Game 4: Syracuse at Minnesota
Five Things You Need To Know
1. Minnesota welcomes Syracuse to TCF Bank Stadium for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday night. It will be the fourth meeting all-time between the two schools and first since 2009. The Gophers are 2-1 all-time against Syracuse and are 1-0 at home (35-33 win in 1996). In 2009, Minnesota began the season at Syracuse and won 23-20 in overtime.
2. The Gophers are 3-0 on the season and are looking to close out their non-conference schedule with a perfect 4-0 record. The last time Minnesota did that was during the 2008 season, when it began the year with wins against Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Montana State and Florida Atlantic. Minnesota has already secured a winning non-conference record, which is something it had not done since 2009 when the Gophers were 3-1 outside of Big Ten play. Minnesota ended 2011 and 2010 with 1-3 marks against non-conference opponents. Minnesota joins Ohio State and Northwestern as the only remaining undefeated teams in the Big Ten.
3. Minnesota is 3-0 for the first time since 2008. That year, the Gophers started the season 4-0. It is the 48th time in school history that Minnesota has started the season with a 3-0 record, but it is just the 16th time since 1950. In addition, it is just the fourth time since 1950 that Minnesota is 3-0 after starting the season on the road (others 2005, 1996 and 1960). In 2005, Minnesota began with a win at Tulsa (started season 4-0) and then finished the year with a 7-5 record. In 1996, the Gophers won on the road at NE Louisiana (started season 3-0) and ended the year with a 4-7 record. In 1960, Minnesota won at Nebraska (started season 7-0) before ending its year at the Rose Bowl with an 8-2 record. The Gophers began this season with a win at UNLV.
4. The Gophers have scored 28 or more points in all three games this year. They beat UNLV 30-27 in triple overtime and then beat New Hampshire 44-7. Last Saturday, Minnesota topped Western Michigan 28-23. It is the first time that Minnesota has scored 28 or more points in three straight games since 2009. That year, the Gophers scored 35, 28 and 35 in three straight games. Minnesota scored 28 or more points only once last season, during a 29-23 win against Miami (Ohio).
5. Four Minnesota players - A.J. Barker, John Rabe, Isaac Fruechte and Drew Goodger - have caught a touchdown this year. Their career catches to touchdowns ratio is pretty compelling. Barker has 11 career catches and four touchdowns. Rabe has 10 career catches and three touchdowns, while Fruechte has six career catches and one touchdown. Goodger has caught three career passes and has one touchdown. Combined the group has nine touchdowns on 30 career receptions.
Click on the Game Notes link above for Minnesota's complete game notes.