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Minnesota barely survives I-AA North Dakota State

Oct 22, 2006 - 12:15 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Minnesota's disappointing season very nearly hit rock bottom.

The Golden Gophers received a fourth-quarter TD run from Amir Pinnix and blocked a field goal at the horn as they avoided a major upset, squeaking by with a 10-9 victory over Division I-AA North Dakota State.

Minnesota trailed, 3-0, after one quarter and faced a 6-3 deficit entering the final period before Pinnix capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a five-yard TD run to give the Gophers (3-5) their first lead of the contest.

Coach Glen Mason's team won despite managing only 12 first downs, converting just 4-of-13 third downs and getting outgained, 380-249.

Shawn Bibeau kicked a 41-yard field goal to draw North Dakota State (6-1) within 10-9 with 5:32 left. He had a chance to win it with a 42-yarder on the last play of the game, but the kick was blocked.

Pinnix finished with 25 rushes for 97 yards. He carried the Gopher offense as Bryan Cupito completed just 14-of-24 passes for 150 yards.

North Dakota State's Steve Walker was 22-of-37 for 237 yards with an interception. Kyle Steffes carried 29 times for 138 yards for the Bison, who failed for their first 7-0 start since 2000.

Bibeau kicked field goals of 30 and 39 yards in the first half, but he had a 21-yarder ring off the left upright on the first drive of the third quarter.

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