Gophers 27, Ohio 24
The recap: Trailing 24-20 with 2 minutes, 22 seconds left, the Gophers drove 78 yards for a touchdown. Ohio returned the ensuing kickoff to Minnesota’s 43-yard line and lined up a 53-yard field goal. But kicker Josiah Yazdani was flagged for delay of game. Ohio tried a Hail Mary, but the Gophers swatted the ball away.
What was learned: After a 10-7 win over Kent State, the Gophers looked considerably better on offense — against a better team. But with mounting injuries, the Gophers weren’t quite as potent defensively, and several fumbles on special teams almost cost them the game.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
• There was an extra incompletion for Mitch Leidner in the official stats after the game, so he was actually 22-for-31 for 264 yards. His completion percentage for the season is 58.7, which ranks ninth among Big Ten quarterbacks.
• With linebacker Cody Poock out because of a rib injury, the Gophers relied heavily on Jonathan Celestin, who led the team with eight tackles, including a tackle for loss. Celestin is a linebacker, but he actually played some nickel back, with injuries ravaging the secondary.
• Chris Streveler hasn’t played quarterback since the Colorado State game, but he got time on the punt return unit and lined up at wide receiver against Ohio.
• Walk-on tight end Nick Hart has three catches this season and all have come on crucial late-game drives. He had a 14-yard catch at Colorado State and added two receptions for 13 yards on the game-winning drive against Ohio.
• The Gophers have sold out all three home dates, including Saturday’s announced homecoming attendance of 53,917.
UP NEXT: No. 16 Northwestern
11 a.m. Saturday, Ryan Field
TV: Big Ten Network. Radio: 100.3-FM
Records: Gophers 3-1, Northwestern 4-0
The skinny: After back-to-back 5-7 seasons, Pat Fitzgerald’s team rode a dominant defense to wins over Stanford, Eastern Illinois, Duke and Ball State. Northwestern climbed one spot to No. 16 in the AP poll on Sunday. The 16-6 win over Stanford looks particularly impressive, as the Cardinal won its next three games — including a shootout against USC — to rise to No. 18. After losing 19-10 at home to Northwestern two weeks ago, Duke bounced back with a win Saturday over then-No. 20 Georgia Tech. Northwestern sophomore Justin Jackson ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing, with 129 yards per game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson has been good in spurts, but he has just a 53.2 completion percentage with four touchdowns and three interceptions.