MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Philip Nelson rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another, guiding Minnesota to a 34-23 upset Saturday of 25th-ranked Nebraska, the first win by the Gophers since 1960 against the Cornhuskers.
Nelson made all of his seven completions count, totaling 152 yards, and carried the ball eight times for 55 yards. He spun across the goal line from the 1 with 48 seconds left to seal the victory for the Gophers (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten), who became bowl-game eligible and stopped a 16-game losing streak to the Huskers.
Taylor Martinez returned from a toe injury that kept him out of the last three games for the Huskers (5-2, 2-1), but he had only 16 yards rushing on eight attempts and 139 yards on 16-for-30 passing, plus one touchdown and one interception.
David Cobb gained 138 yards on 31 rushes for the Gophers, who outgained the Huskers 271-189 on the ground.
Ameer Abdullah had 165 yards on 19 carries for Nebraska.
Nelson relieved Mitch Leidner on the fourth series, continuing the quarterback rotation for Minnesota, and delivered one of the best performances of his two seasons here. He helped the Gophers improve to 12-0 when leading at halftime since coach Jerry Kill took over in 2011.
Kill watched from above in the box with his assistants, still on leave from his regular responsibilities while he's managing his epilepsy. This was the third straight game he wasn't in charge, with defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys taking over on the sideline. Video of Kill addressing the players in the locker room a few minutes before the game was shown live on the giant scoreboard behind the west end zone.
The Gophers credited Kill's surprise appearance and impromptu halftime pep talk last week for spurring them to a victory at Northwestern, and they played with plenty of fire in this one, sensing the opening for their first win over one of the conference's powerhouse programs sine Kill was hired.