Back up close to their own goal line, the Gophers' defense came up big when it mattered most to help seal a 21-14 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs at TCF Bank State on Saturday night.
The hero, for the second week in a row, was junior cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr., who made an incredible leaping interception in the back of the end zone with less than 90 seconds left in the game.
"I saw the ball come over and I just went high up under the ball," said Winfield, who thought he was beat on the play, according to ESPN.
The win was huge for Minnesota simply because Fresno State is far from a cupcake. In fact, the Bulldogs won 10 games a year ago and still have most of their starters from an explosive offense, which put up 79 points in their season-opening win over Idaho.
Minnesota got two rushing touchdowns from their wildcat formation quarterback Seth Green and field goals of 53 yards and 50 yards from Emmit Carpenter on a night when they lost running back Rodney Smith to a leg injury.
Smith injured his leg on Minnesota's first series of the game and was helped off the field, unable to put any weight on it.
It forced true freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad to work without him, and he struggled to develop rhythm, completing 16-of-26 passes for 176 yards, although he connected with Tyler Johnson on 3rd-and-9 to keep a drive alive that led to Green's second touchdown, which proved to be the difference.
The Gophers look to go to 3-0 for a second straight year when they host Miami (Ohio) on Saturday.