Minneapolis, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Former University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) head football coach Bob Nielson returned to Minnesota on with his new team, Western Illinois University (WIU), but fell to the Gophers 29-12 on Saturday.
Nielson won two national titles with UMD and spent two different stints coaching the team before leaving in December to take over the duties for the Fighting Leathernecks.
WIU got on the board first thanks to a one-yard pass from Trenton Norvell to Mason Howington in the first quarter. The Gophers answered in the second quarter and took a 7-6 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, it was Norvell once again, this time connecting with Lance Lenoir from 11 yards out. The T-D put the Leathernecks up 12-7.
From there, it was all Minnesota though. The Gophers scored 22 unanswered points to close out the game 29-12.
Afterward, Nielson said he was happy with his team's effort.
"I mean, it's not just another game, obviously, it's an important game," Nielson said. "For our program to have an opportunity to play a program like Minnesota, and certainly a bit of a homecoming for me with a lot of my friends."
"It's a tremendous college football environment, a beautiful facility, and I'm proud of the way our guys played."