Minnesota, Louisiana try to brush off last week’s shaky endings

minnesota,-louisiana-try-to-brush-off-last-week’s-shaky-endings

Louisiana and Minnesota both saw big leads shrink in the fourth quarter last week.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-1), who were able to hold on for a victory, and the Golden Gophers (2-2), who fell in overtime, will meet in a nonconference game on Saturday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota had a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter last week at Northwestern yet wound up losing 37-34 in OT.

Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck called the finish “a catastrophic 15 minutes.”

“We weren’t able to make enough plays on the offense, defense or special teams, and it cost us,” Fleck said. “It’s 100 percent on my shoulders. I’m the head football coach. Everything runs through me.”

Adding injury to insult was the fact that freshman running back Darius Taylor, who had 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern, was lost to an undisclosed injury late in the game. Fleck said he wouldn’t announce the status of Taylor, who has averaged 176.3 rushing yards over the past three games, for Saturday until “two hours before game time.”

Minnesota will try to shake off the effects of last week’s missed opportunity and avoid looking ahead to next week’s home game against No. 2 Michigan as it plays a Louisiana team that led visiting Buffalo 45-24 midway through the fourth quarter last week.

The Cajuns allowed back-to-back touchdowns that trimmed the gap to seven points with two minutes remaining. After a three-and-out by the Louisiana offense, Tyree Skipper made an interception that sealed the victory with 17 seconds left.

Redshirt freshman Zeon Chriss, making his first career start in place of injured Ben Wooldridge, completed 22 of 29 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions.

“I didn’t even want him to throw it that many times, to be honest with you,” Louisiana coach Michael Desormeaux said. “I didn’t want him to have to feel like he’s got to do it all.”

Chriss, who appears to be the starter for the foreseeable future, added 70 yards and two touchdowns on 11 rushes.

–Field Level Media

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