1. Darius Taylor's big day marred by late injury
Gophers true freshman running back Darius Taylor made a big impact in Saturday's game by rushing 31 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns, but he suffered an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter. With the Gophers facing third-and-2 from the Northwestern 36-yard line, Taylor was dropped for a 1-yard loss and did not return for overtime. "Hopefully, it's nothing serious, but we'll see,'' Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said after the game. "We'll find out here very shortly. But again, next man up if that's what it gets to.'' Fleck will address the media Monday during his weekly news conference.
2. Sean Tyler didn't play
Senior running back Bryce Williams returned from a two-game absence because of injury, and he was Taylor's backup, carrying five times for 16 yards. Sean Tyler, the team's second-leading rusher, did not play. Tyler had fumbling issues in the Eastern Michigan game and rushed only three times for 2 yards at North Carolina.
3. Missed opportunity in overtime
The Gophers got off to a strong start in overtime as Athan Kaliakmanis connected with Corey Crooms Jr. for a 15-yard gain to the Northwestern 10 and Bryce Williams followed with a 7-yard run to the three. But Williams got 1-yard on second down, setting up third-and-goal from the 2. Kaliakmanis got a pass off while under pressure, but tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford couldn't haul it in near the goal line. Kaliakmanis blamed himself for not throwing a more catchable ball, but Fleck said, "It was catch radius. I thought it was a really good ball.'' The Gophers settled for Dragan Kesich's 20-yard field goal for a 34-31 lead, but Northwestern ended the game with a touchdown on its first overtime play.
4. Untimely mistake on special teams
Quentin Redding made a strong play on punt coverage when he caught Mark Crawford's first-quarter punt at Northwestern's 5-yard line, giving the Wildcats a poor field position. However, he couldn't repeat the feat late in the fourth quarter. When the Gophers punted following the third-down stop of Taylor, Redding was in position to down Crawford's punt inside the 5 but instead drifted into the end zone and fielded the ball, resulting in a touchback. "He's really good at what he does,'' Fleck said of Redding. "He just happened to lose track of where he was, unfortunately.''
5. Big game for Striggow
Lost in the fact that the Gophers struggled on defense in the second half was defensive end Danny Striggow's big game. The redshirt junior from Long Lake made a team-high 10 tackles, including six solo, and added a sack, a second tackle for loss and a forced fumble. He felt he should have played better. "I'm going to be my own worst critic,'' Striggow said. "I didn't come out and play four quarters of football today.''