What a difference a season has made.
After a 7-6 finish last season, few predicted an improvement of three wins and the most regular-season wins since 1905 for P.J. Fleck and Co.
Even then, having the two losses be to Minnesota’s two biggest rivals in Iowa and Wisconsin stings more and makes it hard to talk about the success of this team, at least in the short term.
Still, Minnesota has a chance to finish the season with a bowl win to improve to 11-2 on the regular season. 11 wins would be the most since the 1904 National Championship season under Henry Williams. While many Gophers fans are sad the season won’t end in Pasadena, there are still many positive things to take out of the regular 2019 regular season.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
31: In the fourth quarter loss to Wisconsin, Gophers Senior Tyler Johnson caught his 31st career receiving touchdown. That catch tied him with Ron Johnson for the most in school history. Tyler Johnson also passed Ron Johnson in career receptions in the game, moving him to second all-time in school history. Tyler Johnson is also just 19 yards away from the school record in yards and will look to pass Eric Decker in his last game in a maroon and gold jersey.
1000: The trio of Rashod Bateman, Rodney Smith, and Tyler Johnson all eclipsed 1000 yards throughout the course of the season with Smith doing it on the ground and Bateman and Johnson doing it through the air. While Smith and Johnson won’t be back in 2020, Bateman will look to improve his season stats in his junior season and will look to have a great last game, wherever the Gophers end up in their bowl game. Bateman finished his last regular-season game with six catches for 147 yards and one touchdown. That gave him 1170 on the season, just one yard more than Tyler Johnson had in 2018.
28: Tanner Morgan finishes the regular season with 28 touchdown passes after finishing the game against Wisconsin with two. Morgan already had the single-season record, passing Adam Weber earlier this season. The redshirt sophomore will look to improve on those numbers in the bowl game and into next season.
13: The Gophers recognized 13 seniors at TCF Bank Stadium before Saturday’s game. Those 13–including Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks who have been there since the Jerry Kill days–played their last game in Minnesota on Saturday afternoon.
603: The Senior trio of Kamal Martin, Carter Coughlin and Thomas Barber have combined for 603 tackles throughout their Gophers careers to date. Martin led the trio on Saturday with nine tackles total (four solo). Coughlin has one more game to try to Lamanzer Williams for second place all-time in school history.
22: Through three seasons, P.J. Fleck has 22 wins for the Gophers with a chance to add one more in 2019 (or 2020 if the Gophers receive a New Year’s Bowl). Fleck has won many haters over with his success this season and will look to build off that with a fantastic recruiting class coming in next season. Fleck’s “Row the Boat” culture continues to unify the university and the Minnesota community as a whole.
61: With the win, the Badgers now have 61 wins against the Gophers, just one more win than Minnesota has against Wisconsin. The overall series was tied 60-60-8 coming into the game. In 2020, the two teams play on Oct. 10 in Madison, WI.
40: Since Nov. 26, 2011, the Gophers are 40-17 at home. The team went 6-1 at home in 2019, tying the home records of both 2016 and 2014. Next season, the Gophers play home games against Florida Atlantic, Tennessee Tech, Iowa, BYU, Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern. The first four games next season are all played at TCF Bank Stadium.
10: The Gophers have ten Big Ten wins in its last 14 games which is the best in the Big Ten West. The only two teams with better records in all of the Big Ten are Ohio State (13-1) and Penn State (11-3).
3: P.J. Fleck becomes the third Gophers coach in school history to lead the team to ten wins in a season and only the second to do it in the regular season (Henry Williams). Glen Mason also got to ten wins in 2003 but it took a bowl game win in order to do so. Fleck is 22-15 at Minnesota and 52-37 overall in his seven years as head coach. Only Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald reached 50 wins in less time than Fleck.
2975: Tanner Morgan completes the regular season with 2975 passing yards, the most in a single season in school history. The record was previously held by Adam Weber who did it in 2007. To date, Morgan has 4376 career passing yards which is ninth all-time in school history.
350: In Bateman’s last two home games, he totaled 350 yards, including a 203-yard performance which set a new TCF Bank Stadium record for a Gophers player. Bateman reached the 100-yard threshold for the fifth time this season and his 147-yard performance in Saturday’s loss was the second most at TCF Bank Stadium for a Gophers player. Bateman has caught a pass in 25 straight games.
Looking forward, the Gophers now await where the team will play game No. 13 and the last one of the 2019 season. All signs point to the Outback Bowl as of now but many different factors could change the game that is ultimately decided.
To close, check out P.J. Fleck’s closing statement in today’s press conference. It really is a great message to Gophers fans and what to look forward to as this program continues to build and the culture continues to grow.
Row The Boat, Ski U Mah, Go Gophers!