Minnesota Golden Gophers football

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Minnesota Golden Gophers football
AmericanFootball current event.svg 2021 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team
Minnesota Golden Gophers logo.svg
First season 1882
Athletic director Mark Coyle
Head coach P. J. Fleck
4th season, 23–15 (.605)
Stadium TCF Bank Stadium
(capacity: 50,805 [1] )
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Big Ten Conference
DivisionWest
All-time record70652444 (.571)
Bowl record912 (.429)
Claimed national titles7 (1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, 1960)
Unclaimed national titles2 (1911, 1915)
Conference titles18
Division titles1 (2019) [2]
Rivalries Wisconsin (rivalry)
Iowa (rivalry)
Michigan (rivalry)
Penn State (rivalry)
Nebraska (rivalry)
Heisman winners Bruce Smith (1941)
Consensus All-Americans34
Current uniform
Golden gophers football unif.png
ColorsMaroon and Gold [3]
         
Fight song Minnesota Rouser
Mascot Goldy Gopher
Marching band Minnesota Marching Band
Outfitter Nike
Website gophersports.com

The Minnesota Golden Gophers football team represents the University of Minnesota in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. Founded in 1882, Minnesota has been a member of the Big Ten Conference since its inception in 1896 as the Western Conference. The Golden Gophers claim seven national championships: 1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960. [4] Since 2009, the Golden Gophers have played all their home games at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [5]

Contents

History

The Minnesota Golden Gophers college football team played its first game on September 29, 1882, a 4–0 victory over Hamline University. Eight years later in 1890, the Gophers played host to Wisconsin in a 63–0 victory. With the exception of 1906, the Gophers and Badgers have played each other every year since then. The 128 games played against each other is the most played rivalry in Division I-A college football.

Early years

The sport's beginnings were humble. Students began gathering to play the game recreationally and its popularity grew.

Once the sport had taken off, it was only a matter of time before a team was formed to play against other schools. Early teams were very loosely organized, not requiring all of the players to be students and not having designated coaches. The players on the team started to recruit faculty members who had played football at schools in the East to help organize the team. The team gained their first coach in 1883: Thomas Peebles, a philosophy professor who also recruited a cheer team for the football players, which later established him as the father of American cheerleading. [6] Like many of the early coaches, his term lasted just one year. [7]

Some years, the football team played without a coach. Other years, they played with multiple coaches. In total, from 1882 through 1899, the team played 16 seasons of football and had 15 different coaches. As the years went by, the leadership structure started to become more formal. In 1900, the hiring of Dr. Henry L. Williams, the school’s first full-time salaried coach, signaled the end of the early, chaotic days. [8] :15

Glory years

The Minnesota's Golden Gophers, 1935 National Champions, coaches: Bert Baston, end coach; Bernie Bierman, head coach; and George Hauser, line coach. The fourth varsity tutor, Lowek (Red) Dawson, who coached the backfield, was absent when the photograph was taken Bert Baston 1935Dec1.jpg
The Minnesota's Golden Gophers, 1935 National Champions, coaches: Bert Baston, end coach; Bernie Bierman, head coach; and George Hauser, line coach. The fourth varsity tutor, Lowek (Red) Dawson, who coached the backfield, was absent when the photograph was taken

The Gophers enjoyed quite a bit of success in the early 20th century, posting winning records from 1900 to 1919. Head coach Henry L. Williams developed the "Minnesota shift", a predecessor to later quick line shifts, which was adopted widely. [9] Also Henry L. Williams led Minnesota to one of the NCAA's longest unbeaten streaks of 35 games, from 1903 to 1905 with 34 wins and 1 tie. [10] In 1932, Bernie Bierman became the Gopher head coach and led the Gophers to their first dynasty. From 1934 to 1936 the Gophers went on a run of winning three straight National Championships, the last Division I team to accomplish this feat. During the run, Minnesota went unbeaten in 28 straight games, 21 of which were consecutive victories. The school record for consecutive victories is 24, which spanned 3 seasons from 1903 to 1905. Led by halfback Bruce Smith, the Gophers also won two more national championships in 1940 and 1941, with Smith winning the Heisman Trophy in 1941. Those two seasons comprised most of an 18-game winning streak that stretched from 1939 to 1942.

