Scores

Final

South Dakota St 13

(7-3, 6-1 MVFC)

Minnesota 16

(6-5, 3-4 Big Ten)

Coverage: BTN

12:00 PM ET, November 14, 2009

TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
SDSU 0 10 0 313
MINN 6 7 0 316

Top Performers

Passing: T. O'Brien (SDSU) - 183 YDS, 2 INT

Rushing: K. Minett (SDSU) - 19 CAR, 79 YDS

Receiving: G. Fox (SDSU) - 5 REC, 95 YDS

Ellestad's FG lifts Minnesota past S. Dakota St.

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Eric Ellestad's 25-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining gave Minnesota the lead, and the struggling Gophers hung on for an ugly 16-13 victory over lower-division South Dakota State on Saturday.

Minnesota (6-5) settled for a pair of short kicks by Ellestad in the first quarter after driving to the 3- and 8-yard line, respectively. Adam Weber went 10 for 21 for 94 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Derek Domino.

D.L. Wilhite jogged in for a 3-yard touchdown after a fumble forced by blitzing cornerback Michael Carter, the only time the Gophers reached the end zone.

Early misfires by freshman quarterback Thomas O'Brien were too much for the Jackrabbits (7-3) to overcome in just their second game against a Football Bowl Subdivision foe since moving to the Football Championship Subdivision level in 2004.

Peter Reifenrath missed a 25-yard attempt in the third quarter, one of several lost opportunities on a frustrating afternoon for SDSU.

The Jackrabbits, ranked 12th in the latest FCS poll, need to win at Western Illinois next week and hope for an at-large invitation to the playoffs out of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Despite two interceptions and the lost fumble in the first half by O'Brien, who got the start over senior Ryan Crawford, SDSU led 10-6 early in the second quarter, forced the Gophers to punt eight times, and nearly duplicated what conference rival North Dakota State did in 2007 with a 27-21 win over Minnesota at the Metrodome.

After a breakout game in a thrilling 42-34 win over Michigan State two weeks ago, Weber and the Minnesota offense have reverted to their season-long woes. Ranked 106th out of 120 FBS teams in total yards entering the game, the Gophers are missing injured wide receiver Eric Decker badly and not giving Weber any time to throw.

The junior quarterback can't shake the blame, though. For the second straight week, Weber produced the dreaded pick six. Trying to avoid a sack early in the second quarter, Weber rolled to his right, then made a dangerous throw across the field. Domino, one of 10 Jackrabbits players who grew up in Minnesota, jumped in front of the pass and returned it 22 yards for an easy touchdown.

O'Brien was sharper after halftime and finished 15 for 39 for 183 yards.

The Gophers played their final home game of the season at sparkling TCF Bank Stadium, proving again that new buildings don't make teams better. They became bowl eligible with this win, but continue to be stuck in mediocrity under coach Tim Brewster in his third season.

One fan was spotted in the crowd with a sign, "Got Dungy?," a snarky suggestion that athletics director Joel Maturi should fire Brewster and try to hire the Super Bowl-winning former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who played for the Gophers in the 1970s.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SDSU
MINN
1st Downs1216
Total Yards229231
Passing18394
Rushing46137
Penalties5-347-46
3rd Down Conversions3-163-16
4th Down Conversions1-20-0
Turnovers42
Possession25:5234:08

Passing Leaders

South Dakota StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
O'Brien15/391834.702
MinnesotaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Weber10/21944.501

Rushing Leaders

South Dakota StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Minett19794.2015
Duffy362.004
MinnesotaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Whaley16563.5015
Gray6477.8015

Receiving Leaders

South Dakota StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Fox59519.0051
Montague33010.0013
MinnesotaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Tow-Arnett4399.8016
Stoudermire Jr.23015.0018

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSDSUMINN
FG06:26Eric Ellestad 23 Yd 03
FG03:43Eric Ellestad 26 Yd 06
SECOND QUARTERSDSUMINN
FG14:20Peter Reifenrath 20 Yd 36
TD13:25Derek Domino 22 Yd Interception Return (Peter Reifenrath Kick) 106
TD09:04D.L. Wilhite 3 Yd Fumble Return (Eric Ellestad Kick) 1013
FOURTH QUARTERSDSUMINN
FG08:27Peter Reifenrath 34 Yd 1313
FG02:22Eric Ellestad 25 Yd 1316