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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Key moments in WSU’s 17-12 defeat to Minnesota in Holiday Bowl

Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky (82) is brought down by WSU during the second half of the 2016 National Funding Holiday Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Field position jump starts Golden Gophers

The Minnesota offense could not put together a scoring drive against the Washington State defense early on, going three-and-out on its first drive and failing to cross midfield in three attempts. But the Minnesota defense forced a three-and-out of its own halfway through the second quarter, and a short WSU punt gave the Golden Gophers the ball on the WSU 40. Minnesota mustered a game-tying field goal to get back on equal footing with the Cougars.

Tip-drill turns into touchdown

Neither team could summon much offense, but at least the Cougars were ahead 6-3 in the middle of the third quarter. It appeared that the worst Minnesota could do was tie the game when quarterback Mitch Leidner’s 3rd-and-8 pass was tipped by Marcellus Pippins in the end zone. But wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught the ball on its way to the ground, scoring a touchdown and giving the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish.

Interception puts Gophers in control

Luke Falk has led many a fourth quarter comeback during his time as the Washington State quarterback, and he had a chance for more heroics with the ball at his own 18-yard line and the Cougars trailing 10-6 with 4:40 left in the game. A 23-yard pass to Robert Lewis was a promising start to the drive, but on 4th-and-6 Falk’s pass was intercepted by Ayinde Adekunle, setting the Gophers up in WSU territory with the lead, the ball and not much time left in the game.