Minnesota became the third 5-7 team to win its bowl game with a 21-14 win over Central Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. With more bowls than slots available this season, a handful of teams just under .500 made the cut. The Gophers join Nebraska, who topped UCLA, 37-29, in the Foster Farms Bowl, and San Jose State, who beat Georgia State, 27-16, in the Cure Bowl.
Mitch Leidner completed 24 of 30 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown as the Golden Gophers picked up their first bowl victory since 2004 under newly minted head coach Tracy Claeys. Leider sprinted 13 yards for the game-winning touchdown on a zone-read play with 4:24 to go in the fourth quarter, capping a 13-play, 74-yard drive.
The Chippewas responded with a six-play drive into Minnesota territory, but Cooper Rush was intercepted under pressure, allowing the Gophers to run out the final two minutes.
CMU gave a game effort with Romello Ross, a freshman from Detroit, rushing for 100 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown that gave the Chippewas the lead early in the fourth quarter. The loss drops CMU to 7-6 on the season under first-year head coach John Bonamego.