Northwestern ended a 38-game Big Ten losing streak yesterday as freshman quarterback Sandy Schwab ran for one touchdown and passed for another during a 31-21 upset of error-prone Minnesota in Evanston, Ill.

Just two weeks ago the Wildcats ended a 34-game losing streak, a major college record. The last time they won a Big Ten game was Nov. 19, 1977, when they defeated Illinois, 21-7.

"I think we're starting to believe we have a turf to defend," said Coach Dennis Green. Said Minnesota Coach Joe Salem, "This means we're terrible."

Ricky Edwards gained 147 yards in 28 carries through a porous Gopher defense and scored one touchdown for Northwestern (2-4, 1-3), whose defense set up two touchdowns.

The Wildcats rallied from an 18-point deficit by scoring three touchdowns within six minutes midway through the game. With a 21-3 lead and 1:01 left in the half, Minnesota (3-2, 1-2) chose to punt at its 44. But the snap sailed over the punter's head for a 38-yard loss to the six. On the next play, Schwab passed to John Harvey in the end zone.

Edwards' 20-yard run made it 21-17 early in the next half and three plays later, Mike Guendling picked off Mike Hohensee's pass and ran it back 22 yards before fumbling in the end zone, where teammate Rick Raffin fell on it and it was 24-21.

Raffin then stopped another drive, intercepting Hohensee and returning it to the Minnesota 27. After gains by Edwards of 14 and 17 yards, Schwab scored on a keeper from one yard out.