Minnesota Golden Gophers safety Derrick Wells was named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week. The sophomore had two interceptions and was tied for the team lead with eight total tackles. He also had a game high six solo tackles and led the Gophers with two pass breakups.
Not only did Wells have an outstanding performance, but his big plays came at timely situations for Minnesota in a wild game against the UNLV Rebels. His first pick set up a field goal that gave the Gophers a 13-10 fourth quarter lead, and his second came in triple overtime which helped secure the 30-27 victory.
The game saw four lead changes in regulation time alone, and the score was just 13-13 heading into overtime. From there the teams traded two touchdowns before Wells’ had the interception that led to the winning field goal. Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray threw two touchdown passes to John Rabe in the extra frame.
Thursday night’s game was the first ever meeting between the two teams and it was the first overtime game for the Golden Gophers since a 2009 win at the Syracuse Orange.
Wells was the first Minnesota player to win the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week award since defensive back Kim Royston won the honor on November 28th of 2011, in a game against the Iliinois Fighting Illini. Royston had 13 tackles, one pass breakup, and recorded a sack on the final play of his NCAA career.
Next up for the Golden Gophers is a showdown with the New Hampshire Wildcats this Saturday.