Date/Time: Nov. 20, 2021 / 2:30 p.m. CT
Site: Bloomington, Ind.
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Series Overall: Minnesota Leads 39-26-3
Streak: Minnesota Won 3
Series in IND: Minnesota trails 7-17-2
Streak: Minnesota Won 1
Last Meeting: Minnesota won 38-31 in Minneapolis (10/26/18)
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Minnesota and Indiana meet for the 69th time on Saturday with the Golden Gophers leading the all-time series, 39-26-3. The Gophers’ .596 win percentage against the Hoosiers is its second best against Big Ten teams (excluding a 2-0 record vs. Rutgers), behind only a .599 mark against Northwestern. The Gophers have won three straight in the series, though the three wins have come by a total of 19 points, or an average margin of victory of 6.3 points. As a result of scheduling quirks, Minnesota and Indiana have only faced each other twice since the 2008 season: once in Bloomington in 2013 and once in Minneapolis in 2018.
2. The Golden Gophers have one of the strongest rush defenses in the country, ranking ninth nationally and second in the Big Ten by allowing 99.9 rushing yards per game this year. The national average for rushing yards per game through Nov. 13 is 163.3 yards per game; only two Gopher opponents have gone above 144 yards rushing this year and five have been held to less than 100 rushing yards. In fact, Minnesota had a two-game stretch of just 3 rush yards allowed (-19 at Colorado, 22 vs. Bowling Green). The -19 rushing yards allowed at Colorado on Sept. 18 are tied for the fewest by any FBS team this year along with Clemson holding UConn to the same total on Nov. 13. The next fewest among Power 5 teams came on Oct. 23 when Wisconsin held Purdue to -13. Minnesota is fourth in the country in fewest opponent rush attempts (294), ninth in opponent rush yards (999), 17th in opponent rushing touchdowns (9) and 20th in opponent yards per carry (3.40).
3. Minnesota is 3-1 on the road this year, shutting out Colorado, 30-0, in Boulder on Sept. 18, winning at Purdue, 20-13, on Oct. 2 and beating Northwestern in Evanston, 41-14, on Oct. 30, before losing Saturday at Iowa, 27-22. It was the fourth time since 1961 that Minnesota had won its first three road games of a season, also winning its first three in 2019 and its first four in 2003 and 1999. The Golden Gophers are 12-4 in their last 16 games away from home, including bowl games, beginning with a 37-15 victory at Wisconsin on Nov. 24, 2018. During that timespan, only Ohio State (16-2) has a better mark away from home among Big Ten teams.
4. With his start against Maryland on Oct. 23, Minnesota
redshirt senior offensive lineman Conner Olson set the Golden Gophers program record with his 52nd career start. He broke the mark of 51 set by former long snapper Payton Jordahl from 2015-18. Now up to 55 starts, Olson has tied the Big Ten record of 55 starts set by Ohio State’s Billy Price (2014-17). Olson, who should break the mark Saturday at Indiana, has started every Minnesota game since the beginning of the 2017 season, which is the entire P.J. Fleck era. Olson has started 26 games at left guard, 15 at center and 14 at right guard. He currently holds the fifth longest active starting streak in the country.
5. Despite missing the first two games of the season, most of the Bowling Green contest and most of the second half against Illinois all due to injury, Chris Autman-Bell still leads the team this year in receptions (29), receiving yards (409), receiving yards per game (51.1), receiving touchdowns (3), targets (45) and targets per game (5.6). In addition, his catch percentage of 64.4 is second-highest on the team of anyone with at least 10 targets. Saturday at Iowa, Autman-Bell caught a team-high five passes for 109 yards, including a 68-yard TD in the fourth quarter. The 109 yards mark the most by a Gopher this year, and it was his second 100-yard game this season (fourth of his career).
Gopher tight end Nick Kallerup spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm:
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)