Gophers 30, Nebraska 23
The recap: The Gophers followed up their win at Purdue before the bye week with their third consecutive victory over the Cornhuskers. Led by Tanner Morgan's hot hand and Chris Autman-Bell's big game, Minnesota (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) stormed to a 21-9 halftime lead. Morgan completed 14 of his 15 first-half passes, and Autman-Bell had nine catches for 100 yards before intermission, including a jaw-dropping grab in the corner of the end zone in the second quarter.
The second half, however, became a tense game after Morgan threw two interceptions, one that Nebraska cashed in for a TD that trimmed the Gophers' lead to 21-16. Minnesota's defense stepped up, getting a goal-line stand, a safety on a sack and another fourth-down stop. Bryce Williams' 56-yard TD run in the fourth quarter put the Gophers up 30-16.
1. Living in the 22 percent
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck subscribes to the 78-percent theory regarding football games: If a team wins the turnover margin and wins the explosive play battle, it wins 78 percent of the time. On Saturday, the Gophers lost the turnover battle 2-0 and gave up nine plays of 20 yards or more to the Cornhuskers while having only three gains of 20 or more. Yet, Minnesota still won the game.
"Today, we lived in the 22-percent world and got away with it,'' Fleck said. "We can do it, but you don't want to live there all the time.''
2. Morgan's record run
Morgan completed a school-record 16 consecutive passes, stretching from the first quarter to the first drive of the third. Fleck saw a quarterback who was amped up a bit more than usual. "He's worked really hard in the two weeks to prepare of this,'' Fleck said. "One, self-scouting himself. Being very real with himself. I don't think we understand how hard that is.''
3. Nebraska goes 0-for-3
After Nebraska cut the Gophers lead to 21-16 in the third quarter, it drove deep into Minnesota territory three more times with the chance to take the lead. Instead, a Gophers goal-line stand, a missed 27-yard field-goal attempt by Connor Culp and batted-down passes on third and fourth downs ended the Huskers' threats. "We had every opportunity to be in control of the game after the third quarter,'' coach Scott Frost said. "… We've got to get those balls in the end zone when we get them down there.''
Up next: Maryland
2:30 p.m. Saturday, Huntington Bank Stadium, ESPN2, 100.3-FM
The skinny: The Terrapins (4-2, 1-2n) were idle on Saturday after absorbing back-to-back losses to Iowa and Ohio State by a combined 117-31. Maryland's issues in those games were turnovers, with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa throwing three interceptions against the Hawkeyes and two against the Buckeyes.
Tagovailoa, however, is a dangerous athlete, and his 296 passing yards per game rank second in the Big Ten. The Gophers know just how effective the Alabama transfer can be after seeing Tagovailoa torch them for 396 passing yards and three TDs, plus two rushing TDs, in Maryland's 45-44 overtime win in College Park last year.
The Terps have been a thorn in Fleck's side, winning three of the four meetings in the past four years.