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Gophers sputter in 4th quarter, fall to Spartans; appear Texas-bound for bowl game

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The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers hung tough for three quarters with Michigan State Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium, but stumbled in the fourth to lose to Spartans 26-10.

With the loss, the Gophers appear to be headed to Texas for their bowl game, the Star Tribune reported.

Because of the team's level of competitiveness in the Big Ten, the Star Tribune said it's likely the Gophers will be invited in the coming days to either the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston on Dec. 28 or the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1 in Dallas.

The Spartans struck first with a field goal, which was countered by a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown by Aaron Hill to put the Gophers in the lead 7-3.

The Spartans kicked another field goal in the first quarter to trim the Gophers lead to 7-6, and went into halftime with a 13-7 lead after receiver Bernie Fowler caught a deflected ball from Andrew Maxwell for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 to go in the second quarter.

The game was marred by the sudden absence of Gophers coach Jerry Kill in the second half. It was later revealed Kill suffered from a seizure at halftime.

Each team kicked a field goal in the third quarter to up the score to 16-10, and a big punt return by the Spartans with 2:22 to go led to a 30-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Spartans added another touchdown in fourth quarter to secure the 26-10 victory.

The Gophers ended their regular season at 6-6 with the loss, and 2-6 in the Big Ten.

Michigan State, which finished at 6-6 for the season (2-6 in the Big Ten) with the victory, also became bowl-eligible with the win.

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