Date: Nov. 30, 2019
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Site: Minneapolis, Minn.
Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
Series: Tied 60-60-8
Streak: Minnesota W1
Last: Minnesota won 37-15 on Nov. 24, 2018 at Camp Randall in Madison, Wis.
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm spoke with Gopher senior Carter Coughlin of Eden Prairie:
NINE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. No. 9 Minnesota plays its final game of the regular season at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at home against border rival No. 13 Wisconsin. The stakes of the game could not be higher, as the winner will represent the West division against Ohio State in the Big Ten Football Championship Game on Dec. 7. The series is the longest uninterrupted rivalry in FBS Division 1 football and is tied 60-60-8 after Minnesota won 37-15 last year on the road to reclaim Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The game will be the fourth straight on network television for the Gophers, as it played Penn State (ABC), Iowa (FOX) and Northwestern (ABC) previously. This is the first season ever that Minnesota will play four games on network television.
2. Minnesota will honor 13 players prior to the game who will exhaust their eligibility this season. They are: Thomas Barber, Shannon Brooks, Carter Coughlin, Winston DeLattiboudere, Tai’yon Devers, Jacob Herbers, Tyler Johnson, Kamal Martin, Alex Melvin, Sam Renner, Rodney Smith, Michael Tarbutt and Chris Williamson. The senior class has won 30 games. The modern day record for most wins by a senior class is 32, set in 2005 (7 in 2005, 7 in 2004, 10 in 2003 and 8 in 2002). The school record is 46 and was set by the 1905 class (10 in 1905, 13 in 1904, 14 in 1903 and 9 in 1902).
3. Minnesota is 6-0 at home this year and has a chance to go to 7-0. Minnesota has never won every home game during a season at TCF Bank Stadium (best record was 6-1 in 2016 and 2014). Minnesota has had 22 seasons when it was undefeated at home, but none since 1954 when it went 6-0 at Memorial Stadium. Minnesota also went 7-0 at home in 1931 and the most wins the Gophers have ever had in an undefeated home season was in 1904 when they went 11-0.
4. Minnesota is one of two schools to have two 1,000-yard receivers (Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman) and one 1,000-yard rusher (Rodney Smith). The other school is LSU (WRs Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire). Prior to this season, Minnesota had a 1,000-yard receiver in a season just five times and never had two. Johnson is the first player in school history to record two 1,000-yard seasons, as his 1,169 yards last year set a single-season record. That record is now in danger of being broken by both Johnson (1,025) and Bateman (1,023).
5. Minnesota had its 11-game win streak end two weeks ago at Iowa (Gophers had not lost in 364 days). Minnesota is 10-1 overall and 14-3 in its last 17 games (13 B1G, 1 ACC, and 3 nonconference). Minnesota is 7-1 in the Big Ten for the first time ever. Minnesota has a winning record in the B1G for the 47th time, but for only the eighth time since 1970. The Gophers are 10-3 in their last 13 B1G games, which leads the West and trails only 12-1 Ohio State (Penn State also 10-3). The Gophers are 22-14 under P.J. Fleck. Fleck’s win percentage of 61.1% ranks fourth in school history for anyone who coached more than 30 games and is the best since Bernie Bierman, who last coached at Minnesota in 1950.
6. Minnesota averages 35.9 points per game (395 points in 11 games), which is the most since 2003 (38.7 average). Minnesota has averaged more than 30 points only five times since 1955 (38.7 in 2003; 35.8 in 2005; 31.3 in 2000; 30.7 in 1999 and 30.1 in 2004).
7. Minnesota has thrown a school-record 26 TDs this year after tossing 20 in 2018. This is the first time since 2006 (22) and 2007 (25) that Minnesota has consecutive seasons with 20 passing TDs. Minnesota rushed for 23 TDs and threw for 20 TDs last year. This year, Minnesota has rushed for 24 TDs and thrown for 26. This is the first time that Minnesota has consecutive 20 rushing and 20 passing TD seasons since 2005 (34 rush, 20 pass) and 2006 (25 rush, 22 pass) and is only the second time ever since 1955.
8. Minnesota was ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll when it beat No. 5 Penn State, 31-26, on Nov. 6. It was the first game in Minneapolis that featured two Top 15 teams since the No. 5 Gophers beat No. 1 Michigan State 13-0 in 1961. The Penn State win this year was Minnesota’s first win against a Top 5 five team since it beat No. 2 Penn State on the road in 1999. It was Minnesota’s first home win against a Top 5 team since it beat No. 1 Michigan 16-0 in 1977.
9. Minnesota is ranked No. 9, while Wisconsin is ranked No. 13, which means the Gophers will host their second Top 15 match-up this year. This will be the fourth season ever that Minnesota will play two games ranked as a Top 15 team against another Top 15 team. Minnesota last did so in 1949 and did so in 1942 and 1940.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)