The Gophers look to become bowl eligible on Saturday at Illinois.
Five Things You Need To Know
1. Minnesota heads to Illinois this weekend as the Gophers battle the Fighting Illini. Minnesota leads the all-time series with a 34-28-3 record, but is 13-16-1 against Illinois on the road. However, the Gophers have won two straight overall and three straight in the series on the road against the Illini. Minnesota has not lost at Illinois since 2001, when it fell 25-14. Since then the Gophers have posted a 36-10 win in 2003, a 27-20 victory in 2008 and a 38-34 triumph in 2010 at Memorial Stadium. Minnesota last won four straight at Illinois from 1901-1913 (first four games Minnesota ever played at Illinois). The Gophers prevailed 16-0 in 1901 before winning 32-0 in 1903. They then won 11-0 in 1911 and 19-9 in 1913. The Gophers’ winning streak was snapped in 1915 when the teams tied 6-6.
2. Minnesota’s three-game road winning streak at Illinois is the longest road winning streak against a Big Ten opponent since it won four straight at Northwestern from 1985-1993. Minnesota won 21-10 in 1985 and 45-33 in 1987. The Gophers then won 20-18 in 1989 and 28-26 in 1993. The Gophers next longest road winning streak against a Big Ten opponent took place from 1965-1975 when they downed Iowa six straight times on the road. Minnesota won those games 14-3 (1965), 10-0 (1967), 35-8 (1969), 19-14 (1971), 31-23 (1973) and 31-7 (1975).
3. Eleven different players have scored a touchdown for Minnesota this year through nine games, which is the same number of Gophers who scored all of last year (Gophers have 26 touchdowns this year, after recording 27 all of last year). A.J. Barker leads the way with seven receiving touchdowns this year and is followed by John Rabe (4 receiving touchdowns), Donnell Kirkwood (3 rushing), MarQueis Gray (3 rushing), Isaac Fruechte (2 receiving), Drew Goodger (2 receiving), Derrick Engel (1 receiving), Brandon Green (1 receiving), Rodrick Williams (1 rushing), James Gillum (1 rushing) and Michael Carter (1 interception return). Minnesota does not have a player this year who has scored a touchdown in more than one way. Last year, Duane Bennett scored five touchdowns, but in three different ways. Bennett had three rushing scores and returned a punt and kickoff for a touchdown as well.
4. A win on Saturday would be the first Big Ten road victory for coach Jerry Kill. It would also be Minnesota’s first Big Ten road win since a 38-34 win at Illinois on Nov. 13, 2010. Since then Minnesota has dropped six straight on the road in the Big Ten.
5. Minnesota did not record a sack in its first two Big?Ten games at Iowa and against Northwestern. Since then the Gophers have been causing havoc is the backfield. Minnesota had two sacks at Wisconsin and then recorded three against Purdue and Michigan. D.L. Wilhite leads the team and ranks second in the Big Ten with 6.5 sacks, while Ra’Shede Hageman is fourth in the conference with 5.0 sacks. The Gophers have 19 sacks this year, which is the same number they had in all of 2011.
A Gopher Victory would ...
• be Minnesota’s first Big Ten road win since a 38-34 win at Illinois on Nov. 13, 2010
• be the team’s second Big Ten win this season and third straight against Illinois
• be their fourth straight win at Illinois, which would tie their longest winning streak ever at Illinois
• be their sixth of the season, making Minnesota bowl eligible for the first time since 2009
• improve Jerry Kill’s record at Minnesota to 9-13
• improve Minnesota’s all-time record against Illinois to 35-28-3 and to 14-16-1 on the road
• be the program’s 652nd victory
A Gopher Loss would ...
• be Minnesota’s fifth of the season
• snap a four-game winning streak at Illinois and a three-game overall winning streak against the Illini
• Minnesota’s 29th all time to Illinois
• be the program’s 466th loss.
Tag(s): Gopher Football