Minnesota claims lead in sloppy game

Minnesota has new life, thanks in large part to Northwestern.

After coming out very shaky, the Gophers have rallied to take a 21-14 lead at halftime, handing Northwestern its first deficit of the season.

Both teams have made a lot of mistakes, but Tim Brewster's squad has avoided the really big ones and looked very good on offense in the second quarter. DeLeon Eskridge and Duane Bennett both are running the ball well, and coordinator Jeff Horton has called an exceptional game with several trick plays.

Northwestern appeared to be on its way to a blowout as the offense easily moved the ball downfield against the Gophers. But two turnovers, the second in the red zone, led to Minnesota points and completely changed the complexion of the game. First-half penalties have really hurt Pat Fitzgerald's crew for the second straight week, as the Wildcats have been flagged seven times. Fitzgerald's teams typically are among the nation's most disciplined, but not this year.

The Wildcats have been a second-half team this year, while Minnesota's troubles have typically come after halftime.

This one should go down to the wire.