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Minnesota football vs. Northwestern: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Golden Gophers battle Wildcats

The Minnesota Golden Gophers congratulate teammate Ko Kieft #42 on completing a two-point conversion against the Fresno State Bulldogs during the fourth quarter of the game on September 8, 2018 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 21-14. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

EVANSTON, Ill. – No. 11 Minnesota looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it visits Northwestern on Saturday. The Golden Gophers raced out to their first 9-0 start since 1905 before dropping a 23-19 decision to 20th-ranked Iowa in the battle for the Floyd of Rosedale, but they still hold a one-game lead at the top of the Big Ten West Division standing. The Golden Gophers can take another step towards securing a spot in the conference championship game by knocking off the WIldcats for the first time in three years.

TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Minnesota -13

"This is not the end of the world because everything we want and everything we wrote down is still right in front of us," Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck told reporters. "It does not take away from the nine things we've done … it just makes us not undefeated anymore." Northwestern went out of conference to end a seven-game skid as it toppled Massachusetts 45-6 in Week 12. The Wildcats were outscored 198-63 during their losing streak before setting a season high in points against the overmatched Minutemen, and the defending Big Ten West Division champions have been reduced to the role of spoiler, as they hope to register back-to-back victories for the first time this year. "It's pretty obvious that some of our guys did not do the things they needed to do to prepare for the season," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told reporters. "That has manifested itself pretty quickly as the production, or lack thereof, is a statement to preparation."

ABOUT MINNESOTA (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten)

Tanner Morgan completed 25-of-36 passes for 368 yards and a touchdown before suffering a suspected concussion late in the fourth quarter of the loss to Iowa, and is questionable for Saturday’s clash. Tyler Johnson hauled in a game-high nine passes for 170 yards and a touchdown while Rashod Bateman, who was recently named one of the semi-finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the top wide receiver in the nation, added six catches for 98 yards against the Hawkeyes. If Morgan doesn’t clear the concussion protocol then Fleck would be forced to choose between freshmen quarterbacks Cole Kramer and Jacob Clark, who have three combined pass attempts this season.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (2-8, 0-7)

Aidan Smith was limited to 76 yards on 7-of-13 passing with a pair of interceptions against the nation’s worst-ranked pass defense while Andrew Marty and Jason Whittaker also played, but neither quarterback attempted a pass. Evan Hull was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after he racked up 220 yards and four touchdowns against UMass in his first start to become the first Wildcat running back in 24 years to surpass 200 yards and four scores. Quarterback Hunter Johnson and wide receiver Kyle McGowan are both questionable after missing last Saturday’s game with unspecified injuries.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Morgan leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game (247).

2. Northwestern is averaging a conference-low 14.5 points per contest.

3. Bateman needs 55 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the season.

PREDICTION: Minnesota 31, Northwestern 17