After some mediocre seasons throughout the remainder of the 1940s and 1950s, the Gophers rose back to prominence in 1960 with their seventh national championship (because polling ended after the regular season, the Gophers were crowned AP and UPI national champions despite losing the Rose Bowl to Washington). That national championship followed a 1–8 record in 1958 and 2–7 record in 1959. Minnesota played in bowl games the two following years as well, in 1961 and 1962. The Gophers earned their first berth in the Rose Bowl by winning the 1960 Big Ten title. The following year, Minnesota returned to Pasadena despite a second-place finish in the conference. The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Big Ten champions in 1961, declined an invitation to the Rose Bowl because of tension between academics and athletics at the school. Minnesota beat UCLA 21–3 to claim its first and only Rose Bowl victory. Minnesota's last Big Ten title was in 1967, tying the Indiana Hoosiers and Purdue Boilermakers atop the standings.

Recent history

Pinnix07.jpg
Amir Pinnix celebrates a touchdown with D.J. Burris on September 1, 2007
Goldy the Gopher.jpg
Goldy showing off his ring at a Gopher Football Game

After their 8–2 record in 1967, the Gophers did not win 8 games in a season again until they finished 8–4 in 1999. [11] Their 10–3 record in 2003 gave the Gophers their first 10 win season since 1905.

The 2006 team had the dubious distinction of blowing a 38–7 third-quarter lead in the Insight Bowl against Texas Tech, losing 44–41 in overtime. The collapse, which was the biggest in the history of Division I-A postseason football, directly led to the firing of head coach Glen Mason. On January 17, 2007, Tim Brewster was officially announced as the next head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. [12]

In 1981, the Gophers played their last game in Memorial Stadium and played their home games in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome until 2008. The Gophers moved back to campus with a 20–13 win against Air Force on September 12, 2009, when their new home, TCF Bank Stadium, opened.

In 2010, after a 1–6 record to start the season, the Gophers football head coach Tim Brewster was fired. Jeff Horton served as the interim head coach going 2–3. On December 6, 2010, Jerry Kill, former Northern Illinois University head coach, was hired to take over the University of Minnesota football program. [13]

In 2014, The Gophers reached an 8–4 record while going 5–3 in Big Ten games, falling just short of making the Big Ten Championship Game by losing to The Wisconsin Badgers in the season finale. After being revitalized in the Big Ten contention, The Gophers were awarded an appearance in the Citrus Bowl on January 1 against Missouri.

In 2018, the Gophers defeated the Badgers to reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe and end a 14 season losing streak.

In 2019, the Gophers turned in a historic season, going 11-2 (7-2 in conference play) [14] including a home victory against No. 4 Penn State 31-26, their first victory over a top 5 team in 20 years. [15] The win also marked the first time since 1904 that the Gophers started out a season 9-0. [16]

The 91st battle for the Little Brown Jug between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Michigan Wolverines in the Metrodome 2008-1108-MN-MI-MetrodomePan02.JPG
The 91st battle for the Little Brown Jug between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Michigan Wolverines in the Metrodome

Conference affiliations

Championships

National championships

Minnesota has won nine national championships from NCAA-designated major selectors. [17] [18] :111–113 Minnesota claims seven (1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960) of these championships. [19] The 1960 championship is a consensus national championship. [18] :120

SeasonCoachSelectorsRecordBowlResult
1904 Henry L. Williams Billingsley 13–0
1911 Henry L. WilliamsBillingsley6–0–1
1915 Henry L. WilliamsBillingsley6–0–1
1934 Bernie Bierman Billingsley, Boand, Dickinson, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)8–0
1935 Bernie BiermanBillingsley, Boand, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling 8–0
1936 Bernie Bierman AP, Billingsley, Dickinson, Dunkel, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling7–1
1940 Bernie BiermanAP, Berryman, Boand, DeVold, Dickinson, Football Research, Houlgate, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)8–0
1941 Bernie BiermanAP, Billingsley, Boand, DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)8–0
1960 Murray Warmath AP, FB News, NFF, UPI 8–2 Rose L 7–17

Claimed national championships

Conference championships

Minnesota has won 18 conference championships, 11 shared and seven outright.

