Saturday, Oct. 28 12:10pm ET
Anderson leads 'Cats with 230 rushing yards


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Northwestern not only practices the desperation pass that would beat Minnesota 41-35 on the final play Saturday. The Wildcats (No. 23 AP) complete most of them.

When Sam Simmons caught the 45-yard pass that was batted to him by a teammate, the Wildcats were less amazed than anyone who watched them pull it off.

"We hit that thing in practice more than anywhere I've ever been," Wildcats coach Randy Walker said. "I'll bet you we hit it 80 percent of the time. I'll bet we've hit it five of the last six weeks in practice."

The Wildcats (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to remain in Rose Bowl contention and become eligible for their first bowl game since 1996. The Gophers (5-4, 3-3) lost a second-half lead for the second week in a row.

"You feel like your guts have been ripped out," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "We got beat in the fourth quarter. That's the bottom line."

Damien Anderson, the nation's fourth-leading rusher, became the first back in Northwestern history to run for more than 200 yards three times in a season. He gained 230 yards and scored two touchdowns on 34 carries.

The Wildcats converted on five fourth-down plays to rally from a 35-14 deficit, including the winning touchdown pass. They scored touchdowns on four of the conversions and set up a TD on the other.

"Someone who invented this game gave us four downs," Walker said, "so you might as well use them."

The Wildcats scored their third touchdown on a fourth-down play when quarterback Zak Kustok ran for 3 yards to make it 35-28 with 12:35 remaining. Kustok completed an 18-yard touchdown reception to Simmons on fourth down in the third quarter, and Anderson ran for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down in the second quarter.

Facing fourth-and-2 on the game's final play, Kustok threw deep to the right corner of the end zone, where Kunle Patrick tipped the ball to an open Simmons. Just like in practice. The play is appropriately named "victory right."

"We practice that every week," Kustok said. "Not just like that, but pretty close."

Kustok also completed a 34-yard pass to Patrick on fourth-and-12, setting up the tying touchdown, a 12-yard run by Kustok with 1:24 remaining.

"That was a great play," Walker said. "Better than a great play."

Special teams contributed to Minnesota's first three touchdowns.

Tellis Redmon broke two school punt-return records, including an 83-yard touchdown return in the first quarter, despite being held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in five games. He gained 63 yards on 23 carries. His 83-yard touchdown punt return in the first quarter broke Bill Crockett's school-record 80-yard return against Nebraska in 1964.

Redmon also broke the Gophers' single-game record by returning five punts for 132 yards. Tyrone Carter set the previous single-game punt-return record last season with 110 yards against Louisiana-Monroe.

The Gophers' Preston Gruening, the nation's leading punter, completed a 45-yard touchdown pass from punt formation to Elvin Jones in the second quarter, though the snap to Gruening was low and the throw to Jones was nearly too long.

Later in the second quarter, a 41-yard punt return by Redmon along the right sideline set up a 32-yard touchdown reception by Ron Johnson to give the Gophers a 21-7 lead.

Minnesota backup quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq participated in four plays in the first half, all of them option runs. He gained 31 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown run. Abdul-Khaliq also ran for a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

The Wildcats led 7-0 following an interception by Harold Blackmon, which set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Anderson, and were in position to score again when Teddy Johnson lost a fumble at the Minnesota 6 following a 23-yard reception.

Northwestern's second touchdown, a 1-yard run by Anderson, was set up by a 93-yard kickoff return by Johnson.

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 Sam Simmons catches the tipped Zak Kustok pass in the end zone to give Northwestern the win over Minnesota.
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