Date: Oct. 19, 2019
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Site: Piscataway, N.J.
Stadium: SHI Stadium
Series: Minnesota 1-0
Streak: Minnesota W1
Last: Minnesota won 34-32 on 10/22/16 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm sat down with two Gopher offensive lineman Blaise Andries of Marshall and John Michael Schmitz:
NINE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Minnesota travels to Rutgers for its second ever meeting with the Scarlet Knights. The Gophers won the only previous meeting, 34-32, at home in 2016. Dating back to last season, Minnesota has won eight straight games (Nebraska, Illinois, at Purdue, Georgia Southern, at Fresno State, South Dakota State, vs. Georgia Tech and at Wisconsin), which is tied for the fourth longest winning streak in the nation. Clemson has the longest winning streak at 21 games and is followed by Ohio State (12) and Appalachian State (11). Minnesota follows at eight wins and is tied with Baylor. Minnesota is ranked No. 20 in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll. Minnesota was last ranked in each poll in 2014.
2. Minnesota is 6-0 this year, 8-0 in its last eight games, 10-2 in its last 12 games and 18-13 overall under head coach P.J. Fleck. The last time Minnesota started a season 6-0 was 2003 (Gophers last started 7-0 in 1960). The last time Minnesota won eight straight games was 1948-49, as it won last four games on 1948 and first four games of 1949 (Gophers last won nine straight games in 1941 and 1942. Went 8-0 in 1941 and started 1942 season 1-0). The last time Minnesota was 10-2 in 12 games was 2002-03, as it was 1-0 to end 2002 and started 2003 with a 9-2 record (Gophers last were 11-2 in 13 games in 1948-49, as it went 7-2 in 1948 and then won the first four games on 1949). Fleck’s 18-13 record in his first 31 games is the best for a coach in school history since the legendary Murray Warmath started 19-10-2 from 1954 through the first four games of the 1957 season. Warmath would go on to coach Minnesota for 18 seasons and led Minnesota to a Big Ten championship and national championship in 1960.
3. The Gophers are 6-0 for the 14th time in program history. Minnesota was previously 6-0 in 2003, 1960, 1941, 1940, 1935, 1934, 1910, 1909, 1905, 1904, 1903, 1896 and 1893. Minnesota is 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2014 (last started 4-0 in conference play in 1967) and has won four straight Big Ten games (2018 at Wisconsin; 2019 at Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska) for the first time since 2013 (last won five straight in 1969-70; final four of 1969 and first of 1970).
4. Minnesota is 10-2 in its last 12 games (8 B1G games, 1 game vs. ACC and 3 nonconference games) and the Gophers have scored 408 points in that span. Minnesota scored 429 points in 12 games in 2005 and 503 in 13 games in 2003. The only other seasons Minnesota scored more than 400 points were 1905 (542 in 11 games), 1904 (725 in 13 games) and 1903 (618 in 15 games).
5. Minnesota has scored 112 points in its first three Big Ten games (38 at Purdue, 40 vs. Illinois and 34 vs. Nebraska). Minnesota last scored 112 points in its first three B1G games in 1934 (48 points at Iowa, 34 against Michigan and 30 against Indiana). The 112 points in the first three conference games is the most for Minnesota since 1916 (67 vs. Iowa, 9 vs. Illinois and 54 vs. Wisconsin) when it scored 130.
6. Minnesota has scored 34 points or more in its last five games. The last time Minnesota scored 34 or more points in five straight games was during the 2003 season when it scored 34 or more in six straight games (42 at Northwestern, 35 vs. Michigan, 38 vs. Michigan State, 36 at Illinois, 55 vs. Indiana and 37 vs. Wisconsin).
7. Minnesota has scored at least 28 points in all six games this season, which is something it has not accomplished since the 1905 and 1904 seasons when it was still competing against high school teams. In 1905 the Gophers opened the season scoring 74, 54, 42, 45, 42 and 39 points. In 1904, the Gophers scored 107, 77, 75, 65, 47 and 35 points in its first six games.
8. Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson, Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell form one of the best trios in the nation, as they have combined for 69 catches, 1,227 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers stack up well against the top five teams in the country. No. 1 Alabama’s top three receivers have caught 98 passes for 1,568 yards and 20 TDs. LSU’s numbers are 90 catches for 1,552 yards and 22 TDs, while Clemson’s top three receivers have 62 catches for 1,011 yards and 8 TDs. Ohio State comes in at 61 catches for 881 yards and 11 TDs and No. 5 Oklahoma is at 59 catches for 1,234 yards and 15 catches.
9 .Joe Rossi took over the reigns as the Gophers defensive coordinator after Minnesota’s 55-31 loss at Illinois last season. Since then the Gophers are 8-1. In four of those games (2018: Purdue, Georgia Tech: 2019 Illinois, Nebraska) the Gophers have allowed 10 or less offensive points. Minnesota did now allow an offensive touchdown against Illinois. It was the first time the Gophers have held a Big Ten opponent without an offensive touchdown since Nov. 10, 2012 at Illinois. The Gophers did not give one up against Nebraska until the fourth quarter. That touchdown stopped a stretch of 111:27 without allowing an offensive touchdown for the Minnesota defense.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)