Nebraska vs. Minnesota 2013 final score: Gophers hold off Huskers, 34-23

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers are feeling pretty good about themselves, while the heat gets turned up another notch on Bo Pelini and the Huskers.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are bowl eligible after defeating the 24th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers at home, 34-23. And one Nebraska legend has seen enough of the Bo Pelini era.

The Huskers got off to a fast start, with Imani Cross punching in a touchdown from two yards out less than three minutes into the game. They went up 10-0 a few minutes later, and it kind of felt like the rout would be on. However, it didn't work out that way, and the Gophers got on the board with a Mitch Leidner touchdown run at the end of the first quarter.

The Gophers, who were led once again by Tracy Claeys while head coach Jerry Kill is on leave due to seizures, took control in the second quarter, almost immediately after former starter Philip Nelson took over for the largely-ineffective Leidner. Nelson hit Derek Engel for a 33 yard touchdown pass to take the lead at 14-10, and then they stretched that lead to 17-10 with three minutes left. Nebraska was able to pull to within four points right before halftime, but they looked to be on shaky ground.

Minnesota's offense kept things moving in the third, as Nelson picked up a rushing touchdown and Chris Hawthrorne hit a 45 yard field goal to push their lead to 27-13. Nebraska wasn't finished, however. The offense, which had been sloppy for much of the day (due in large part to the efforts of the indomitable Ra'Shede Hageman and the Gopher front seven), finally found its footing, and Taylor Martinez's three-yard pass to Sam Cotton brought the Huskers back within one score at the end of the third quarter.

Nebraska had a chance to tie the game shortly thereafter, but instead opted for a 37-yard field goal to make it 27-23. Bo Pelini had to like his team's chances, as the defense had gotten several stops in a row against the Minnesota offense, but it didn't work out that way. Minnesota got the ball well inside Nebraska territory after a shanked punt with 4:32 remaining. The Gophers ran the ball down Nebraska's throat on the ensuing drive, eating almost all of the remaining clock before Philip Nelson scored his second rushing touchdown to secure the win.

With the loss, the questions about Bo Pelini's future in Lincoln will get even louder. Minnesota has proven that they're a good team, but this is the kind of game that Pelini can't lose, especially with the fanbase already restless.

Box Score Hero:

Philip Nelson changed the game for the Gopher offense. He didn't put up huge numbers, but he threw for 152 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 55 yards and two scores.

Rankings Ramifications:

The Huskers came into the game ranked 24th in the BCS standings, and will drop out of the rankings with the loss. Minnesota probably won't be ranked at 6-2, but they're getting closer.

But Did They Cover?

Nebraska came into the game as a 10-point favorite, so they did not cover the spread.

For More On This Game:

For more on the Huskers, check out Corn Nation.

For more on Minnesota, head over to The Daily Gopher.

Next Week's Schedule:

Nebraska: 11/2, vs. Northwestern

Minnesota: 11/2, @ Indiana

More from SB Nation college football:

Week 9 college football TV schedule: What to watch

• Big games: Can ‘Cocks stop Mizzou? | Ducks to trample UCLA

Each BCS title contender’s chances of finishing perfect

The Grove is closed: Spencer Hall on fear and victory at Ole Miss

Alabama, FSU top Oregon in year’s first BCS rankings

Daily college football news headlines

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