Gophers get a surprise from Kill, and a win at Northwestern

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 20, 2013 - 12:05 AM

The Gophers, seeking an extra edge after a halftime tie, got it when Jerry Kill surprised them with a pep talk.

 – The game started at 11 a.m., which means Jerry and Rebecca Kill must have left their Minneapolis home before 4 a.m. to make the seven-hour drive to Northwestern.

Gophers acting head coach Tracy Claeys said he didn’t know Kill, who is on indefinite leave to treat his epilepsy, was coming Saturday until an hour before the game.

Players didn’t know he was coming until halftime, when he walked into the middle of the Gophers locker room and gave a quick speech.

“That gave us the little edge we needed,” Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson said.

Tied at halftime after an ugly 30 minutes for both teams, the Gophers went on to reward Kill with the biggest victory in his three-year tenure at Minnesota, defeating Northwestern 20-17 before an announced crowd of 36,587 at Ryan Field.

Claeys said there is still no timetable for Kill’s return to work, but this was viewed as a sign he is making good progress.

“I was asked if he would watch the game [on television] if he wasn’t there; I couldn’t answer it,” Claeys said. “So that’s your answer: He jumps in a car and gets his wife to drive him. But it also shows you, those kids mean a lot to him, they really do.”

Kill watched the game from a press box coaching booth, though team officials said he wasn’t giving instructions. He left without commenting to reporters. Team officials said he didn’t want his appearance to overshadow what his players did on the field.

The Gophers (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten) came in as 12½-point underdogs but moved one victory from becoming bowl-eligible.

Three weeks ago, Northwestern was ranked No. 17 and held a fourth-quarter lead against No. 4 Ohio State. But with quarterback Kain Colter and running back Venric Mark both out because of ankle injuries Saturday, the Wildcats (4-3, 0-3) didn’t look like the same team.

The Gophers held Northwestern to 94 yards rushing and intercepted Trevor Siemian twice, while breaking their own two-game losing streak.

“I don’t know how to compare it to other wins,” Gophers receiver Derrick Engel said.

“Illinois last year was big because that got us to a bowl game. If you can go on the road in the Big Ten and beat a team like Northwestern that was ranked [17th] just two weeks ago, that’s big for our confidence.”

Mitch Leidner got the start at quarterback for the Gophers, but after four first-quarter punts they turned to Nelson. The sophomore immediately guided them on a 72-yard drive, capped with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Engel.

But the Gophers missed a chance to take a lead heading into halftime, when Chris Hawthorne missed a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

The second half brought more frustration, as the Gophers had a 30-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass from Nelson to Isaac Fruechte wiped out because of a questionable pass interference call on Drew Wolitarsky.

But moments later, Gophers linebacker James Manuel intercepted Siemian and ran 24 yards for an easy touchdown, giving the Gophers a 14-7 lead.

“I said, ‘Make sure I catch it,’  ” Manuel said.

  • related content

  • Video: James Manuel talks postgame

    Saturday October 19, 2013

    James Manuel, who had a pick-six in Saturday's victory, talks after the big win.

  • BOXSCORE: Gophers 20, Northwestern 17

    Saturday October 19, 2013

  • Hartman: Claeys' faith in Gophers players is rewarded with victory

    Sunday October 20, 2013

    Tracy Claeys was one person convinced that the Gophers would upset the Wildcats, who had to play without two of their offensive stars in quarterback Kain Colter and running back...

  • Souhan: Gophers defensive standouts have plenty to discuss after picks

    Sunday October 20, 2013

    James Manuel and Ra’Shede Hageman are roommates, and each caught an interception at Northwestern on Saturday.

  • Gophers-Northwestern game recap

    Saturday October 19, 2013

    Offensive mvpPhilip Nelson, GophersThe sophomore quarterback replaced Mitch Leidner and completed eight of 11 passes for 112 yards with a...

  • Gophers likely to keep rotating Leidner, Nelson

    Saturday October 19, 2013

    In beating Northwestern, neither Mitch Leidner nor Philip Nelson was much better.

  • Gophers notes: Claeys does his job from downstairs

    Saturday October 19, 2013

    EVANSTON, ILL. – It had been several years since Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys coached a game from the sideline.But...

  • Minnesota Gophers vs. Northwestern Wildcats football. Minnesota won 20-17. Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson (9) accepted congratulations from Minnesota fans at the end of the game. . (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

  • Linebacker James Manuel headed for the end zone and a go-ahead Gophers TD after his interception in the third quarter. Safety Brock Vereen (21) followed him.

  • Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson looked to throw during the first half Saturday against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close