Game 9: Michigan at Minnesota
Five Things You Need To Know
1. Minnesota welcomes Michigan to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday as the teams battle for the Little Brown Jug. The Gophers trail 24-71-3 in the all-time series. Minnesota's last win against Michigan was a 23-20 road triumph on Oct. 8, 2005. Since then the Wolverines have won four straight meetings (teams did not play in 2009 or 2010), which included a 58-0 win in Ann Arbor last year. Minnesota's last home win against Michigan was a 16-0 upset of the No. 1 Wolverines on Oct. 22, 1977. Saturday will be the first time that Michigan will play at TCF Bank Stadium (leaving Indiana as the only Big Ten team not to visit the new stadium).
2. True freshman Philip Nelson made his home debut last Saturday in Minnesota's 44-28 win against Purdue. Nelson became the first true freshman to start a home game for the Gophers since Rickie Foggie did so against Ohio State on Sept. 28, 1984 in the Metrodome. Nelson's home debut went about as well as it could as he passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for another 37 yards, as the Gophers ended a three-game Big Ten losing streak. Outside of the victory, it was somewhat reminiscent of Foggie's first home start. The Gophers fell 35-22 to the Buckeyes, but Foggie (also making his first career start) provided a glimpse into the future for the Gophers, as he passed for 129 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 38 yards. The following week, Foggie led Minnesota to a 33-24 home win against Indiana, ending a 19-game Big Ten losing streak. In his third career start Foggie ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns as Minnesota won 17-14 at Wisconsin, ending a five-game losing streak in Madison and securing Paul Bunyan's Axe. Nelson's third career start will come in a trophy game as well, as the Gophers look to end a four-game losing streak to Michigan and secure the Little Brown Jug.
3. In addition to starting three quarterbacks this season, the Gophers have also started three starting centers in Zach Mottla, Zac Epping and Jon Christenson. Through eight games, Minnesota has started eight different offensive linemen using two redshirt freshmen (Christenson and Josh Campion), one sophomore (Tommy Olson), three redshirt sophomores (Epping, Caleb Bak and Marek Lenkiewicz) and two redshirt juniors (Mottla and Ed Olson). Freshman quarterback Philip Nelson has started two games and he has had two different starting centers in Mottla and Christenson. Despite the new faces on the line, Nelson has not been sacked this year (Gopher QBs have been sacked 12 times).
4. Coach Jerry Kill has a career record of 82-30 at home. With a 4-1 home record this year, he is now 7-5 at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers have won six of their last eight home games and at 4-1 are guaranteed a winning record at home this year.
5. A win Saturday would be the Gophers second straight Big Ten win, which is something they have not done since 2010. Minnesota last won three straight Big Ten games in 2008.
Click on the Game Notes link above for Minnesota's complete game notes.