MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Quarterback Matt McDonald ran for a pair of scores, and two late interceptions by the Bowling Green defense sealed the win as the Falcons shocked heavily-favored Minnesota, 14-10, on homecoming Saturday.
The loss snapped Minnesota’s streak of 21 straight non-conference wins, the longest streak in the country entering Saturday’s game. The Gophers’ last non-conference loss was Sept. 3, 2015 against TCU.
It also marked Minnesota’s first loss to a non-Power 5 conference opponent since losing to North Dakota State on Sept. 24, 2011.
Bowling Green came to Minneapolis as 31-point underdogs but used a strong defensive effort to slow down the Golden Gopher offense. Minnesota’s fans booed their team at numerous points in the game, while Falcons players jumped on the field in celebration after the upset was complete.
The Gophers had the ball with a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter after Bowling Green failed to fall on a muffed punt by Minnesota’s Trey Potts. But one play after recovering the fumble, quarterback Tanner Morgan lofted a deep interception into the hands of Devin Taylor with 2:13 remaining. Morgan threw another pick with 17 seconds remaining.
The Gophers’ passing game struggled all day against the Falcons. Morgan was just 5-of-13 for 59 yards.
McDonald scored on runs of one and three yards. He was 19-of-35 for 170 yards through the air.
Minnesota’s lone touchdown came on a 19-yard scramble by backup quarterback Cole Kramer.
Bowling Green: This was a huge boost for a Bowling Green team that had lost two of its first three games. Few people gave the Falcons a chance in this one, especially after an impressive 30-0 win for Minnesota last weekend against Colorado. But the Falcons never trailed by more than three and took advantage of the Gophers’ mistakes. The ground game remains an issue — just 22 rushing yards for Bowling Green — but the defense held its own against Minnesota.
Minnesota: There were miscues galore for the Gophers in Saturday’s loss. Minnesota was stuffed on a 4th-and-1 attempt that led to a Bowling Green touchdown. Morgan lost a fumble after an 18-yard run. A roughing the kicker penalty on a Bowling Green punt in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons new life. Those types of mistakes can’t happen in a game where Minnesota was favored by more than 30 points.
Bowling Green: The Falcons take on Kent State on the road on Oct. 2.
Minnesota: The Gophers head on the road to face Purdue on Oct. 2.
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