It wasn’t easy, but the Golden Gophers opened the 2012 football season with a 30-27 win over UNLV in triple overtime in Las Vegas. Jordan Wettstein kicked a 32-yard field goal for the win. The triple overtime thriller gave Minnesota it’s first road win with Jerry Kill as head coach.
Junior college transfer James Gillum scored the Gophers’ first touchdown of the season on a 16-yard run in the second quarter. It gave the Gophers a 7-3 lead into halftime. The Runnin’ Rebels scored late in the third quarter to take a 10-7 lead, but Minnesota responded with two Jordan Wettstein field goals in the fourth for a 13-10 lead.
UNLV would tie the game with 2:56 remaining in the fourth, but Minnesota failed to put together the winning drive.
In overtime the Rebels took their first possession into the end zone on an 18-yard run by Tim Cornett. The Gophers responded with a touchdown of their own — a 10-yard pass from Gray to tight end John Rabe.
The Gophers got the ball first in the second overtime and once again Gray connected with Rabe for a touchdown. It was the first play of the series — a 25-yard strike as Rabe was wide open on the right sideline.
Leading 27-20, the Gophers were one play away from the win but the Rebels scored on fourth down to force a third overtime.
Minnesota chose to begin the third overtime on defense, and the decision paid off as redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Sherry threw an interception in the end zone to U of M defensive back Derrick Wells.
The Gophers took over on offense and ran the ball three times to set up a 32-yard field goal attempt for Wettstein, which he put right down the middle for the win.