Turnovers, missed opportunities doom Gophers against Spartans


Nov 30, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Jeremy Langford (33) is tacked by Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen (21) during the 1st quarter a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers wrapped up their regular season schedule in East Lansing on Saturday with their second straight loss, losing to No. 11 Michigan State, 14-3. It was also the second straight game that the Gophers had committed three turnovers.

Two interceptions thrown by Philip Nelson and a fumble in the red zone late in the fourth quarter by Mitch Leidner kept Minnesota from scoring an offensive touchdown in their second consecutive game. The last time the Gophers scored a touchdown on offense was more than three weeks ago in a win over Penn State, which extends the streak of quarters without an offensive touchdown to 10.

Minnesota’s offense managed to muster 243 yards against Michigan State’s top ranked defense, including more than 116 yards on the ground. Tailback David Cobb recorded 97 yards on 27 attempts on a defense that had been giving up less than 70 yards on the ground per game. But the effort by Cobb failed to translate into points.

A missed field goal from 38-yards out in the third quarter held the Gophers to just three points — the lowest point total of the season. In the last two games, Minnesota have scored only 10 points.

In addition the two interceptions, Nelson had another poor outing, completing 6-of-18 passes for 77 yards and seven yards rushing on four attempts. The sophomore left in the fourth quarter after what was said to be a concussion. Redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner replaced him and went 3-of-7 for 48 yards, but the fumble with under three minutes to play allowed the Spartans to run the clock out.

While the Spartans will play Ohio State next Saturday for the Big Ten Championship, the Gophers will wait to hear which bowl game they’ll play in.

Follow Gold and Gopher on Twitter

Follow Frank Bi on Twitter

Like Gold and Gopher on Facebook