The University of Minnesota football team has accepted an invitation to compete in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Dec. 28, 2021, in Phoenix, Ariz. The Gophers, who went 8-4 in the regular season and 6-3 in the Big Ten, will face West Virginia from the Big 12. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Gophers and Mountaineers. West Virginia finished the season with a 6-6 record and was 4-5 in conference play.
The Guaranteed Rate Bowl will be the 22nd bowl game all-time for Minnesota and it will also be the third bowl game for the Gophers under head coach P.J. Fleck. Minnesota defeated Auburn in the 2020 Outback Bowl and Georgia Tech in the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl under Fleck’s leadership.
“It’s a tremendous honor to compete in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against West Virginia,” said Fleck. “Our team is excited to head to Phoenix, which is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and we look forward to facing a very talented West Virginia team. They are extremely well-coached and this game will be a terrific challenge for us. We are thankful to Guaranteed Rate, Executive Director Mike Nealy, Chairman of the Board Patrick Barkley, the Fiesta Bowl Organization and all the Yellow Jackets for inviting us. We look forward to representing the state of Minnesota on Dec. 28 in sunny Phoenix.”
Minnesota is 31-15-1 all-time against teams from the Big 12 and last faced a Big 12 opponent in 2015 when it hosted TCU. Minnesota most recently played a Big 12 opponent in a bowl game in 2012 when the Gophers faced Texas Tech in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl.
The Gophers, who have won four straight bowl games, will be playing in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl for the fourth time. Minnesota previously competed in the bowl game in 2009, 2008 and 2006 when it was known as the Insight Bowl.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)