Northwestern Wildcats wide receiver Christian Jones is tackled by Golden Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen and linebacker Aaron Hill. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
EVANSTON, Ill. - Head coach Jerry Kill watched from a coach's box as Minnesota turned two second half turnovers into scores en route to a 20-17 Big Ten victory over Northwestern Saturday.
The Gophers (5-2, 1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak as James Manuel broke a 7-7 tie with a 24-yard third quarter interception return and Chris Hawthorne turned another Wildcat turnover into a 34-yard field goal in the fourth.
Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) dropped its third straight.
Manuel picked off Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian with 1:22 for the go-ahead score. The Gophers made it 17-7 just 87 seconds later on Hawthorne's field goal after recovering a Wildcat fumble.
Hawthorne's 38-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining made it 20-10. Northwestern cut the deficit to 20-17 on a 10-yard touchdown strike from Siemian to Tony Jones with 2:07 remaining.
Kill, who is on indefinite leave after a series of epileptic seizures, was driven to Evanston by his wife on Saturday morning. Kill spoke to the team at halftime, but did not coach his team during the game.
The Gophers are one win shy of becoming bowl eligible. They are home next week against Nebraska. They also have road games against Indiana and Michigan State and home games against Penn State and Wisconsin.
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