SeasonCoachConferenceOverall RecordConference Record
1892 No coach Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the Northwest 5–03–0
1893 Wallace Winter Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the Northwest6–03–0
1900 Henry L. Williams Western Conference 10–0–23–0–1
1903Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference14–0–13–0–1
1904Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference13–03–0
1906Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference4–12–0
1909 Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference6–13–0
1910Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference6–12–0
1911 Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference6–0–13–0–1
1915Henry L. WilliamsWestern Conference6–0–13–0–1
1927 Clarence Spears Big Ten Conference 6–0–23–0–1
1933 Bernie Bierman Big Ten Conference4–0–42–0–4
1934 Bernie BiermanBig Ten Conference8–05–0
1935Bernie BiermanBig Ten Conference8–05–0
1937 Bernie BiermanBig Ten Conference6–25–0
1938 Bernie BiermanBig Ten Conference6–24–1
1940 Bernie BiermanBig Ten Conference8–06–0
1941 Bernie BiermanBig Ten Conference8–05–0
1960 Murray Warmath Big Ten Conference8–26–1
1967Murray WarmathBig Ten Conference8–26–1

† Co-champions

Division championships

Big Ten Football adopted divisions in 2011, with the winner of each division playing for the conference championship. The divisions were known as Legends and Leaders from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, the divisions were realigned geographically into East and West. Minnesota competes in the Big Ten West Division. Minnesota has shared one division title, in 2019. [2]

SeasonCoachConferenceDivisionOpponentCG result
2019 P.J. Fleck Big TenWestN/A lost tiebreaker to Wisconsin

† Co-champions

Bowl games

Minnesota has played in 21 bowl games, amassing a record of 9–12. [20]

No.SeasonCoachBowlOpponentResult
1 1960 Murray Warmath Rose Bowl Washington L 7–17
2 1961 Murray Warmath Rose Bowl UCLA W 21–3
3 1977 Cal Stoll Hall of Fame Classic Maryland L 6–21
4 1985 John Gutekunst Independence Bowl Clemson W 20–13
5 1986 John Gutekunst Liberty Bowl Tennessee L 14–21
6 1999 Glen Mason Sun Bowl Oregon L 20–24
7 2000 Glen Mason MicronPC.com Bowl NC State L 30–38
8 2002 Glen Mason Music City Bowl Arkansas W 29–14
9 2003 Glen Mason Sun Bowl Oregon W 31–30
10 2004 Glen Mason Music City Bowl Alabama W 20–16
11 2005 Glen Mason Music City Bowl Virginia L 31–34
12 2006 Glen Mason Insight Bowl Texas Tech L 41–44
13 2008 Tim Brewster Insight Bowl Kansas L 21–42
14 2009 Tim Brewster Insight Bowl Iowa State L 13–14
15 2012 Jerry Kill Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Texas Tech L 31–34
16 2013 Jerry Kill Texas Bowl Syracuse L 17–21
17 2014 Jerry Kill Citrus Bowl Missouri L 17–33
18 2015 Tracy Claeys Quick Lane Bowl Central Michigan W 21–14
19 2016 Tracy Claeys Holiday Bowl Washington State W 17–12
20 2018 P. J. Fleck Quick Lane Bowl Georgia Tech W 34–10
21 2019 P. J. Fleck Outback Bowl Auburn W 31–24

Head coaches

TenureCoachYearsRecordPct.
1882No coach11–1.500
1883 Thomas Peebles 11–2.333
1884–1885No games played2
1886–1888 Frederick S. Jones 33–3.500
1889 Al McCord, D. W. McCord, Frank Heffelfinger, Billy Morse 13–1.750
1890 Tom Eck 15–1–1.786
1891 Edward Moulton 13–1–1.700
1892No coach15–01.000
1893 Wallace Winter 16–01.000
1894 Tom Cochrane Jr. 13–1.750
1895 Pudge Heffelfinger 17–3.700
1896–1897 Alexander Jerrems 212–6.667
1898 Jack Minds 14–5.444
1899 Jack Harrison, William C. Leary 16–3–2.636
1900–1921 Henry L. Williams 22136–33–11.786
1922–1924 William H. Spaulding 311–7–4.591
1925–1929 Clarence Spears 528–9–3.738
1930–1931 Fritz Crisler 210–7–1.583
1932–1941, 1945–1950 Bernie Bierman 1693–35–6.716
1942–1944 George Hauser 315–11–1.574
1951–1953 Wes Fesler 310–13–4.444
1954–1971 Murray Warmath 1887–78–7.526
1972–1978 Cal Stoll 739–39.500
1979–1983 Joe Salem 519–35–1.355
1984–1985 Lou Holtz 210–12.455
1986–1991 John Gutekunst 629–36–2.448
1992–1996 Jim Wacker 516–39.291
1997–2006 Glen Mason 1064–57.529
2007–2010 Tim Brewster 415–30.333
2010 Jeff Horton 12–3.400
2011–2015 Jerry Kill 529–29.500
2015–2016 Tracy Claeys 211–8.579
2017–present P. J. Fleck 323–15.605

