Date: Jan. 1, 2020
Time: 12 p.m. CT
Site: Tampa, Fla.
Stadium: Raymond James
Surface: Natural Grass
Series: First Meeting
Vs. SEC: 8-8-1
Last SEC: Lost 33-17 to Missouri in 2015 Citrus Bowl
Last SEC Win: Won 20-16 vs. Alabama in 2004 Music City Bowl
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. No. 16 Minnesota will play in its 21st bowl game when it faces No. 9 Auburn in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. The game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools and will also mark Minnesota’s first-ever appearance in the Florida-based Outback Bowl. The Outback Bowl will be the second straight bowl game for the Gophers under head coach P.J. Fleck, as Minnesota played in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit last season and beat Georgia Tech 34-10. The 24-point win was Minnesota’s largest bowl margin of victory in school history.
2. This season has been historic for Minnesota under Big Ten Coach of the Year P.J. Fleck. The Gophers won 10 games in the regular season for the first time since 1905 and won seven Big Ten games for the first time in school history. Minnesota won four Big Ten games by at least 20 points for the first time since 1934 and beat No. 5 Penn State at home. The Penn State win was Minnesota’s first win against a Top 5 five team since it beat No. 2 Penn State on the road in 1999. It was Minnesota’s first home win against a Top 5 team since it beat No. 1 Michigan 16-0 in 1977.
3. The Gophers are ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll and were ranked as high as No. 7 this year, which was the team’s highest ranking since it was No. 5 on Nov. 19, 1962. Minnesota is ranked. No. 18 in the College Football Playoffs and was ranked as high as No. 8, which was its highest CFP ranking in school history. The Outback Bowl will be Minnesota’s first bowl game between two ranked teams since the 1961 Rose Bowl against Washington. Minnesota was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, while Washington was No. 6. The last time the Gophers ended a season ranked in the AP Poll was 2003, when they went 10-3 (beat Oregon in the Sun Bowl) and were ranked No. 20 in the final AP Poll.
4. Thirteen Minnesota seniors will play in their final game for the Maroon and Gold in the Outback Back. They are: Thomas Barber, Shannon Brooks, Carter Coughlin, Winston DeLattiboudere, Tai’yon Devers, Jacob Herbers, Tyler Johnson, Kamal Martin, Alex Melvin, Sam Renner, Rodney Smith, Michael Tarbutt and Chris Williamson. The senior class has won 30 games. The modern day record for most wins by a senior class is 32, set in 2005. The school record is 46 and was set by the 1905 class.
5. Minnesota has never played a game in Tampa and has played only three games previously in Florida (2000 MicronPC.com Bowl in Ft. Lauderdale, 2007 at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton and 2015 Citrus Bowl in Orlando), but head coach P.J. Fleck is familiar with Tampa and Raymod James Stadium. Fleck coached the wide receivers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 prior to being named the head coach at Western Michigan. Tampa Bay’s receivers thrived under Fleck, as Vincent Jackson (72 catches, 1,384 yards, 8 TDs) made the Pro Bowl, and Mike Williams (63 catches, 996 yards and 9 TDs) and Tiquan Underwood (28 catches, 425 yards and 2 TDs) had some of the best years of their careers.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)