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Updated: Monday, December 30, 2002 7:57 PM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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Minnesota 29, Arkansas 14
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Arkansas Razorbacks
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MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
Minnesota Golden Gophers
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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Kicker Dan Nystrom became the Big Ten Conference's all-time leading scorer as Minnesota shook off a four-game losing streak with a 29-14 victory over Arkansas in the Music City Bowl.

In his final game for the Golden Gophers, Nystrom tied a school record with five field goals, helping Minnesota (8-5) register its first bowl win in 17 years. He ended his career with 367 points, breaking the Big Ten mark of 355 set by Purdue's Travis Dorsch from 1998-2001.

Nystrom also set a Big Ten record with 71 career field goals, three more than Dorsch.

The Golden Gophers, who closed the regular season with losses to Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, reached eight wins for just the eighth time in school history and the first since 1999.

Minnesota improved to just 3-5 in the postseason, earning its first bowl win since defeating Clemson in the 1985 Independence Bowl. The victory snapped a three-game bowl losing streak.

Arkansas (9-5) ended its season with a two-game slide. The Razorbacks won six in a row to capture the Southeastern Conference West Division title but were routed by Georgia, 30-3, in the SEC championship game.

Arkansas continued to struggle offensively as it was shut down after driving 74 yards on its first possession and taking a 7-0 lead on Matt Jones' two-yard pass to George Wilson.

The postseason woes continued for the Razorbacks, who have dropped three straight bowls and 10 of their last 11. They fell to 10-20-3 all-time in bowl play.

Nystrom kicked field goals of 24 and 45 yards in the first quarter and converted from 21 and 22 yards in the second to give the Golden Gophers a 12-7 halftime lead.

Minnesota broke it open in the second half as Asad Abdul-Khaliq tossed a 19-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Utecht with 2:44 left in the third quarter and Thomas Tapeh ripped off a 33-yard touchdown run with 7:49 left. Tapeh broke several tackles on his way to the end zone, extending the lead to 29-7.

Between the touchdowns, Nystrom kicked his fifth field goal, a 29-yarder three minutes into the fourth period.

Minnesota held a 434-288 edge in total offense. Abdul-Khaliq completed 16-of-31 passes for 216 yards.

Arkansas got a late TD on backup Ryan Sorahan's 10-yard strike to Richard Smith.

Sorahan took over for Jones early in the fourth quarter with the Razorbacks trailing, 22-7. But Fred Talley fumbled and defensive end Mark Losli recovered for Minnesota at midfield.

Another mistake allowed the Golden Gophers to retain possession as Arkansas was penalized for having 12 men on the field during a punt on 4th-and-4. The Golden Gophers cashed in the TD run by Tapeh, who rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries.

Arkansas, which led the SEC in rushing, was held to 80 yards on the ground. Jones and Sorahan combined to complete just 18-of-40 passes for 208 yards.

Michael Lehan led Minnesota's defensive effort with two of the team's three interceptions. In their first 12 games, the Golden Gophers had just four interceptions.


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