Rivalries

Wisconsin

The Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry is the most-played rivalry in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The winner of the game receives Paul Bunyan's Axe, a tradition that started in 1948 after the first trophy, the Slab of Bacon, disappeared. Minnesota dominated the series for most of the first half of the 20th century, while Wisconsin has similarly dominated the series since the early 1990s, culminating in a 14-game win streak for the Badgers which gave Wisconsin its first-ever lead in the series in 2017. Wisconsin leads the series 61–60–8 through the 2019 season. [21]

Iowa

The winner of the game is awarded the Floyd of Rosedale, 98 lb (44 kg) a bronze pig trophy. The trophy began in 1935, when, in an effort to deescalate tensions between the two teams and fan bases, Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson bet Iowa Governor Clyde L. Herring a prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota would win the game. After Minnesota's victory, Governor Herring obtained a pig donated by Rosedale Farms and named the hog after Governor Olson, giving birth to Floyd of Rosedale. Minnesota leads the series with Iowa 62–49–2 through the 2019 season. [22]

Michigan

The Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry is the first and oldest trophy game in college football history. The winner of the game is awarded the Little Brown Jug, a five-gallon earthenware jug. The jug was used by Michigan in the 1903 matchup to prevent Minnesota from tampering with its water supply, and, according to folklore, stolen from Michigan by a Minnesota custodian after the game. Michigan leads the series 75–25–3 with the last game played in 2017. [23]

Penn State

The winner of the game is awarded the Governor's Victory Bell. The Governor's Victory Bell was introduced to mark Penn State's first conference game after being added to the Big Ten Conference, which came against Minnesota in 1993. Penn State leads the series 9–6 with the last game played in 2019. [24]

Nebraska

The winner of the Minnesota-Nebraska game is awarded the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy, which is an unofficial trophy created by fans after a good-humored back and forth between the Twitter accounts for Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher and a parody account for then-head coach Bo Pelini. The trophy was officially rejected by both universities, although groups associated with each university continue to use the trophy as a fundraiser around the annual matchup. Minnesota leads the series with Nebraska 33–25–2 through the 2019 season. [25]

Facilities

TCF Bank Stadium

TCF Bank Stadium is the football stadium for the Minnesota Golden Gophers college football team at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 52,525-seat on-campus "horseshoe" style stadium is designed to support future expansion to seat up to 80,000 people, and cost $303.3 million to build. The stadium was the temporary home of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League for the 2014 and 2015 seasons while U.S. Bank Stadium was being built.

TCF Bank Stadium, photographed from the corner of University Ave and Oak St TCF Bank Stadium - University of Minnesota 4.jpg
TCF Bank Stadium, photographed from the corner of University Ave and Oak St

Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex

The complex houses the team administrative offices, locker room, meeting rooms, equipment room, training room, and players’ lounges. It is named after Gopher teammates from the 1920s, George Gibson and Bronko Nagurski.

Former venues

Gopher football inside the Metrodome Minnesota Gophers.jpg
Gopher football inside the Metrodome

Individual award winners

Retired numbers

Minnesota has retired five jersey numbers. [26] [27]

No.PlayerPositionCareerDate of Retirement
10 Paul Giel HB 1951–53September 24, 1991
15 Sandy Stephens QB 1959–61November 18, 2000
54 Bruce Smith RB 1940–41June 27, 1977
72 Bronko Nagurski FB/T 1927–29October 27, 1979
78 Bobby Bell LB/DE 1960–62September 18, 2010

National

Big Ten Conference

College Football Hall of Famers

Inductees as of 2017. [52] [53] :173

NamePosition(s)InductedYears
Bert Baston End 19541914–1916
Bobby Bell T 19911960–1962
Bernie Bierman Head Coach 19551932–1941
1945–1950
Tom Brown G 20031958–1960
Fritz Crisler Head Coach 19541930–1931
Carl Eller DT 20061959–1962
George Franck RB 20021938–1940
Paul Giel RB 19751951–1953
Lou Holtz Head Coach 20081984–1985
Herb Joesting FB 19541925–1927
Pug Lund RB 19581932–1934
Bobby Marshall End 19711904–1906
John McGovern QB 19661908–1910
Bronko Nagurski T, FB 19511927–1929
Leo Nomellini T, G 19771946–1949
Eddie Rogers End 19681900–1903
Bruce Smith RB 19721939–1941
Sandy Stephens QB 20111959–1961
Clayton Tonnemaker C 19801946–1949
Ed Widseth T 19541934–1936
Dick Wildung T 19571940–1942
Henry L. Williams Head Coach 19511900–1921

