21||1st Half 0:24|
|Saint Josephs||34||2nd Half|
|Penn||24||1st Half 2:53|
|Morehead State||25||2nd Half|
|St Edwards||32||2nd Half|
|East Tenn St||44||2nd Half|
|Eastern Ill||17||2nd Half|
|Dakota State||29||2nd Half|
|South Dakota St||45|
|Chicago State||30||2nd Half|
|Texas Southern||32||2nd Half|
|IUPUI||9||1st Half 13:55|
|Rice||12||1st Half 10:39|
|New Mexico||8:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|North Carolina||8:00 PM|
|Boston College||8:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|(19) Louisville||12/5/13 6:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||12/6/13 7:00 PM|
|(16) Northern Ill|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|(15) Nebraska||30||2nd Half|
|(18) North Carolina||40|
|Samford||33||2nd Half 0:17|
|St Francis-PA||68||2nd Half 3:45|
|Hartford||49||2nd Half 0:53|
|Ohio State||55||2nd Half 0:57|
|Murray State||66||2nd Half 0:08|
|Michigan State||55||2nd Half 0:15|
|Illinois||62||2nd Half 1:31|
|Boston U||60||2nd Half 4:11|
|Tennessee St||66||2nd Half 0:01|
|Rutgers||67||2nd Half 0:05|
|South Florida||55||2nd Half 0:01|
|Fla Gulf Coast||60|
|Southern Ill||36||2nd Half 10:48|
|SE Missouri St||55|
|Western Ill||55||2nd Half 10:34|
|(4) Notre Dame||48||2nd Half 16:08|
|(10) Penn State||31|
|Stephen F Austin||28||2nd Half|
|Ark-Little Rock||10||2nd Half|
|Northern Iowa||26||2nd Half|
|(20) Iowa State||43|
|Arkansas||29||1st Half 1:21|
|SE Louisiana||17||2nd Half|
|Ark-Pine Bluff||22||1st Half 0:01|
|Eastern Michigan||38||2nd Half|
|Florida||51||1st Half 1:56|
|Louisiana||27||1st Half 0:05|
|Oral Roberts||28||2nd Half|
|North Texas||17||1st Half 10:29|
|(11) Colorado||8:00 PM|
|San Diego||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|