EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- With the Sun Bowl on the line, Minnesota (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) needed someone who was cool under pressure.
Who better than Winston Churchill?
Englishman Rhys Lloyd kicked a 42-yard field goal with 23
seconds left to give Minnesota a 31-30 win over Oregon in the Sun
Bowl on Wednesday.
Oregon took a 30-28 lead on a 47-yard field goal by Jared Siegel with 4:16 left before the Golden Gophers (10-3) drove 55 yards on their ensuing possession to set up the winner by Lloyd, nicknamed after the legendary English prime minister.
"I didn't know if it was going to go through. We all just stood there and went crazy when the ref signaled it was good," said
Minnesota receiver Aaron Hosack, who caught six passes for 107
yards. "Oregon's defense is one of the toughest we faced all
The Ducks (8-5) had one last chance to score but Kellen Clemens, who finished with 363 yards passing, was intercepted by Minnesota's Justin Isom with 10 seconds left.
"We came down the field and Lloyd, aka Winston Churchill, is a cool customer," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "He has done this before against Wisconsin, so I had every confidence in him."
Lloyd, who is from Dover, England, knew he might be called on
for a pressure kick in the final minutes.
"I think it got tipped, but it still went through and that's
all that counts," Lloyd said. "I never get nervous for some
reason. I'm kind of a laid-back person. I just clear my mind and
kick the ball."
The Oregon player who tipped the ball was defensive tackle
"I tipped that field goal with my forearm," Siavaii said. "I
almost blocked it. I feel like I let my team down."
Laurence Maroney carried 15 times for 135 yards and a touchdown
for Minnesota, which was beaten 24-20 by Oregon in the 1999 Sun
Bowl. Thomas Tapeh added three touchdowns rushing for the Golden
Minnesota entered with the nation's third-best running offense,
averaging 293.2 yards a game. The Gophers outrushed the Ducks
Gophers quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq was 12-for-21 passing for
172 yards. Clemens completed 32 of 43 passes for three touchdowns
and one interception.
"That was a whale of a football game and I figured it would go
down to the team that had the ball last," Oregon coach Mike
Bellotti said. "I'm very proud of Clemens. He played very well
today, but can play better. He is the kind of young man that can
make a difference on a team."
Samie Parker, selected the game's MVP, led the Oregon receivers
with 16 catches for 200 yards -- both Sun Bowl records -- and two
"It's tough right now. I can't do anything about it. But I
guess it will set in later," Parker said. "I can't really rejoice
in what I did if my team loses the game."
The game was scoreless after the first quarter, but the teams
combined for 31 points in the second. It was the most points scored
in a quarter in Sun Bowl history.
Clemens opened the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dante
Rosario less than a minute in. Clemens also connected with Parker
on an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Tapeh had two touchdown runs of 1 yard for Minnesota in the
second and a 6-yard run in third quarter. The third-quarter score
gave Minnesota its first lead of the game at 21-17 with 8:28 left
in the quarter.
Siegel hit field goals from 30 and 32 yards for Oregon.