Minnesota football wraps up its non-conference schedule Saturday as it hosts Colorado at Huntington Bank Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2 and statewide on the Gopher Radio Network (airtime 12:30 p.m.).
Minnesota enters Saturday’s contest leading the nation in both total offense and total defense. The Golden Gophers are averaging 582.0 yards per game, while allowing just 142.5 yards per contest. They boast the No. 2 rushing offense (302.0) and No. 3 rush defense (36.5) along with the 39th ranked passing offense (280.0) and fifth-ranked passing defense (106.0). For good measure, Minnesota also has the No. 7 scoring offense (50.0) and No. 2 scoring defense (5.0). Through Week 2, Georgia is the only other program with its total offense (10th) and total defense (8) both ranked in the top 10. For further context, the Minnesota program record for total offense in a season is 494.8 yards per game set in 2005, while the total defense record came in 1962 at 167.2 yards per game.
The Golden Gophers have scored 100 points through two games this year. It’s the third time since 1926 that Minnesota has scored 100 points in any two-game span, also scoring 100 in the first two games of the 2004 season and 102 in the second and third games of 2005. The 100 points through the first two games of the season is tied for the fourth most in program history, and equals the best in 117 seasons. The only higher-scoring starts came in 1904 (184 points), 1905 (128) and 1890 (102). Along those lines, the Maroon and Gold has outscored opponents 100-10 this year. Those same years, 1904 (184-0), 1905 (128-0) and 1890 (102-0) are the only years with a better scoring margin through two games. The 10 points allowed through two games is the third best for Minnesota since 1945. Only 1999 (7 points) and 1962 (0) have been better.
Now 2-0 on the season, the Gophers are looking to start 3-0 for the fourth time in six years under P.J. Fleck. The last instance came in 2019 when they started 9-0. Dating back to last season, Minnesota has now won five games in a row. That’s tied with UCLA and Coastal Carolina for the fifth longest active winning streak in the country. Only Louisiana (15), Clemson (8), Air Force (6) and Kentucky (6) are currently on longer streaks.
The 2022 campaign is the sixth for head coach P.J. Fleck at Minnesota, where he holds a record of 37-23. He is already sixth in program history for wins and Big Ten wins (21), and is seventh in games coached (60). His .617 win percentage is third best among the 11 Minnesota coaches with at least 45 games under their helm behind only Henry L. Williams (.786, 1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (.716, 1932-41, ‘45-50). Through his first five years at Minnesota, only Williams (55, 1900-04) had more wins than Fleck’s 35. In his 10th season overall as a college head coach, Fleck is 67-45 (.598).
MNN sports director Mike Grimm spoke with Prior Lake native Preston Jelen, who missed all of last season with a serious knee injury and is back on the field this season:
(info and photos courtesy of Gophers Sports/Brad Rempel)