Frantic finish lifts Northwestern past Minnesota in OT

Chicago
By Chicago 3 Min Read

Ben Bryant threw a 25-yard touchdown to Charlie Mangieri in overtime, Bryce Kirtz set a career high with 215 yards receiving and caught two TDs, and Northwestern rallied from 21 down to beat Minnesota 37-34 on Saturday night in Evanston.

Bryant found Mangieri in the left side of the end zone for the winning score on the first play after Minnesota’s Dragan Kesich kicked a 20-yard field goal. Fans in the student section poured onto the field, celebrating a rare win for a program that has also been engulfed in a hazing and abuse scandal.

A.J. Henning caught a tying touchdown in the closing seconds of regulation. The Wildcats overcame another dazzling performance by Minnesota’s Darius Taylor, who ran for 198 yards and two scores, and pulled out the win after they looked like they were headed toward a lopsided loss.

Northwestern (2-2, 1-1 Big Ten) scored two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter to pull within seven. The Wildcats tied it in the closing seconds of regulation when Henning caught an 11-yard TD from Bryant, and came away with their second win in three games after losing 12 in a row.

Bryant threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns after struggling through the first three games. The Cincinnati transfer completed 33 of 49 passes.

Kirtz caught 10 passes, including an 80-yard TD. Cam Porter ran for a score, and the Wildcats bounced back from a loss at Duke. They also won their second straight game at Ryan Field — something they hadn’t done since 2021 — after beating UTEP two weeks ago.

Taylor was at it again for Minnesota (2-2, 1-1) after capturing back-to-back Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

He scored from the 1 early in the second quarter and set up a field goal near the end of the half with a 41-yard run. He wasn’t finished, breaking off a 43-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-1 late in the third to bump the lead to 31-10.

Athan Kaliakmanis threw for 191 yards and two scores. But after losing at North Carolina last week, the Gophers let this one slip away.

THE TAKEAWAY

Minnesota: Taylor continues to emerge as one of the nation’s most electrifying players. But this one is sure to sting for the Gophers.

Northwestern: Bryant looked like a different quarterback in this one and helped lead the Wildcats to a win that seemed out of reach.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: The Gophers host Louisiana next Saturday, with a home game against No. 2 Michigan the following week looming. 

Northwestern: The schedule doesn’t get any easier, with No. 7 Penn State visiting next Saturday.

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