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EVANSTON, Ill. – Ailing head coach Jerry Kill watched from a private box as Minnesota turned two second half turnovers into scores en route to a 20-17 Big Ten victory over Northwestern Saturday.
The Gophers (5-2, 1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak as James Manuel broke a 7-7 tie with a 24-yard third quarter interception return and Chris Hawthorne turned another Wildcat turnover into a 34-yard field goal in the fourth.
Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) dropped its third straight.
Kill, on indefinite leave after a series of epileptic seizures, watched as Manuel picked off Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian with 1:22 for the go-ahead score. The Gophers made it 17-7 just 87 seconds later on Hawthorne's field goal after recovering a Wildcat fumble.
Hawthorne's 38-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining made it 20-10. Northwestern cut the deficit to 20-17 on a 10-yard touchdown strike from Siemian to Tony Jones with 2:07 remaining.