Gophers-Illinois replay

  • Updated: November 11, 2012 - 10:26 PM

GOPHERS 17, ILLINOIS 3

The recap: The Gophers rode a stingy defense and an effective running game to bowl eligibility by winning their fourth consecutive visit to Illinois.

What was learned: Injuries and inexperience are wracking the Gophers offense, but Minnesota clearly is improving as the season wears on.

YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

• Donnell Kirkwood's 152 rushing yards gave him 819 on the season, the first Gophers running back to surpass 700 yards since Amir Pinnix rushed for 1,272 in 2006.

• Kirkwood's big day, plus 55 yards from Rodrick Williams, powered the Gophers to a 231-yard effort on the ground. The Gophers are 4-0 this year when they rush for more than 200 yards.

• Only six Gophers caught a pass, and only two (Brandon Green and Isaac Fruechte) caught more than one, both season lows.

• The Gophers recovered two Illinois fumbles, their first fumble recoveries in six Big Ten games. For the season, Minnesota is minus-1 in turnover margin.

UP NEXT: AT NO. 16 NEBRASKA

2:30 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

TV: BTN. Radio: 100.3-FM

Records: Gophers 6-4, 2-4 Big Ten; Nebraska 8-2, 5-1

The skinny: The Cornhuskers can clinch a share of the Legends Division title with a victory, and a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin with a win and a Michigan loss to Iowa. History is on their side: Minnesota's last victory over Nebraska was in 1960, 15 losses ago, and the Gophers haven't beaten a ranked team on the road since 2000. Behind quarterback Taylor Martinez, the Huskers lead the Big Ten in total offense.

PHIL MILLER

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