Minnesota seems to have found a winning combination with defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys running things from the sideline and head coach Jerry Kill watching from the booth and giving inspirational — even prophetic — speeches.
Kill has epilepsy, and he has been on medical leave since having the fifth game-day seizure of his career, before the Gophers played Michigan on Oct 5.
After getting routed by the Wolverines, 42-13, Minnesota had a week off to regroup before playing at Northwestern.
Instead of staying home, Kill and his wife Rebecca drove to Evanston, Ill., for the game, and the coach ended up talking to the team at halftime and again after its 20-17 victory.
After the game, Kill told his players how proud he was and that they hadn’t deserved “all the stuff you had to deal with with this situation.”
He also said: “Just keep with it. You’re getting better and better and if you keep doing that, you know, we’re going back home and we’ll beat Nebraska.”
That was the prophetic part.
Minnesota held its second annual epilepsy awareness event Saturday at TCF Stadium, then went out and broke a 16-game losing streak against Nebraska dating to 1960, defeating the No. 24 Cornhuskers, 34-23, with Kill watching from the coaches’ booth.