2013 marked another year of progress for head coach Jerry Kill, his coaching staff and the Gopher football program. Minnesota finished the regular season with an 8-4 record, its best league finish since 2005, its first in-season, four-game Big Ten winning streak in 40 years and its first win over Nebraska in 53 years. To celebrate, GopherSports.com is counting down the Top Ten Plays of 2013.
#2 Williams Game-Winning TD at Indiana Maxx Williams' 50-yard touchdown reception from Philip Nelson thwarted an Indiana rally and gave Minnesota a 42-39 road win in Bloomington. The Gophers won their third straight game and improved to 7-2 with the victory.
#3 Engel TD Catch on 4th Down vs. Nebraska Derrick Engel's leaping second quarter touchdown catch on fourth and 10 gave the Gophers a 14-10 lead over Nebraska. The Gophers would go on to defeat the Huskers 34-23, marking their first win over UNL in 53 years.
#4 Ra'Shede Hageman FG Block Returned for TD The Gophers' season-opening 51-23 win over UNLV featured many big plays, but none bigger than Ra'Shede Hageman's blocked FG in the third quarter, which was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Martez Shabazz.
#5 Aaron Hill Fumble Recovery at Indiana Holding a slim 42-39 lead with 25 seconds remaining, the Gophers Aaron Hill scooped up a fumble behind the line of scrimmage to seal the win, giving Minnesota a dramatic victory.
#6 James Manuel Pick Six at Northwestern Linebacker James Manuel broke a 7-7 third quarter tie in the Gophers' Oct. 26 game at Northwestern by returning an interception 24 yards for a touchdown, paving the way for a 20-17 upset road victory for the Gophers and snapping a two-game B1G losing streak. The win was the first of four in a row for the Gophers.
#7 Maxx Williams TD vs. Penn State Philip Nelson capped an 11-play, 74-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Maxx Williams with 17 seconds to play in the first half to put Minnesota up 24-10 against Penn State. The play propelled the Golden Gophers to their fourth straight Big Ten victory.
#8 Jones Back-to-Back Big Returns Gopher return man Marcus Jones provided a special teams spark in consecutive games to start the 2013 season, returning a kick-off 99 yards for a touchdown in the season opener vs. UNLV and a punt 65 yards for another TD the very next week vs. New Mexico State. Jones earned Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Sept. 9 for his efforts.
#9 Leidner's 4-TD Game vs. San Jose State In Minnesota's 43-24 win over San Jose State on Sept. 21, redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner tied a school record by rushing for four touchdowns, notching 151 yards rushing in the process. The win secured the Gophers' second straight 4-0 start.
#10 Hill's Pick Six vs. Wisconsin Senior Linebacker Aaron Hill enjoyed several memorable moments during 2013, none of which were bigger than this interception returned for a touchdown on Nov. 23 vs. Wisconsin. The score gave the Gophers a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.