MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers’ 54 points against Nebraska on Saturday were the most a University of Minnesota football team has scored against a Big Ten opponent since 2006.

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P.J. Fleck MUG

Fleck

“That was the first time all year we played a complete game,” coach P.J. Fleck said of the Gophers’ 54-21 victory. “That’s what it’s supposed to look like.”

Fleck isn’t expecting his team to break 50 every week, but scoring on 90 percent of offensive possessions — including four touchdown drives of 72 yards or more — will provide a confidence boost heading into the final two games of the season.

“It was the execution,” Fleck said. “It looked like we were more experienced than we really are. It looked like we have been doing it for a long time. That’s what was different about last week.”

The Gophers (5-5, 2-5) will be underdogs in both, starting with a seven-point margin Saturday morning at No. 25 Northwestern (7-3, 5-2).

The Gophers finish the regular season against the two teams with the Big Ten’s longest winning streaks. Northwestern has won five straight. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-0, 7-0), scheduled for the season finale at TCF Bank Stadium, has won 11 consecutive games.

Northwestern ranks 62nd in total defense, allowing 388 yards a game, and 39th in scoring defense, giving up 23 points a game. The Cornhuskers’ D was much worse in both categories even before getting pummeled by the Gophers.

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Demry Croft mug

Croft

Fleck said the offense found the right schemes to incorporate against the Cornhuskers. A 17-10 loss at Iowa on Oct. 28 probably put too much on Demry Croft’s plate for his first road start, the coach added.

After his fourth start, Croft won Big Ten co-offensive player of the week honors after rushing for 183 yards and three touchdowns, while competing 9 of 15 passes for 105 yards against Nebraska. Fleck counted four dropped passes.

“Demry could have been 13-for-15 with two throwaways, almost a perfect-type performance, which you don’t expect them to be perfect all the time,” Fleck said. “But you see the difference in his demeanor. You see the difference in his pocket presence.”

The defense held the Huskers below their season averages for yards and points, while kick returner Rodney Smith won the Big Ten’s special teams player of the week award for his a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 279 all-purpose yards.

INJURIES: The Gophers scaled back Sunday’s practice “because we got some more injuries here at a lot of key positions again,” Fleck said. “We’ve got to dig deeper down into more inexperience and more question marks, but that’s the fun of it. That’s the challenge of it. That’s the opportunity for somebody else.”

Fleck hopes starting left guard Garrison Wright, who injured his left hand against Nebraska, will be available. “He’s injured but he’s going to play. ... It’s not for certain,” Fleck said. “That is one of our best offensive linemen that has some experience, so we’ll see how the week goes.”

Running back Shannon Brooks (concussion) won’t be available for Northwestern. He has missed four games for various ailments this season, including the Michigan and Nebraska games. “Not going to be ready, probably for a while,” Fleck said.

Starting center Jared Weyler, who was injured in a 33-10 loss to Michigan, is done for the season with a leg injury. He had his 2016 season cut short by three games when he tore his triceps.

“It will set him back a few months,” Fleck said. “He will be ready hopefully for spring ball.”

BRIEFLY: Fleck is excited about the Gophers’ new uniform combinations for the 2018 season. It will incorporate the past, present and future. He’s said the base will be maroon and gold and shown a creativity to put school mascot Goldy’s mug on one side of helmets.

“We will still have a mixture of what we have now, but as we start to go, I want to push forward maybe a new vision of some things that maybe people can look into,” he said. ... The FieldTurf has been installed in the new indoor practice facility, with imprints of the state of Minnesota at the 25-yard lines. The move-in date hasn’t been set. “I promise you, the second they say, ‘You can get in—’ I will already be in there,” Fleck said. ... The regular-season finale against Wisconsin will kick off at either 2:30 or 2:45 p.m. Nov. 25 at TCF Bank Stadium. Time and television details will be finalized Saturday night or Sunday morning.

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