Monroe’s missed chip shot could be one that haunts

The snap was good. The hold was good. Joel Monroe just pushed it right. ThatâÄôs what Monroe said after SaturdayâÄôs loss, which may have been a different game had the senior kicker made a 20-yard chip shot from the left hash mark early in the third quarter . The field goal, his shortest attempt of the year, wouldâÄôve broken a 17-17 tie . âÄúItâÄôs not a good feeling when you know a play you made couldâÄôve drastically changed the course of the game,âÄù Monroe said. Monroe said he was out of position when he stepped to the ball and struck it poorly. The kick came after a 16-play drive in which the Gophers had second-and-goal from the 2-yard line . âÄúThat was an opportunity for us to score points that we didnâÄôt convert,âÄù Monroe said. âÄúIt was one of a handful of opportunities that couldâÄôve changed the outcome of the game.âÄù Decker sets reception record There werenâÄôt many reasons for Eric Decker to be excited about breaking MinnesotaâÄôs single-season reception record Saturday. The play came on a short pass that went for just one yard , and Decker blamed himself for the Gophers loss after a pass tipped off his hands and was intercepted for a touchdown in the final 20 seconds . Not to mention it was Decker who set the record last year, with 67 catches . âÄúItâÄôs hard to be excited or feel good about something like that after a game like this,âÄù Decker said. Simmons impresses Junior cornerback Traye Simmons had two interceptions, a touchdown and five tackles Saturday . The junior college transfer, who nicknamed himself âÄúBig Play TrayeâÄù at the beginning of the year, stepped in front of a pass in the second quarter and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. In the third quarter , Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka threw a ball into double coverage and Simmons made a leaping catch, returning it 35 yards. âÄúTrayeâÄôs a real confident player, and heâÄôs playing really well,âÄù coach Tim Brewster said. Notes – True freshman Xavier Brandon was held out of the game due to an undisclosed injury. – Northwestern was just the third of nine opponents to score first against the Gophers. Montana State scored a touchdown late in the first quarter in Week 3, while Ohio State took just five plays to score in MinnesotaâÄôs only other loss on September 27 . – With the opening of TCF Bank Stadium next season, SaturdayâÄôs game was the final Homecoming game to be played in the Metrodome.