Date: Aug. 29, 2019
Time: 8:00 p.m. CT
Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
Series: Minn. leads 6-0
Last: Minnesota won 16-13 on 11/14/09 at TCF Bank Stadium
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Minnesota kicks off its 11th season at TCF Bank Stadium by hosting border foe South Dakota State at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29. Minnesota is 6-0 all-time against South Dakota State and all six of those wins have come in Minneapolis. The teams last met in 2009 when Minnesota topped South Dakota State 16-13 on Nov. 14. The Gophershave won 15 straight nonconference games, which is the longest streak in the nation. Minnesota’s last loss in a nonconference game was on Sept. 3, 2015, when it fell 23-17 to No. 2 TCU at home. The Gophers are 19-1 in their past 20 nonconference home games and have won 10 straight nonconference games at TCF Bank Stadium.
2. Minnesota finished the 2018 strong, as it won three of its final four games. The Gophers beat Purdue, Wisconsin and Georgia Tech and their only loss during that span was a setback to Big Ten west champion Northwestern. During that four-game stretch, Minnesota averaged 31.5 points on offense, while allowing only 14.75 points per game. Minnesota also held Purdue to season lows in points (10) and yards (233), beat Wisconsin for the first time since 2003 and the first time on the road since 1994 and beat Georgia Tech 34-10 in the Quick Lane Bowl (24-point margin of victory was largest ever bowl win in school history).
3. Minnesota returns nine starters on offense (graduated center Jared Weyler and tackle Donnell Greene) this year after posting sneaky good numbers in 2018. This year, Minnesota returns 100% of passing yards (QB Zack Annexstad is sidelined with an injury), 99% of rushing yards and 99% of receiving yards.
4. Last year, the Gophers averaged 28.9 points per game (T7 most all time since 1955), scored 46 touchdowns (T5 in school history since 1955), totaled 4,935 yards of offense (6th most in school history since 1955), recorded 269 first downs (3rd most in school history since 1955) and threw for 2,714 yards (8th most in school history since 1955).
5. In 2018, freshman accounted for 98% of passing yards, 73% of rushing yards and 49% of receiving yards. With Rodney Smith, Shannon Brooks, Mohamed Ibrahim and Bryce Williams, Minnesota returns 1,328 career carries for 6,503 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns. Those are eye-popping numbers and do not include receiver Seth Green, who added 282 yards and eight touchdowns as a wildcat quarterback in 2018. Carter Coughlin has made 110 career tackles in 36 games and 30.5 of them (27.7%) have been a tackle for loss and 18.0 of them (16.3%) have been a sack. Coughlin ranks ninth in career tackles for loss with 30.5 (Willie VanDeSteeg is first with 43.5) and fifth in career sacks with 18.0 (Karon Riley is first with 29.0).
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm talked with all-Big Ten wide receiver Tyler Johnson of Minneapolis this week:
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)