Northern Illinois at Minnesota

N. Illinois 34, Minnesota 23


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Chad Spann ran for a career-high 223 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Northern Illinois past Minnesota 34-23 Saturday night.

Chandler Harnish threw touchdown passes to Martel Moore and Connor Flahive for the Huskies (2-2).

Adam Weber threw for a season-high 373 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota (1-3), which lost its third straight at home. The inconsistent Gophers hung with No. 20 USC for three quarters last week before losing 32-21, and lost 41-38 to South Dakota, an FCS team, two weeks ago.

Harnish and Flahive connected for a 2-yard score on fourth down early in the fourth quarter for a 27-16 Huskies lead.

Spann, whose previous high was 174 yards against Eastern Michigan last year, scored on a 61-yard run with 6:22 to play, to clear out much of the crowd at TCF Bank Stadium. He had 106 rushing yards in the first half.

Harnish's first touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Moore with 3 seconds left in the first half, gave Northern Illinois a 20-13 lead.

Duane Bennett had 74 rushing yards for Minnesota. He had 299 yards in the Gophers' first two games, but a sore ankle limited him to just six carries and 8 yards last week. Bennett's 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was negated by a holding penalty.

He was stuffed on a fourth-down play at the Northern Illinois 21 to end the same drive. Spann made the game-clinching rumble up the middle three plays later.

Weber found MarQueis Gray for a 29-yard touchdown for Minnesota with 4:18 to play, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.

Both teams were looking for momentum heading into next week's conference openers - Minnesota at home to Northwestern in the Big 10 and Northern Illinois at Akron in the Mid-American.

Minnesota may not be favored in any of its eight Big Ten games - including five with ranked teams - making it difficult to avoid a third losing season in coach Tim Brewster's four years. There were at least three "Fire Brewster" chants during the game.

It was the second straight strong performance against a Big Ten team for the Huskies, who lost 28-22 at Illinois last week, and are favored by many to win the MAC West Division.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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Scoring Summary
MNEric Ellestad 28 yd FG
NILChad Spann 3 yd run (Michael Cklamovski kick)
NILMichael Cklamovski 21 yd FG
MNDa'Jon McKnight 20 yd pass from Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad kick)
MNEric Ellestad 42 yd FG
NILMichael Cklamovski 35 yd FG
NILMartel Moore 10 yd pass from Chandler Harnish (Michael Cklamovski kick)
MNEric Ellestad 21 yd FG
NILConnor Flahive 2 yd pass from Chandler Harnish (Michael Cklamovski kick)
NILChad Spann 61 yd run (Michael Cklamovski kick)
MNMarQueis Gray 29 yd pass from Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad kick)
Team Stats
First Downs1223
Third Down Efficiency5-118-18
Fourth Down Efficiency0-01-3
Plays-Net Yards45-37878-470
Passing Yds81373
Kick Return Yds75123
Punt Return Yds186
Time of Poss.23:1736:43
Individual Stats
NIL: Chad Spann 15-223, Cameron Bell 3-36, Ricky Crider 2-33, Chandler Harnish 6-7, Nathan Palmer 1--1, Team 1--1
MN: Duane Bennett 24-74, Donnell Kirkwood 5-17, Jon Hoese 2-3, DeLeon Eskridge 1-3
NIL: Chandler Harnish 11-17-81-0
MN: Adam Weber 31-46-373-1
NIL: Martel Moore 3-24, Willie Clark 2-18, Chad Spann 2-0, Landon Cox 1-19, Kyle Skarb 1-16, Connor Flahive 1-2, Nathan Palmer 1-2
MN: MarQueis Gray 8-117, Eric Lair 7-94, Da'Jon McKnight 7-72, Bryant Allen 3-37, Duane Bennett 3-28, Jon Hoese 1-12, DeLeon Eskridge 1-8, Collin McGarry 1-5

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