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Inductees as of 2017. [53] (p172)

NamePosition(s)ClassTeam(s), Years
Bobby Bell DE, LB 1983 Kansas City Chiefs, 1963–1974
Tony Dungy Head Coach 2016 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1996–2001
Indianapolis Colts, 2002–2008
Carl Eller DE 2004 Minnesota Vikings, 1964–1978
Seattle Seahawks, 1979
Bud Grant Head Coach 1994 Minnesota Vikings, 1967–1983, 1985
Bronko Nagurski FB 1963 Chicago Bears 1930–1937, 1943
Leo Nomellini DT 1969 San Francisco 49ers 1950–1963
Charlie Sanders TE 2007 Detroit Lions 1968–1977

Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Inductees as of 2017. [54] [55]

NamePosition(s)ClassTeam(s), Years
Tom Brown DL 1984 BC Lions, 1961–1967
Bud Grant TE
Head Coach
1983 Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 1953–1966

Current professional players

NFL

[56]

Golden Gophers in the NFL
NFL Draft selections
Total selected:333
1st Round:18
NFL achievements
Total Players:215
Hall of Famers:7
Source: [53]
PlayerPosition(s)Draft ClassCurrent Team
Rashod Bateman WR 2021 Baltimore Ravens
Briean Boddy-Calhoun CB Undrafted in 2016 San Francisco 49ers
De'Vondre Campbell LB 2016 Green Bay Packers
Blake Cashman LB 2019 New York Jets
Carter Coughlin LB 2020 New York Giants
Tyler Johnson WR 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kamal Martin LB 2020 Green Bay Packers
Eric Murray S 2016 Houston Texans
Ryan Santoso K/P Undrafted in 2018 New York Giants
Rodney Smith RB Undrafted in 2020 Carolina Panthers
Benjamin St-Juste CB 2021 Washington Football Team
Maxx Williams TE 2015 Arizona Cardinals
Chris Williamson CB 2020 Atlanta Falcons
Damien Wilson LB 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars
Antoine Winfield Jr. S 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CFL

[57]

PlayerPosition(s)Current Team
Simoni Lawrence LB Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Steven Richardson DL Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Drew Wolitarsky WR Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Other notable coaches and players

Future opponents

Big Ten West-division opponents

Purdue Boilermakers visiting the Minnesota Golden Gophers on November 5, 2016. The maroon and gold jerseys are stitched by Lee's Pro Shop in Pine City. PurdueAtMinnesota2016.jpeg
Purdue Boilermakers visiting the Minnesota Golden Gophers on November 5, 2016. The maroon and gold jerseys are stitched by Lee's Pro Shop in Pine City.

Minnesota plays the other six Big Ten West opponents once per season.

Even Numbered YearsOdd Number Years
vs Iowa at Iowa
at Wisconsin vs Wisconsin
at Nebraska vs Nebraska
vs Northwestern at Northwestern
at Illinois vs Illinois
vs Purdue at Purdue

Big Ten East-division opponents

YearIndianaMarylandMichiganMichigan StateOhio StatePenn StateRutgers
2021AwayHomeHome
2022AwayAwayHome
2023HomeHomeAway
2024HomeAwayAway
2025HomeHomeAway

Non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of February 11, 2020 [78]

202120222023202420252026202720282029
vs Miami (OH) vs New Mexico State vs Eastern Michigan vs North Carolina vs Buffalo vs Mississippi State at Mississippi State at California
at Colorado vs Western Illinois at North Carolina vs Rhode Island vs Bowling Green
vs Bowling Green vs Colorado vs Louisiana vs Nevada at BYU vs California

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The Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry is the first and oldest trophy collegiate game in college football. The game is a rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines football team of the University of Michigan and the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team of the University of Minnesota. The Little Brown Jug is an earthenware jug that serves as a trophy awarded to the winner of the game. It is one of the oldest and most played rivalries in American college football, dating to 1892. The Little Brown Jug is the most regularly exchanged rivalry trophy in college football, the oldest trophy game in FBS college football, and the second oldest rivalry trophy overall, next to the 1899 Territorial Cup, contested between Arizona and Arizona State.

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