Minnesota beats Indiana 42-39 for 3rd straight win

Linebacker Aaron Hill recovered a fumble by Indiana’s Tevin

Coleman with 25 seconds remaining and surging Minnesota held on to

beat the Hoosiers 42-39 on Saturday.

Minnesota (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) led 35-13 midway through the third

quarter before the Hoosiers stormed back for a 39-35 lead on Nate

Sudfeld’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Cody Latimer with 5:33

remaining. But Philip Nelson found Maxx Williams open down the

middle for a 50-yard scoring pass on Minnesota’s ensuing

possession.

Indiana (3-5, 1-3) then drove to the Gophers’ 9-yard line before

Sudfeld threw a lateral on second-and-goal that Coleman juggled.

Hill scooped up the bouncing football to secure Minnesota’s third

straight victory under acting coach Tracy Claeys.

The Hoosiers lost their third straight despite gaining 227 yards

on the ground. Coach Kevin Wilson dropped briefly to one knee in

despair as officials signaled the change of possession in the final

seconds.

Nelson went 16 of 23 for 298 yards and four touchdowns. David

Cobb rushed 29 times for 188 yards and a score for Minnesota.

Coleman ran 14 times for 108 yards and a touchdown for Indiana

before his fateful mistake.

Following a Minnesota timeout, Sudfeld lined up in a shotgun

formation with Coleman to his right. Coleman floated into the right

flat as Sudfeld threw a quick swing pass that traveled backward.

Coleman did not attempt to fall on the loose football, while Hill

alertly gathered the carom and saved a game that appeared ready to

go to overtime or end with an Indiana victory.

The Hoosiers were down 35-13 after Cobb exploded for a 27-yard

touchdown run with 6:24 left in the third quarter. But touchdowns

on four straight possessions, combined with three consecutive

defensive stops, allowed Indiana to improbably take a late lead in

a contest critical to its hopes of reaching the postseason for the

first time since 2007.

Indiana safety Greg Heban made a lunging tackle at the feet of

Jalen Myrick, who came two yards shy of converting a fake punt on

fourth-and-5 with 8:45 to play. That set up the heroics of Sudfeld

and Latimer, whose touchdown put the Hoosiers in front for the

first time since they led 13-7.

A string of 28 unanswered Minnesota points ended when Sudfeld

connected with Wynn on a 40-yard touchdown with 5:13 remaining in

the third quarter. Indiana’s resulting furious comeback fell one

score short.

One play after Stephen Houston used superb blocking to pick up

21 yards on third-and-10, he powered in from the 4-yard line to

give Indiana a chance to tie. Minnesota’s defense stopped Sudfeld’s

scramble on the 2-point conversion attempt to maintain a 35-33

lead.

A read-option pitch from Tre Roberson to Coleman resulted in a

55-yard touchdown run down the right sideline on the first snap of

the fourth quarter. Coleman broke a last-ditch tackle attempt

around the 7-yard line and drew Indiana within 35-27.

With coach Jerry Kill on leave to treat his epilepsy and

watching from the coaching box, Cobb became the first Gopher to

rush for 100 yards in three straight games since Amir Pinnix in

2006.

Minnesota outgained the Hoosiers 301-162 in the first half and

led 28-13 at the break.

Nelson lofted a 10-yard pass to Derrick Engel for a 7-0 lead on

the game’s opening drive. The first play was a flea flicker that

gained 40 yards. Cobb pitched back to Nelson, who found Engel wide

open on a deep post route.

Roberson threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kofi Hughes to give

the Hoosiers a 10-7 lead following a turnover. Donnell Kirkwood

fumbled at the end of an 11-yard run when hit by Indiana’s Mark

Murphy. Heban recovered for the Hoosiers.

The game was delayed for eight minutes early in the second

quarter after Minnesota center Jon Christenson sustained a left leg

injury. About 30 teammates left the sideline to wish Christenson

well before he was carted off on a stretcher.