Published Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm / Updated at 11:00 pm
FOOTBALL
Quarter by quarter: Minnesota 34, Nebraska 23

Sam McKewon and Jon Nyatawa break down the key plays in the Nebraska-Minnesota game, one quarter at a time.

* * *

FIRST QUARTER

Taylor Martinez: The NU quarterback returns to the lineup, firing a 13-yard pass to Alonzo Moore on his first play since suffering a turf toe injury on his left foot.

Ameer Abdullah: On third-and-14, the NU running back catches an option pitch from Martinez and weaves through traffic for a 16-yard gain and a key first down.

Martinez: On the following play, he fakes to Abdullah, sidesteps a rush and delivers a 42-yard pass to Kenny Bell at the Minnesota 2-yard line. It's a deep pass the Huskers struggled to complete without Martinez. Imani Cross scores a touchdown on the next play.

Randy Gregory: The NU defensive end picks up a sack of Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner. The Gophers punt.

Jamal Turner: The NU receiver picks up 14 yards on another quick screen pass.

Thieren Cockran: The UM defensive end comes free on third down, crunching Martinez and forcing a fumble. Husker guard Mike Moudy recovers it. NU kicker Pat Smith makes a 45-yard field goal.

David Cobb: The Gophers' back will have a featured role on the TD drive, carrying the ball on eight of the 13 plays. He gains three first downs.

Matt Limegrover: Minnesota's offensive coordinator designs a strong drive, full of motions and shifts, to confuse NU's linebackers. The TD is a 1-yard sneak by Leidner, but it features two offensive linemen shifting out of the backfield, NU's line shifting accordingly and Leidner slipping into the open space.

SECOND QUARTER

Martinez: Rifles a pass too hard and too high to Quincy Enunwa, who would have had a first down. NU must punt.

Isaac Freuchte: On third down, the Minnesota receiver drops a good pass from Leidner that would have been a big gain. The Gophers punt.

Ameer Abdullah: On NU's ensuing drive, he goes down injured after a toss play. He's helped off the field by trainers.

Ra'Shede Hageman: The massive Minnesota defensive tackle prolongs a Husker drive by pulling Martinez's face mask during a sack. After the 15-yard penalty, he pancakes right guard Mike Moudy and sacks Martinez. This time, no flag. The Huskers punt after Tim Beck calls passes on five out of six plays.

Cobb: Bolts for 15 yards to get the Gophers out of their own end. Two 20-yard plays then land UM at the Husker 33.

Philip Nelson: In relief of Leidner, the QB throws a strike to receiver Derrick Engel, a 33-yard touchdown on fourth-and-10 to give the Gophers a 14-10 lead.

Abdullah: Returns to the game and busts off a 10-yard run, only to fumble at the end of it. Safety Cedric Thompson recovers at the Husker 47.

Nelson: Runs 23 yards on a zone-read play to get Minnesota in field-goal territory. Kicker Chris Hawthorne nails it.

Abdullah: Gains 20 yards on two option plays to start NU's final drive of the half.

Hageman: Picks up his second face mask penalty. He's dominating Nebraska's line — but giving the Huskers yards, too.

Martinez: The final minute of the half is a total fire drill, full of hurried screens, bad reads and clock management confusion. But Martinez throws a good enough pass for Kenny Bell to catch in the end zone, and Bell drops it. Smith hits a 42-yard field goal. UM leads 17-13 at halftime.

THIRD QUARTER

Enunwa: After the Huskers force a punt, he drops a Martinez pass on third down. It's not a great pass, but it's a catch Enunwa usually makes.

Gabe Miller: The NU freshman commits a face mask penalty on the punt return, setting up Minnesota at the NU 38.

Nelson: Throws a 21-yard pass to Gopher tight end Drew Goodger and follows it up with a 14-yard bootleg scramble to the Husker 3. NU is on skates. On third-and-goal, he motions from the receiver position back to quarterback and sneaks it in for a TD. Minnesota leads 24-13.

Tim Beck: Nebraska's offensive coordinator calls three straight passes. The result: two incompletions, a 3-yard gain and a punt.

Nelson: Hits Goodger for 16 yards on a throwback pass on third down.

Cobb: Rips off 18 yards on third-and-3 to get Minnesota in field-goal range. Hawthorne nails a 45-yarder.

Martinez: So he can run! He rips off a 35-yard zone read to put Nebraska at the Minnesota 26-yard line.

Abdullah: On third-and-7, he catches an option pitch from Martinez and weaves 16 yards for a first down. Martinez throws a 3-yard TD pass to Sam Cotton.

Goodger: Sneaks behind linebacker David Santos to catch a 31-yard pass.

FOURTH QUARTER

Abdullah: He makes it look easy, bouncing to the outside and gaining 22 yards.

Enunwa: Martinez buys just enough time to find Enunwa, who hauls in the third-down throw, bounces off a tackle attempt and rumbles forward for 32 yards.

Abdullah: He sprints to the edge and finds plenty of room. A Minnesota defender closes in, but Abdullah leaps over him to cap a 22-yard run. NU's drive stalls, and Smith kicks a 37-yard field goal.

Martez Shabazz and Theiren Cockran: Martinez tries to run a quarterback draw and the Gophers are all over it. Shabazz, a blitzer on the play, teams with Cockran for the third-down sack.

Maxx Williams: The Gophers are in drain-clock mode, but on second-and-12, they go to the air. The fullback hauls in a 20-yard pass on the play-action call.

Nelson: He sneaks in from 1-yard out with 48 seconds left. Game over.

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon

sam.mckewon@owh.com    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.

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