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Gophers lose a heart-breaker to #15 Michigan

Gophers lose on a last second stunner to the #15 Michigan Wolverines at home 29-26.

MINNEAPOLIS - An emotional week for the Golden Gophers didn't get any easier Saturday night after the Gophers lose on a last second stunner to #15 Michigan at home, 29-26. Minnesota had the ball left with 19 seconds left on the clock, 1st and goal on the half yard line and ran the clock down to two seconds left after an incomplete pass on a very interesting play call. Minnesota then went for the win on a quarterback sneak and didn't get it, giving the Wolverines the Little Brown Jug. 

"We had the play called and thought we could get it off," Gophers interim head coach Tracy Claeys said in his press conference following the game. "All the motions in that took a little bit longer than what we thought they would. So we thought maybe we could get another play, but hey, if we get it there and it's not there, we'll throw it away and come back at the half yard line and sneak it in...we have to able to get a half yard there."

Minnesota got just want they wanted in waning moments of the game. 

"I knew that they were going to review the play and the guys in the box said they could mark that thing short, "Tracy Claeys explained following the game. "That's why we got the offense back out there. We knew the play had one shift and a motion and didn't think it would take quite that long. The whole thing was that if the throw wasn't there we could come back and run one more play, so we got what we wanted."

After such a long week for the Gopher players, it was a hell of an effort at home against #15 Michigan. 

"I'm just awfully proud of their effort," Claeys told the media. "With what we found out Wednesday morning, to prepare and get ready for a good Michigan football team, they did a great job. The played with a lot of passion and I'm extremely proud of them for getting ready to play."

News and Notes

  • Tonight’s game was Minnesota’s seventh in its past 12 games in which its opponent was ranked among the Associated Press Top 25. 
  • Minnesota’s rushing total of 144 yards is the most allowed by Michigan this season. The Wolverines entered tonight’s game ranked second nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 64.7 yards per game.
  • Quarterback Mitch Leidner has completed 42-of-73 pass attempts for 618 yards and two touchdowns. The back-to-back 300-yard passing totals (301 vs Nebraska, 317 vs Michigan) have been career-bests.
  • Leidner became the first Minnesota quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in consecutive games since Cory Sauter in 1995 (303 vs Northwestern, 404 vs Michigan State).
  • Leidner’s 24-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest of his career. Leidner now has 21 career rushing touchdowns covering 91 yards, and his longest scoring run had previously been 10 yards.
  • Rashad Still caught his first career touchdown, a 52-yard pass from Mitch Leidner, in the second quarter. The pass play was Minnesota’s longest this season. Still finished with two catches for 69 yards, with the yardage total being a single-game high.
  • Brandon Lingen finished with career-highs of five catches for 111 yards, including a career-long reception of 38 yards.
  • Ryan Santoso established career-highs for points by kicking (14) and field goals made in a game (four). His previous bests had been 12 points at Michigan on Sept. 27, 2014, and three field goals made (twice), last at Colorado State on Sept. 12. Santoso’s field goals were from 23, 30, 32 and 47 yards.
  • De’Vondre Campbell led the Gophers with a career-high 13 tackles (five solo), including one tackle for loss.
  • Briean Boddy-Calhoun recorded his fourth career interception and his first this season. It’s his first INT since picking off a pass at TCU on Sept. 13, 2014.
  • Cody Poock tied his career-high with 10 tackles (four solo), including one TFL.
  • Eric Murray recorded his first career sack late in the first half. On the play, he forced his team-leading third fumble this season, and recovered the ball, which led to Minnesota’s field goal to end the first half. Murray finished with six tackles (five solo). 

By the numbers

461 - Yards of total offense for Minnesota

317 - Passing yards from quarterback Mitch Leidner

19.8 - yards per completion for Leidner on the evening

6.8 - yards per play for Minnesota

165 - number of yards Minnesota outgained Michigan by

6 - tackles for loss by the Gopher defenders

What's next

Gophers have to move on quickly from this tough loss as they now face #1 Ohio State on the road in prime-time at 7:00 PM CST. 

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