Mistakes Plague Gophers in Loss

MINNEAPOLIS — Despite beating the Northwestern Wildcats in total yards, time of possession and first downs, the Gophers were unable to overcome a bevy of crucial mistakes, falling on homecoming by a score of 21-13.

The mistakes started early for the Gophers as Lamonte Edwards fumbled The Opening kickoff, giving the ball to the Wildcats deep in Minnesota territory. On the first play from scrimmage, Venric Mark ran untouched for a 26-yard score, putting the Gophers in an early 7-0 hole that they wouldn't be able to dig out of. Minnesota went on to turn the ball over two more times in the game, giving the Wildcats great field position on multiple occasions.

"We were never able to overcome those two turnovers (in the first half) because they scored on both of them," said Jerry Kill.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald also recognized the importance of his team earning turnovers.

"To have the turnover battle won the way we did, 3-0, to win a game on the road, to win the turnover battle, that is critically important for us to be successful," he said.

Even when the Gophers were able to establish positive offensive plays in the second half, inconsistency plagued Minnesota, stalling out a number of drives.

"The last couple weeks we have been moving the ball, just not consistently," said Max Shortell. "We will miss a throw or miss a block…We cannot miss plays that will give us touchdowns."

The Minnesota offense wasn't the only group making mental errors. The Gophers' defense allowed Venric Mark to have touchdown runs of 26 and 48 yards, as well as a 47-yard run that led to another Northwestern score. These lapses proved costly for Minnesota's defense improved, holding Northwestern to just 77 yards and zero points in the second half.

"We just need to keep working and eliminate the mistakes we are making," said Keanon Cooper. "We had a good game plan. It comes down to a couple of plays, and unfortunately they did not go in our favor."

Kill felt that the Gophers' mistakes were the difference between a win and a loss against the Wildcats.

"I have said all along, we have no margin for error," he stated. "You put it all in perspective but when you play this game and you have teams that are similar, the team that makes [fewer] mistakes at the end of the day wins."

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