Date: Oct. 24, 2020
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Site: Minneapolis, Minn.
Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
Capacity: 50,805 (except 2020)
Series: Michigan 75-25-3
Last: Michigan won 33-10 in Ann Arbor in 2017
Last Minnesota Win: Won 30-14 at Michigan in 2014
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Football. Finally. The No. 21 Gophers open the 2020 season against No. 18 Michigan in primetime on ABC. The Gophers last played a game – a 31-24 Jan. 1 Outback Bowl win against No. 9 Auburn – 297 days ago in Tampa, Fla. Now, Minnesota kicks off the season against Michigan. This will be the 104th meeting between the Big Ten rivals and the 97th time that the Gophers and Wolverines will compete for the Little Brown Jug – an iconic earthenware jug from Red Wing, Minn., that was unintentionally left by Michigan in the University of Minnesota Armory after a 6-6 tie in 1903. The tie snapped Michigan’s 28-game win streak and the Jug became the forefather of college football’s trophy games.
2. This is the first time that a ranked-Minnesota team faces another ranked opponent to start the season since 1968. That year, the No. 16 Gophers faced No. 2 USC to start the season. Saturday’s game is also the third straight home contest for Minnesota that will feature two ranked teams. Minnesota ended last season with home games against No. 5 Penn State and No. 13 Wisconsin. The Gophers were ranked No. 13 when they beat Penn State and No. 9 when they faced Wisconsin. Minnesota has won its last two games when ranked and facing a higher ranked team (Penn State and Auburn last season). The last time Minnesota hosted three straight homes games between ranked teams was 1956 (Nov. 3: No. 8 Minnesota beat No. 11 Pitt; Nov. 10: No. 6 Minnesota lost to No. 15 Iowa and Nov. 17: No. 17 Minnesota beat No. 3 Michigan State).
3. Minnesota is 13-2 in its last 15 games and has recorded wins against Auburn, Fresno State, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, South Dakota State and Wisconsin. Minnesota’s 13-2 mark ranks second in the Big Ten behind only Ohio State, which is 14-1. Penn State and Iowa are 12-3, while Wisconsin is 11-4 and Michigan is 9-6. Indiana and Michigan State are both 8-7, while Nebraska is 7-8 and Illinois is 6-9. Purdue and Northwestern are both 5-10, while Maryland is 3-12 and Rutgers is 2-13.
4. Two hallmarks of a P.J. Fleck team have been controlling the clock and playing clean football. Last year, Minnesota ended the season ranked fourth in the nation in time of possession at 34:12 and tied for fifth in fewest penalties per game at 4.31.
5. Minnesota has won 19-straight nonconference games, which is the longest streak in the nation. Minnesota’s last nonconference loss was to No. 2 TCU to start the season in 2015. That streak will remain intact as the Gophers are scheduled to play an eight-game regular-season conference schedule this year. The last time Minnesota started a season with a Big Ten game was 1994 when it hosted Penn State. Minnesota played at Penn State in 1993. Prior to that it was 1976 when it hosted Indiana. Ironically, Minnesota opens the 2021 season against Big Ten opponent Ohio State.
Gopher junior quarterback Tanner Morgan joined MNN sports director Mike Grimm to preview the big game: