(Saturday, August 30th)
Final Score: Minnesota 31, Northern Illinois 27
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Duane Bennett scored on a one-yard run with 22 seconds remaining, lifting the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a thrilling 31-27 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies in non-conference play at the Metrodome.
Bennett finished the game with 92 yards and two scores on 18 carries, as Minnesota (1-0) improved to 87-32-6 all-time in season-openers. Adam Weber completed 24-of-37 tosses for 298 yards and two scores in the game, while Eric Decker pulled down 10 balls for 89 yards and a touchdown.
For NIU (0-1), Chandler Harnish had a big game, throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-29 pass attempts. Nathan Palmer was on the receiving end of both touchdown passes and he finished with three catches for 170 yards.
The Gophers posted the only points of the first quarter, as Weber threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Decker with just over six minutes left in the frame.
NIU countered less than five minutes into the second quarter and tied the score behind a Justin Anderson two-yard touchdown run.
The teams traded 40-yard field goals late in the frame and headed to the break knotted at 10-10.
Minnesota jumped out to a 17-10 lead early in the third quarter, as Weber threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jack Simmons.
Just under three minutes later, Mike Salerno hit on a 49-yard field goal for the Huskies.
The Gophers responded immediately with a 61-yard touchdown run by Bennett.
NIU, however, refused to go away and countered quickly with a 91-yard touchdown pass from Harnish to Palmer.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Harnish and Palmer combined for a 52-yard scoring strike, giving the Huskies a 27-24 advantage.
Minnesota refused to give in and capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive with a Bennett one-yard touchdown plunge with 22 seconds left.
08/30 23:30:58 ET