One disappointment led to an even greater celebration for Minnesota cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
Boddy-Calhoun dropped what was an almost certain interception in the first half, but the junior more than made up for it when he stole the ball from Nebraska's De'Mornay Pierson-El at the Minnesota 2-yard line to preserve the Gopher's 28-24 victory against Nebraska.
"Whenever I make a mistake, I try to make up for it. I carried that as motivation throughout the game," Boddy-Calhoun said. "Dropping that interception, I held on to that until the ball was snapped for the next play. But I knew I had to regroup and get myself back together.
"In Little League, my coach told me the play isn't over until the ref blows the whistle. I'm always chasing the ball and I am always going to fight for the ball until the ref blows his whistle."
Then Donnell Kirkwood, who came on when David Cobb suffered a hamstring injury on an earlier touchdown run, ran twice for a first down to seal the win.
Minnesota set the tone for the second half when the defense got a pair of sacks and forced the Huskers to punt. Four plays later, Cobb's 17-yard touchdown run trimmed NU's lead to 21-14.
After Nebraska got a field goal, the Gophers drove to the Husker 19, where they faced fourth-and-1 and took a timeout.
"You're on the road, in Lincoln, Nebraska. You roll the dice a little bit," Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said. "We had to have two scores. We felt we needed momentum and had a good call. Sometimes when you're on the road, you have to go get the win.
"He (QB Mitch Leidner) said, 'Coach, give me the ball. I'll get the first down.' I said no, we're going to call this one, big boy."
Leidner, who led Minnesota with 111 yards rushing and 135 yards through the air, said the decision was perfect.
"At first, I wanted it, and then when we came to the side, Coach Kill made a good point," he said. "When I came back to the huddle, I told the guys, 'I don't want a first down here. I want a touchdown.' That's luckily what happened. I had a feeling our O-line was going to get a good push on them."
Rodrick Williams took the handoff and ran 19 yards untouched for a score, pulling the Gophers to 24-21.
Minnesota's game-winning drive was kept alive by Leidner's 38-yard strike to KJ Maye on a third-down play.
"We ran a stutter route and KJ got behind him (NU defensive back Daniel Davie). You have to have receivers make great plays in critical moments, and KJ made a great play," Kill said. "That was a big swing in the game."