Gophers Football loss to Bowling Green among worst in program history – The Minnesota Daily

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Minnesota’s unexpected 10-14 loss to Bowling Green sparked a conversation about how they rank among the worst in the program.

Ethan Fin

Eyes ahead, quarterback Tanner Morgan looks to pass the ball during the Gophers football game against Bowling Green at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday, September 25. The Gophers fell to the Falcons, 14-10.

As a 30.5-point favorite against Bowling Green, Minnesota’s shocking 10-14 loss was statistically the biggest upset in college football this season and the biggest in two seasons. The monumental upheaval has raised the question of where it ranks among the Gophers’ most surprising losses in their 139-year program history.

What makes a loss bad is obviously subjective, but there is no escaping historical upheaval. There is ultimately a reason you play the games, no matter what the difference in talent, every team always has a chance to come away with a win.

“I don’t assess losses, losses are losses, losses are lost,” Gophers head coach PJ Fleck said after the game. “Bad loss, good loss, I get it all. There are bad wins, good wins, it’s either a win or a loss and you have the chance to learn from it all.

The Gophers have played nearly 1,300 games in their program history, losing 521, but five losses in particular stand out from the rest.

October 5, 1898: Minnesota: 0 Alumni: 5

A game that took place over 122 years ago obviously doesn’t have the same box score or context as it does today. The Gophers have faced a team called Alumni three times in their history (1887, 1898 and 1899), with the only defeat coming in 1898.

One would assume the team was made up of University of Minnesota alumni and their football team, but it’s unclear how old the alumni were. In today’s context, a loss to a team made up of former Gophers students would be far more than a surprising upheaval.

September 27, 1986: Minnesota: 20 Pacific: 24

In a game played in a much more modern football setting, the Gophers suffered a surprising 20-24 loss to Pacific. The University of the Pacific located in Stockton, California, played the 1986 football season at the NCAA Division 1-A (FCS) level.

Prior to facing the Gophers, the Tigers’ last winning season dates back to 1977, and they were a far cry from legendary lineup like Minnesota.

In John Gutekunst’s first season as head coach, the Gophers lost a home game in September to Pacific, who finished 4-7 this season and cut their football schedule less than 10 years later. . The early loss was a less than ideal way for Gutekunst to start his career with Minnesota.

August 30, 1997: Minnesota: 3 Hawaii: 17

In the first season of another Minnesota head coach, the Glen Mason Gophers team fell short against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. It’s a tough job for any first-year head coach to win their first game, but a loss to a team from Hawaii that had just finished a 2-10 season the year before was always very disappointing.

The Rainbow Warriors would finish 3-9 in the 1997 season. However, Mason did not let his early struggles define the coaching career of his Gophers, earning the fourth most career wins in the program’s history. (64).

September 11, 2010: Minnesota: 38 South Dakota: 41

Following Mason’s replacement four years into his tenure as head coach, the Tim Brewster-led Gophers were eliminated at home by FCS foe South Dakota. Competing in an entire division lower than Minnesota, the Coyotes’ surprise victory was the highlight of their season as they finished 4-7 in 2010.

The shocking loss would be Minnesota’s second in program history to an FCS opponent, including the first to Pacific 24 years earlier. 2010 would only be the Coyotes’ third season at the Division 1-A level.

September 10, 2011: Minnesota: 21 State of New Mexico: 28

New Mexico state football has enjoyed two winning seasons since the turn of the millennium. The Gophers’ shocking loss in Jerry Kill’s second game as head coach was against an Aggies team that would end the season 4-9.

The result on the pitch was far from the only story, as Jerry Kill would be rushed to hospital with just 20 seconds left in the game after suffering a seizure on the pitch. Considering the circumstances, the outcome of the game was much less important, but nonetheless a game the Minnesota football schedule would like to forget.


Just as Bowling Green shocked the Gophers on Saturday, Minnesota will have every chance of defeating every other opponent they face this season. A loss has never made the history of a season, and this will not be the first.

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