Northwestern recovered a Minnesota fumble on the opening kickoff, giving them the ball deep in Gopher territory. The Wildcats immediately cashed in, scoring on a 26-yard run by running back Venric Mark just 11 seconds into the game.
After the Gophers responded with a 12-play, 76-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, the Wildcats struck back with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Mark had a 47-yard scamper on the drive, and quarterback Kain Colter capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats up 14-3.
Mark finished the first quarter with 77 yards on five carries. To go along with his touchdown run, Colter went 3-for-3 passing for 20 yards. The Wildcats racked up 99 yards of total offense in the quarter despite having the ball for only 4:11.