Let's play a little game and test your memory of the 2011 Big Ten season. I'm going to dig through the 2011 Big Ten stats and present you with several questions. You can think about them, put your answers in the comments if you wish and then look at the answers.
This is more just for fun and to get you in the mood for some college football.
Question #1 - Rank these four teams in order of offensive rushing yards per game last season. Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State and Minnesota
Question #2 - Which offensive line gave up the most sacks in the Big Ten last year?
Question #3 - Three Big Ten teams failed to intercept 10 passes for the season, name them.
Question #4 - Which team led the Big Ten in kickoff coverage?
Question #5 - Who led the league in penalties?
Question #6 - Who led the league in Red Zone opportunities in2011?
Question #7 - There were two teams who recovered 100% of their onside kicks, can you name them?
Question #8 - Name the Big Ten schools the Gophers currently have a winning streak against.
(answers after the jump)
Answer #1 - the answer is Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa. Granted, these four teams were the four worst rushing offenses in the league but I would not have guessed we finished ahead of Michigan State. And I included Iowa in this question just so I could point out that they finished last in the league in rushing (that was for you Berkley Edwards!).
Answer #2 - Ohio State gave up 46! Minnesota finished 5th (allowing 22 sacks) ahead of Wisconsin (in total, but they played 2 extra games), Purdue, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern and the Buckeyes.
Answer #3 - Michigan (9), Indiana (5) and Minnesota (4). Not a good year for generating turnovers, and in this case interceptions, for the Gophers. Anyone remember 2007 when we were 1-11 in Brewster's first year? In 2008 when we jumped up to six wins we went from 7 INTs in the prior year to 15. Total turnovers in those two seasons went from 14 to 31, think that make a difference in the win-loss record? I'm expecting an increase in turnovers generated again this season.
Answer #4 - The Gophers! We didn't lead the league in much so I'll take this.
Answer #5 - Michigan. Bet you thought the answer was going to be Minnesota didn't you? Interestingly, Michigan also led the league in opponents penalties. So I guess Wolverine games were slowed down with yellow flag after yellow flag. Minnesota was 8th in penalties called against us and last place in penalties that went in our favor. So the refs screwed us last year and we didn't get any turnovers. Both of those are cyclical (aren't they?) and will turn in our favor this year.
Answer #6 - Wisconsin and it wasn't even close. The Badgers had 75 possessions in the red zone! The next closest was Michigan with 58. Wisconsin also kept their opponents out of the red zone more than anybody else only allowing 32 trips inside the 20 for their opponents. Those are pretty impressive numbers (which I doubt will be repeated). The Gophers? Well, it shouldn't be too surprising that they entered the red zone less than anybody else but they did score points more often than Northwestern, Penn St and Indiana. Defensively we allowed a lot of teams inside the 20, but finished 5th by allowing points only 81.1% of the time.
Answer #7 - Obviously this one is a guess. Purdue (2/2) and Minnesota (1/1) executed their onside kicks perfectly in 2011. I think the obvious conclusion is we should be onsiding a lot more often.
Answer #8 - Illinois (2), Indiana (1), oh and Iowa (2). Our longest losing streak is technically Nebraska (15), but for conference games it is a tie with Wisconsin and Ohio State (8 straight losses).