MINNEAPOLIS | Add Minnesota to NIU's Big 10 victims.
Senior running back Chad Spann ran for 223 of NIU's 297 rushing yards as the Huskies (2-2) took down their second Big 10 opponent for the second straight season, which is the program's third victory over the conference all-time.
On NIU's second possession of the game, Spann cut to the right side for a 56-yard gain, where he would later finish off what he started with a three-yard run into the end zone.
NIU's offensive line didn't falter against Minnesota's (1-3) beastly defensive line as they helped pave the way for Spann's big night on the ground.
"We gave [Chad Spann] holes initially but he played awesome tonight and I am really happy for him," Center Scott Wedige said.
Special teams would also play a major role throughout the game.
Midway through the second quarter, Minnesota's Ryan Collado returned a Josh Wilber kick-off 57 yards setting up the Gopher offense at the NIU 35 yard line.
Adam Weber would then capitalize on the Huskies' mistake. The senior quarterback would find Da'Jorn McKnight in the middle of the field for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10-10.
NIU kicker Mike Cklamovski's had a solid night, booting a pair of field goals from 21 and 35 yards out.
Freshman Jimmie Ward also came up big, blocking a Dan Oreske punt which would set the Huskies up in Minnesota territory at the 10 yard line.
"He can make plays on special teams," NIU head coach Jerry Kill said.
Three plays later, NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish would connect with Martel Moore in the back of the end zone and NIU would take the lead going into the half, 20-13.
Minnesota's defense neutralized NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish on the ground, where the quarterback found success the last two weeks against North Dakota and Illinois.
Harnish would instead make the Golden Gopher's pay through the air but went for scores through the air.
One minute into the fourth quarter, the redshirt junior quarterback found senior fullback Connor Flahive for a two yard dump pass, the first of his career, to give the Huskies a 27-16 lead.
Minnesota's game plan to milk the clock with a run heavy play calling worked efficiently but not enough to fulfill the results they desired.
NIU's defense would hold the Golden Gophers' offense to three field goals instead of potential touchdowns.
Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster was dissatisfied with his team's lack of putting it into the end zone but felt that an opposing player had the deciding influence in the outcome of the game.
"We had to kick field goals and that was disappointing," Brewster said. "But I think the main issue was that we didn't stop the run. We didn't stop [Chad] Spann."