Bowling Green 14, Gophers 10
The recap: Riding high after a 30-point win and shutout of Colorado in Boulder, the Gophers crashed back to earth with a shocking loss to Bowling Green, which was a 31-point underdog and only last week had ended a 10-game losing streak by beating FCS-level Murray State.
The Gophers offense and special teams played particularly poorly, with quarterback Tanner Morgan passing for only 59 yards and committing three turnovers. A pair of special-teams penalties extended a fourth-quarter drive by the Falcons, and Minnesota couldn't revisit the end zone after taking a 10-7 lead on its first possession of the second half.
"I'm not sure what football team was out there," Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said.
1. Linebackers lead defense
Linebackers Mariano Sori-Marin and Jack Gibbens sparked a Gophers defense that held Bowling Green to 192 total yards and stopped the Falcons 12 times in 14 third-down situations. Sori-Marin had a team-high eight tackles, a pass breakup and intercepted a pass that led to a first-quarter field goal by the Gophers. Gibbens finished second on the team with six tackles.
"I thought we had a good week of work, we've just got to show up and do it on Saturdays," Gibbens said. "It doesn't matter how well you prepared. … We've got to be better moving forward."
2. Little for the receivers
The Gophers completed only five passes, so their receiving depth didn't have much of a chance to stand out. Tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford led the team with two receptions for 23 yards, including a 21-yard catch-and-run. Daniel Jackson (25 yards), Chris Autman-Bell (9) and running back Trey Potts (2) each had one catch. Autman-Bell played in only the opening series because of a lower-leg injury.
3. Kramer in the Wildcat
Quarterback Cole Kramer, who is behind Morgan and Zach Annexstad in the Gophers' pecking order, was one of the Gophers' few bright spots on offense. The redshirt sophomore from Eden Prairie had two rushes out of the Wildcat formation. His first carry went 12 yards for Minnesota's only touchdown, which gave the Gophers a 10-7 lead four minutes into the third quarter. Kramer's second rush went for 3 yards on third-and-2 from the Minnesota 29 in the fourth quarter.
Up next: Purdue
11 a.m. Saturday, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind. TV: BTN
The skinny: The Boilermakers (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) edged Illinois 13-9 on Saturday in West Lafayette as backup quarterback Aidan O'Connell passed for 89 yards on a 94-yard fourth-quarter drive to beat the Illini. O'Connell's 14-yard TD pass to T.J. Sheffield with 5:44 left provided the winning points. Purdue's defense didn't give up a touchdown for the second time in four games this season.
The Boilermakers played without wide receiver David Bell (concussion) and running backs King Doerue (undisclosed) and Zander Horvath (broken leg), along with four defensive starters.