John Gutekunst came away from his first college head coaching assignment with a victory Saturday night, and with Rickey Foggie around for two more years, his record could include many more wins.
Gutekunst took over Minnesota's football team after Lou Holtz left for Notre Dame, and the new coach's first night on the job turned out to be an exciting one.
With Foggie leading fourth-quarter marches of 86 and 68 yards, the Gophers rallied to beat Clemson, 20-13, before a crowd of 42,800 in the 10th Independence Bowl at 50,491-seat Independence Stadium.
Foggie carried 18 times for 60 yards and completed 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards.
The Minnesota comeback began when Foggie went to a shotgun offense in the fourth quarter and caught the Tigers by surprise.
"We wanted this one for Coach Gutekunst, and we're awfully glad we got it for him," Foggie said.
Earlier, Clemson had overcome a 10-0 deficit on the running of Kenny Flowers and Stacy Driver to take a 13-10 edge midway through the third quarter, and seemed ready to take an even larger lead late in the period.
But a fourth-down halfback pass from the 12-yard line was foiled by Gopher safety Donovan Small, who was voted the defensive player of the game, and that stand by the Minnesota defense led to a change of momentum.
An 86-yard march produced a 19-yard field goal by Chip Lohmiller that tied the game at 13-13. On its next possession, Minnesota marched 68 yards to a one-yard touchdown run by Valdez Baylor with 4:56 to play.
Clemson's last hope ended with 1:13 remaining,when Rodney Williams' fourth-down pass sailed over Ray Williams' head at the goal line.