Date/Time: Sept. 25, 2021 / 11 a.m. CT
Stadium: Huntington Bank
Series Overall: Minnesota Leads 2-1
Streak: Minnesota Won 1
Series in MN: Series Tied 1-1
Streak: Minnesota Lost 1
Last Meeting: Minnesota won 42-17 in Bowling Green (9/6/08)
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Minnesota enters Saturday’s contest with 21 straight non-conference victories, the longest active streak in the country. Iowa is second with 14 straight wins, while Kentucky (13) and Alabama (10) are the only other teams in the country with a streak longer than seven games. The Golden Gophers haven’t lost a non-conference game since Sept. 3, 2015, at home to then-No. 2 TCU. Included in the streak are 17 regular season wins and four bowl victories. Also in the streak are 13 straight home wins against non-B1G teams, tied with San Diego State and Texas Tech for the 10th longest streak in the FBS. Minnesota is 13-0 under P.J. Fleck in non-conference games.
2. Minnesota’s 30-0 shutout of Colorado saw a smothering performance by the Golden Gophers’ defense, holding Colorado to just 63 yards of total offense with 82 yards passing and -19 rushing yards. The 63 yards of total offense allowed was the third best in program history since 1960, bested only by 50 yards given up against Michigan in 1962 on a school-record 48 yards yielded to Navy also in 1962. Minnesota outgained Colorado 83 to 0 in the opening quarter (12 passing yards, -12 rushing yards) and held a 225-7 (34 passing, -27 rushing) advantage in total offense at halftime. The -19 rushing yards was the fourth lowest allowed since 1960 by Minnesota, trailing only -23 vs. Michigan in 1998, -31 in the aforementioned Navy contest in 1962 and the school record of -46 versus Michigan in that 1962 matchup. Colorado had 21 rushing attempts, the fewest by a Minnesota opponent since Miami (OH) also had 21 in 2011.
3. The Gophers have turned to redshirt sophomore Trey Potts as their lead back with the season-ending injury to Mohamed Ibrahim and Potts has delivered in a big way. In two games as a starter, he’s rushed for 299 yards and scored five touchdowns. In his first career start against Miami (OH) on Sept. 11, Potts ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries, smashing his previous personal highs in all three categories. In fact, Potts’ 34 carries are the most by any FBS player in the country this season. He followed that by rushing for 121 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on 26 carries at Colorado. In the past two games alone, Potts has surpassed his career numbers entering the Miami (OH) contest, as he had gained 206 yards and scored two touchdowns on 36 carries in eight games prior to that one.
4. Last Saturday marked the 100th game of P.J. Fleck’s collegiate coaching career. Now in his ninth season overall as a head coach, Fleck has posted a 58-42 mark, including a 28-20 mark at Minnesota. He is 10th already in school history in games coached, and tied for eighth in wins. Fleck’s .583 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).
5. Through three games, Minnesota has had an average time of possession of 37:10. That figure ranks second in the Big Ten and fourth nationally behind only Wisconsin (40:57), Army (40:47) and UTEP (40:21). Saturday at Colorado, Minnesota held the ball for 40:13. It was the second time in the P.J. Fleck era that Minnesota had a TOP over 40 minutes, also doing so against Maryland in 2019 (42:53). In 48 games under Fleck, Minnesota has led in time of possession 37 times and gone 24-13 in those contests.
Gopher defensive end Danny Striggow of Long Lake spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm:
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)