|Minnesota Golden Gophers football|
|Athletic director||Mark Coyle|
|Head coach||P. J. Fleck |
4th season, 23-15 (.605)
|Stadium||TCF Bank Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|Bowl record||9–12 (.429)|
|Claimed national titles||7 (1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, 1960)|
|Unclaimed national titles||2 (1911, 1915)|
|Division titles||1 (2019)|
Penn State (rivalry)
|Heisman winners||Bruce Smith (1941)|
|Colors||Maroon and Gold|
|Fight song||Minnesota Rouser|
|Marching band||Minnesota Marching Band|
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. Since 2009, the Golden Gophers have played all their home games at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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.
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. Like many of the early coaches, his term lasted just one year.
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.:15
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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) including a home victory against No. 4 Penn State 31-26, their first victory over a top 5 team in 20 years. The win also marked the first time since 1904 that the Gophers started out a season 9-0.
Minnesota has won nine national championships from NCAA-designated major selectors.:111-113 Minnesota claims seven (1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960) of these championships. The 1960 championship is a consensus national championship.:120
|1911||Henry L. Williams||Billingsley||6-0-1|
|1915||Henry L. Williams||Billingsley||6-0-1|
|1934||Bernie Bierman||Billingsley, Boand, Dickinson, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)||8-0|
|1935||Bernie Bierman||Billingsley, Boand, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling||8-0|
|1936||Bernie Bierman||AP, Billingsley, Dickinson, Dunkel, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling||7-1|
|1940||Bernie Bierman||AP, Berryman, Boand, DeVold, Dickinson, Football Research, Houlgate, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)||8-0|
|1941||Bernie Bierman||AP, 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|
Claimed national championships
Minnesota has won 18 conference championships, 11 shared and seven outright.
|Season||Coach||Conference||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1892||No coach||Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the Northwest||5-0||3-0|
|1893||Wallace Winter||Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the Northwest||6-0||3-0|
|1900+||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||10-0-2||3-0-1|
|1903+||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||14-0-1||3-0-1|
|1904+||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||13-0||3-0|
|1906+||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||4-1||2-0|
|1909||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||6-1||3-0|
|1910+||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||6-1||2-0|
|1911||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||6-0-1||3-0-1|
|1915+||Henry L. Williams||Western Conference||6-0-1||3-0-1|
|1927+||Clarence Spears||Big Ten Conference||6-0-2||3-0-1|
|1933+||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||4-0-4||2-0-4|
|1934||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||8-0||5-0|
|1935+||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||8-0||5-0|
|1937||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||6-2||5-0|
|1938||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||6-2||4-1|
|1940||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||8-0||6-0|
|1941||Bernie Bierman||Big Ten Conference||8-0||5-0|
|1960+||Murray Warmath||Big Ten Conference||8-2||6-1|
|1967+||Murray Warmath||Big Ten Conference||8-2||6-1|
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.
|2019+||P.J. Fleck||Big Ten||West||N/A lost tiebreaker to Wisconsin|
Minnesota has played in 21 bowl games, amassing a record of 9-12.
|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|
|1884-1885||No games played||2|
|1886-1888||Frederick S. Jones||3||3-3||.500|
|1889||Al McCord, D. W. McCord, Frank Heffelfinger, Billy Morse||1||3-1||.750|
|1894||Tom Cochrane Jr.||1||3-1||.750|
|1899||Jack Harrison, William C. Leary||1||6-3-2||.636|
|1900-1921||Henry L. Williams||22||136-33-11||.786|
|1922-1924||William H. Spaulding||3||11-7-4||.591|
|1932-1941, 1945-1950||Bernie Bierman||16||93-35-6||.716|
|2017-present||P. J. Fleck||3||23-15||.605|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|No.||Player||Position||Career||Date of Retirement|
|10||Paul Giel||HB||1951-53||September 24, 1991|
|15||Sandy Stephens||QB||1959-61||November 18, 2000|
|54||Bruce Smith||RB||1940-41||June 27, 1977|
|72||Bronko Nagurski||FB/T||1927-29||October 27, 1979|
|78||Bobby Bell||LB/DE||1960-62||September 18, 2010|
|Bernie Bierman||Head Coach||1955||1932-1941|
|Fritz Crisler||Head Coach||1954||1930-1931|
|Lou Holtz||Head Coach||2008||1984-1985|
|Bronko Nagurski||T, FB||1951||1927-1929|
|Leo Nomellini||T, G||1977||1946-1949|
|Henry L. Williams||Head Coach||1951||1900-1921|
Inductees as of 2017.(p172)
|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|
|Tom Brown||DL||1984||BC Lions, 1961-1967|
|1983||Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 1953-1966|
|Golden Gophers in the NFL|
|NFL Draft selections|
|Hall of Famers:||7|
|Player||Position(s)||Draft Class||Current Team|
|De'Vondre Campbell||LB||2016||Arizona Cardinals|
|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|
|Maxx Williams||TE||2015||Arizona Cardinals|
|Chris Williamson||CB||2020||Atlanta Falcons|
|Damien Wilson||LB||2015||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Antoine Winfield Jr.||S||2020||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Simoni Lawrence||LB||Hamilton Tiger-Cats|
|Steven Richardson||DL||Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
|Drew Wolitarsky||WR||Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
Minnesota plays the other six Big Ten West opponents once per season.
|Even Numbered Years||Odd 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|
|Year||Indiana||Maryland||Michigan||Michigan State||Ohio State||Penn State||Rutgers|
Announced schedules as of February 11, 2020 
|vs Florida Atlantic||vs Miami (OH)||vs New Mexico State||vs Eastern Michigan||vs North Carolina||vs Buffalo||vs Mississippi State||at Mississippi State||at California|
|vs Tennessee Tech||at Colorado||vs Western Illinois||at North Carolina||vs Rhode Island||vs Bowling Green|
|vs BYU||vs Bowling Green||vs Colorado||vs Louisiana Lafayette||vs Nevada||at BYU||vs California|