Dragan Kesich nailed a 47-yard field goal as time expired, giving Minnesota a 13-10 comeback victory over Nebraska on Thursday night in a Big Ten Conference game in Minneapolis.
The contest was season opener for both teams.
The winning kick was set up by a Tyler Nubin interception game, and he returned the ball to the Minnesota 49-yard line with 58 seconds remaining. That came less than two minutes after the Golden Gophers’ Daniel Jackson dragged a toe to haul in a 13-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-10 with 2:32 left, tying the game at 10.
The loss spoiled the debut of Nebraska coach Matt Rhule, who got a quick indoctrination to the Cornhuskers’ penchant for losing one-score games under previous coach Scott Frost.
Kesich was 2 of 3 on the night, hitting from 34 yards early in the second quarter and missing from 54 yards out later in the period.
Nebraska took a 7-3 lead less than a minute into the second half. After Rahmir Johnson returned a kickoff 63 yards, Jeff Sims threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Alex Bullock. The score came on a botched trick play that saw Sims drop a throwback pass from Anthony Grant, recover and then find Bullock alone in the end zone.
Sims, a transfer from Georgia Tech, finished 11 of 19 for 114 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, including one in the end zone just before halftime. He also ran for 91 yards on 19 carries, so he accounted for 205 of Nebraska’s 295 yards.
Jackson had nine catches for 68 yards and the TD, while Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis threw for 196 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 24-of-44 passing. Minnesota, which was second in the Big Ten in rushing last season at more than 207 yards per game, was limited to 55 yards on the ground.
Nebraska plays a second consecutive road game to open the season, visiting former Big 12 rival Colorado on Sept. 9. Minnesota hosts Eastern Michigan on Sept. 9.
—Field Level Media