Wheelwright's greatest day can't save Gophers

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 13, 2007 - 7:08 PM

EVANSTON, ILL. - His performance will get overshadowed by the second-half collapse, but senior wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright had the best game of his career Saturday in a 49-48 double-overtime loss to Northwestern at Ryan Field.

Wheelwright finished with seven catches for 116 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, including a highlight-reel TD catch at the end of the first half and another difficult reception in the first overtime.

"That's what we expect out of Ernie," freshman quarterback Adam Weber said. "We need him to make plays like that. He's a big, tall receiver. Just throw the ball up to him and let him go make plays. He did that today."

Wheelwright's first touchdown catch might have been the best of his career. Weber's pass into the end zone looked as if it was overthrown, but Wheelwright went horizontal and hauled in a 26-yard touchdown with two seconds left in the first half.

"To me, it was a great throw," Wheelwright said. "He threw it where the defender couldn't get it and only I could get it. I just stretched out and caught it."

Wheelwright showed good concentration on his 21-yard touchdown catch in overtime. The defender was called for pass interference on the play, but Wheelwright held on to the ball and kept his feet inbounds.

Learning on the fly

Junior Deon Hightower played his first game at middle linebacker in place of Mike Sherels, who was sidelined because of a hamstring injury. Hightower tied his career high with 10 tackles, including two for loss. He also forced a fumble.

"It's an adjustment because you're the one making the calls," Hightower said. "It's not somebody else making the calls. That's definitely tougher. But I think I handled it."

Back-to-back success

Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher followed his 520-yard passing performance against Michigan State last week by throwing for 470 yards Saturday.

His 990 passing yards in consecutive games ranks second in Big Ten history. Purdue's Drew Brees passed for 1,016 yards combined against the Gophers and Wisconsin in consecutive games in 1998.

All banged up

Injuries are starting to become an issue for the Gophers. Sherels, true freshman tailback Duane Bennett (ankle) and senior cornerback Desi Steib (leg) did not play.

Senior tailback Amir Pinnix, who already is battling a turf toe injury, pulled a quad on a 37-yard run on the first play of the second half.

Defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg, who already has a broken hand, did not start and played sparingly because of a shoulder injury. VanDeSteeg, who had started 18 consecutive games, was replaced by Derrick Onwuachi.

Safety Duran Cooley was on crutches after the game after getting injured while covering a kickoff.

"We're beat up," Gophers coach Tim Brewster said. " But one guy's misfortune is another guy's opportunity. Guys have to step up and play."

  • related content

  • Big risk, but no reward

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    A failed two-point gamble told the nuts-and-bolts story on the scoreboard, but not lost on Gophers players was a blown 21-point lead.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close