Date: Oct. 12, 2019
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Site: Minneapolis, Minn.
Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
Series: Minnesota 32-25-2
MINNESOTAN MARTIN MIC’D
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm caught up with Gopher senior linebacker Kamal Martin on Burnsville:
EIGHT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Minnesota faces Nebraska at home on Saturday. The Gophers lead the all-time series against the Cornhuskers 32-25-2. Dating back to last season, Minnesota has won seven straight games (Illinois, at Purdue, Georgia Southern, at Fresno State, South Dakota State, vs. Georgia Tech and at Wisconsin), which is tied for the fifth longest winning streak in the nation. Clemson has the longest winning streak in the nation at 20 games and is followed by Ohio State (12), Appalachian State (10, but plays on Wednesday) and Florida (10). Minnesota follows at seven wins and is tied with Wake Forest and Baylor. The Gophers are one of 16 undefeated teams and are ranked No. 25 in the Coaches Poll.
2. Minnesota is 5-0 this year, 7-0 in its last seven games, 9-2 in its last 11 games and 17-13 overall under head coach P.J. Fleck. The last time Minnesota started a season 5-0 was 2004. The last time Minnesota won seven straight games were the 2002-03 seasons (won last game of 2002 and first six games of 2003). The last time Minnesota was 9-2 in 11 games were the 2016-17 seasons (6-2 to end 2016 and 3-0 to start 2017). Fleck’s 17-13 record in his first 30 games is the best for a coach in school history since the legendary Murray Warmath started 19-9-2 from 1954 through the first three 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. Minnesota is averaging 35.8 points this year. The last season Minnesota averaged that many points was 2005 (35.8 points) in 12 games. Minnesota is 9-2 in its last 11 games and the Gophers have scored 374 points in those 11 games. Minnesota didn’t total 374 points (total points in last 11 games) in 2004 (12 games), 2007 (12 games), 2008 (13 games), 2009 (13 games), 2010 (12 games), 2011 (12 games), 2012 (13 games), 2013 (13 games), 2014 (13 games), 2015 (13 games) or 2017 (12 games). Minnesota scored 376 points in 13 games in 2018, 381 points in 13 games in 2016 and 376 in 13 games in 2006.
4. Minnesota has scored 78 points in its first two Big Ten games (38 at Purdue and 40 vs. Illinois). That’s the most points that Minnesota has scored in its first two Big Ten games to start a season since 1986. That year Minnesota scored 36 points at Purdue and then 44 against Northwestern for 80 points.
5. Minnesota’s win against Illinois was the 700th in school history. Minnesota became the 28th team in college football history to reach the milestone. Minnesota’s 100th win was at Wisconsin in 1903 (17-0), while its 200th win was against North Dakota in 1923 (27-0). Its 300th win was against Illinois in 1941 (34-6) and the 400th win came against UCLA in the 1962 Rose Bowl (21-3). Minnesota’s 500th win was against Northwestern in 1981 (35-23) and its 600th win was against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2003 (48-14).
6. Joe Rossi took over the reigns as the Gophers defensive coordinator after Minnesota’s 55-31 loss at Illinois last season. Since then, Minnesota is 7-1 and in three of those games (2018: Purdue, Georgia Tech; 2019: Illinois), the Gophers have allowed 10 or less offensive points. Minnesota did not allow an offensive touchdown versus Illinois last week. It was the first time that the U held a Big Ten opponent without an offensive touchdown since 2012 (won 17-3 at Illinois).
7. Rodney Smith and Tyler Johnson eclipsed career milestones earlier this year. Smith passed 3,000 career rushing yards and now ranks fourth in school history with 3,495 rushing yards. Smith also ranks third all-time in career all-purpose yards with 4,740 yards. He is 369 yards shy of tying Darrell Thompson’s (5,109 yards in 45 games from 1986-89) school record. Johnson passed 2,000 career receiving yards and ranks fifth in school history with 2,337 receiving yards.
8. Tanner Morgan is 9-2 as a starter at Minnesota and since 1975, no Gopher quarterback has begun his career with a better record as a starter. Additionally, Morgan’s career winning percentage (.818) is the highest for any Gophers quarterback with 10 or more starts during that timeframe. Through five games this year, he has completed 78-of-111 passes (70.2 completion percentage) for 1,250 yards and 13 touchdowns (he has also rushed for a score). Morgan ranks fifth in the nation in yards per attempt (11.26) and is 17th in completion percentage (70.3%). He is fourth in the nation in passing efficiency at 198.1 and trails only Jalen Hurt (Oklahoma), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) and Joe Burrow (LSU). He is tied for 13th in the country with 13 passing touchdowns. Morgan has passed for three or more touchdowns in the past three games, which is the first time a Minnesota quarterback has accomplished that feat dating back to at least 1990. Adam Weber (2010) was the last quarterback to have three games with three passing touchdowns in a season. The Gophers didn’t pass for 13 touchdowns in 2017 (9), 2016 (9), 2014 (12), 2013 (12) or 2011 (10). Morgan ranks 37th in the nation in passing yards per game (250) and is 39th in the county in passing yards (1,250).
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)