Date: Sept. 7, 2019
Time: 9:30 p.m. CT
Site: Fresno, Calif.
Stadium: Bulldog Stadium
Series: Minn. leads 1-0
Last: Minnesota won 21-14 on 9/8/18 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The Gophers take to the road for the first time this season when they visit Fresno State for a night game in California. Minnesota is 1-0 all-time against the Bulldogs as the Gophers posted a 21-14 home victory last season. The loss was one of only two on the year for Fresno State, as the Bulldogs finished the season with a 12-2 record and a No. 18 ranking. Last season was the first time that Minnesota recorded a win (21-14 vs. No. 18 Fresno State) against a team that finished ranked in the final poll of the season since 1999. Minnesota, which finished the 1999 season ranked No. 18, beat No. 2 Penn State (finished season No. 11) and Illinois (finished season No. 24) in the regular season.
2. Minnesota will play a late Saturday night game – kick is slated for 9:30 p.m. CT – on the West Coast for the second time under head coach P.J. Fleck (Gophers are 7-3 in night games under Fleck). The Gophers played at Oregon State on Sept. 9, 2017, and that game kicked off at 9:05 p.m. CT. Minnesota prevailed 48-14 against the Beavers and the 48 points were the most the Gophers scored on the road since they beat Northwestern 49-21 in 1980. The Oregon State game was the last time that Minnesota played a game in the Pacific Time Zone. The last time Minnesota played a game in California was Sept. 3, 2011 (Minnesota lost 19-17 at No. 25 USC).
3. Minnesota beat South Dakota State 28-21 to start the season. The Gophers have now won 16 straight non-conference games, which is the longest streak in the nation. Minnesota’s last loss in a non-conference game was on Sept. 3, 2015, when it fell 23-17 at home to No. 2 TCU. The Gophers are 20-1 in their past 21 non-conference home games and have won 11 straight non-conference home games.
4. Minnesota has been one of the least penalized teams in the nation under head coach P.J. Fleck. In 26 games under Fleck, the Gophers have been penalized a total of 93 times for 888 yards. In 2016 – the season before Fleck got to Minnesota – the Gophers were penalized 88 times for 743 yards in 13 games. Under Fleck, the Gophers have taken fewer penalties than their opponents in 21 of 26 games. However, Minnesota is 3-2 when it has taken more or the same amount of penalties as its opponent under Fleck.
5. Rodney Smith and Tyler Johnson eclipsed career milestones against South Dakota State. Smith passed 3,000 career rushing yards and now ranks seventh in school history with 3,051 rushing yards in 40 career games. Johnson passed 2,000 career receiving yards and now ranks seventh in school history with 2,015 receiving yards in 37 career games.
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm sat down with Gopher defensive back Chris Williamson, who had an interception return for a touchdown in last week’s win over South Dakota State:
(photo courtesy of Gopher Sports – photographer Brad Rempel)
(info courtesy of Gopher Sports Communications)