LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Tommy Armstrong Jr. led a 91-yard tiebreaking touchdown drive after being helped off the field with an ankle injury the previous series, and Kieron Williams' interception with 1:29 left secured No. 21 Nebraska's 24-17 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.
Armstrong, knocked unconscious in last week's loss at Ohio State, was cleared to start against the Gophers and was playing one of his best games in weeks when he injured his left ankle on a quarterback sneak late in the third quarter.
He came back to loud cheers on the Cornhuskers' early in the fourth and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 13-yard run with 7:17 left. He stumbled into the end zone, came up hobbling with a hamstring injury and was carried to the sideline by two offensive linemen.
"You all know Tommy. You've seen him for years," Nebraska coach Mike Riley said. "He is very, very competitive and he doesn't ever like to come out of the game. He always thinks he's going to make the next play."
Williams' intercepted Mitch Leidner's tipped pass after the Gophers had driven to the Nebraska 17, and backup quarterback Ryker Fyfe took the final snaps as the Huskers (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) won for the first time in three games and a week after getting humiliated 62-3 at Ohio State.
Minnesota (7-3, 4-3) had its four-game win streak ended.
Armstrong was 19 for 27 for 217 yards with two touchdowns, and he ran nine times for 61 yards. Terrell Newby had 75 of his 85 yards in the second half.
Leidner completed 18 of 27 passes for 180 yards.
Nebraska's defense allowed a season-low 265 total yards, with Aaron Williams and Josh Banderas making 11 tackles apiece.
The Huskers trailed at halftime for a fourth straight game. Newby tied it 17-all in the third quarter, taking a screen pass from Armstrong 31 yards to the end zone.
"You go the road and you have a chance," Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said. "But we didn't play well enough in the second half to win the ball game; Nebraska played better than we did."
Minnesota: The Gophers lost control of their destiny in the Big Ten West. They might regret some of their play-calling against the Huskers. Other than a few occasions Rodney Smith broke some good runs, it was mostly futile for them to try to run up the middle.
Nebraska: If anyone doubted Armstrong's toughness, he proved his mettle. He also showed he is the most important player on this team. If he goes down, the Huskers are in deep trouble.
Minnesota hosts Northwestern, which shut out the Gophers 27-0 last year.
Nebraska hosts Maryland in the first meeting of the teams.
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