Washingto State 12, Minnesota 17

Minnesota held vaunted Washington State quarterback Luke Falk to under 200 passing yards until well into the fourth quarter, and kept him without a passing touchdown until the game’s final minute.

Key stats

  • Minnesota finished with nine wins for the first time since going 10-3 in 2003.
  • The win marked Minnesota’s second straight bowl win; the Golden Gophers won the Quick Lane Bowl last season.
  • Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner was just 2-of-9 for 26 yards in the first half; he rebounded to go 9-of-11 for 123 yards with a touchdown after the break.
  • Washington State rushed 23 times for just 39 yards (1.7 average).
  • Minnesota held a Washington State offense that was averaging 40.3 points per game coming into Tuesday’s game to a season-low 12 points.
  • Cougars junior wide receiver Robert Lewis set season-highs with six catches and 86 yards.
  • Minnesota safety Duke McGhee was ejected for targeting in the final minute; it was his third targeting call of the season and the team’s FBS-most eighth.
  • The Golden Gophers evened the all-time series at three games apiece with the win.
  • Minnesota beat Washington State for the first time since 1982 at the Metrodome.
  • The Cougars fell to 1-2 in Holiday Bowls with the loss.

Player of the game

  • Golden Gophers running back Rodney Smith scored the clinching touchdown with 2:06 left, and finished with 17 carries, 74 yards and a touchdown. Smith’s touchdown gave Minnesota a 17-6 lead.

Key play

  • With 3:05 left, Falk’s pass was intercepted by Adekunle Ayinde, who returned it for a touchdown. After a review, Ayinde was ruled out of bounds at the Washington State 30-yard line. The interception set up Smith’s game-clinching touchdown.