A long long time ago...or at least late August feels like a long long time ago, we put up our reader polls for Gopher Football. We asked you the TDG reader to try and predict what you thought would happen in a number of categories in the 2019 Minnesota Golden Gophers Football season. Many of them were close to accurate this fall, better than 2018. But yeah, we still did not see a lot of what happened in the 2019 season coming. So here is a reacp of how you voted in the fall..and what really happened!
This one was tough for you all to predict. Only 4% separated Seth Green, Rodney Smith and Tyler Johnson. But in the end 24% of you were right at TJ would lead the Gophers with 13 touchdowns on the season. We all completely whiffed on the emergence of Rashod Bateman though. His 11 TDs easily came in second—so maybe 4% of you can try and claim partial credit? Rodney lead the rushers with 8 touchdowns on the season, just one head of Mohamed Ibrahim who finished with 7 thanks to his bowl game explosion. Green would finish the season with five touchdowns—not too shabby in the least, but with the explosion of the passing game he was not nearly relied upon as much this season.
A strong 75% of you thought that Tyler would lead the Gopher in receiving yards. You were right, but not by much. TJ ended his Gopher career with a bang with a new single season record of 1,318 yards, but right behind him with the second highest total in Gopher history was Bateman with 1,219. Something tells me this category could be even a bit more lopsided next fall...but you never know who might be lurking to have a big 2020 season.
Once again a large majority—65% of you went with the most probable answer at the time. It paid off. Rodney did lead all Minnesota rushers easily with 1,210 yards. Ibrahim was second with 605 and Shannon Brook came back in his final season to add 413. You do have to remember that early in the season we didn’t know how Rodney would come back off of ACL surgery on his knee. The answer— just fine thanks.
I think we had an idea that the Gopher offense was going to be decently powerful this season...but what actually happened—wow. 33% of you were correct as Minnesota ended up getting touchdowns from 12! different players in 2019/20. On the ground the touchdowns game from Smith, Ibrahim, Brooks, Green, Treyson Potts, Bryce Williams and Tanner Morgan. Two of those players ended up redshirting in 2019 as well giving them the chance to score in 5 seasons over the course of their career!
Through the air TDs went to Johnson, Bateman, Chris Autman-Bell, Brevyn Spann-Ford, and of course Bryce Witham. Only one Gopher player who played extensively on offense last season didn’t see the endzone in 2019— Demetrius Douglas,
This was another one where it seemed people thought we had a good offense...just not THAT good. All of the upper range predictions were close to right. Of course when we put up the initial numbers we forgot about that whole decimal thing too. The final total? 34.08 points per game. So 36% of you can argue it out whether you were right or wrong depending on how you want to round.
This one was one of the worst percentages to get it corrrect. I don’t fauly any of you for going for last year’s tackles leader in Thomas Barber, but he tied for second place with Kamal Martin with 66 tackles each. The winner? Who else but Minnesota’s unanimous All-American Antoine Wilfield
Another “fail” for you Gopher fans. 90% took Carter Coughlin and had he not been held consistently over the course of the season he many just have gotten that extra sack to take over the lead in this category. Alas, Carter came in second place with 4.5 sacks on the season. Your winner? That would be Sam Renner with 5 sacks on the year. Yes, really. Raise your hand if you had Sam Renner leading this team in sacks in August. Even the 8% of you who went with a different DL didn’t have Renner in mind.
I’m not going to lie, this one surprised me a bit. I would have sworn more than 52% of you would have gone with Winfield, but apparently you didn’t. Obviously with his 7 interceptions AWJ was the right answer. In fact, the next highest on the team with 2 picks was....Kamal Martin. Coney Durr ended up with one interception as did Kiandre Thomas and Chris Williamson, and of course Jordan Howden’s one was a bit memorable. Terrrell Smith did not get one, and actually only played in nine games. It will be interesting to see how they can refocus him for 2020 after playing a large role in 2018, but not so much this past season.
After a pair in 2018, well the Gophers won in other ways in 2019. Zero, zilch, nada, no punt or kick returns for a TD in 2019. In fact the longest return at all was a 36 yard kickoff return by Rodney Smith. That’s it. Only 7% of you can take credit for this one.
The Gopher kicking game took a bit of a step back in 2019 with the loss of Emmit Carpenter. Minnesota had two true freshman kickers and they were not called on nearly as much in 2019 as one may have thought, but that also meant more touchdowns. Brock Walker and Micheal Lantz combined to make 11 field goals in 2019 giving 27% of you bragging rights. Walker was 3-4 on the year and Lantz was 8-11. So Minnesota only attempted 15 field goals all season.
A year after 11 true freshmen burned their redshirt for the Gophers, Minnesota is obviously adding a lot of depth to the roster. 38% of of you were right as only three true freshmen will be true sophomores next season including Micheal Lantz, safety Tyler Nubin, and long snapper Brady Weeks. Minnesota even kept a redshirt year on two sophomores who will be redshirt sophomores next fall in Zack Annexstad and Bryce Williams.
Finally, it appears that you guys did a good job at narrowing down the Gophers bowl location early in the season. 26% were right as the Gophers ended up in the Outback Bowl in Tampa getting a big win over Auburn. Had Minnesota won one of their two losses this fall, 34% of you most likely would have been right predicting a trip to Pasadena. For the five of you who predicted no bowl game...lets hope you were opposing fan’s trolling and not a serious Gopher fan. If so, feel shame.
Another year down, and another year where some predictions obviously came true, but a lot of what we thought would happen in August was no where correct come January. We will do it all again in the fall, and we can see how our predictions stand up once more!