Big Ten football is back, but we are forging ahead with our quest to build a perfect season of Minnesota Golden Gophers football over 13 weeks, inviting readers to choose from three nominees for each week of the season dating back to 2000. For example, with this being Week 10, I have selected the three “best” — and the specific criteria for “best” is going to vary week to week, depending on what I have to work with — Week 10 games from the last 20 seasons.
Our selections so far:
Week 1: ‘16 vs Oregon State
Week 2: ‘19 vs Fresno State
Week 3: ‘19 vs Georgia Southern
Week 4: ‘05 vs Purdue
Week 5: ‘14 vs Michigan
Week 6 (Bye Week): ‘05 vs Michigan
Week 7: ‘00 vs Ohio State
Week 8: ‘14 vs Purdue
Week 9: ‘13 vs Nebraska
And here are our nominees for Week 10.
Nominee #1: ‘03 vs Indiana
First, I have to be honest with you: My choices for Week 10 were not great. But I did notice a recurring theme: Minnesota loves to beat Indiana in Week 10. The Gophers have recorded just five wins in Week 10 of the last 20 seasons, and four of those victories were against the Hoosiers.
Back in 2003, the No. 24-ranked Gophers were 7-2 when the 1-7 Hoosiers, led by then head coach Gerry DiNardo, paid a visit to the Metrodome. Minnesota proceeded to obliterate Indiana to the tune of 55-7, the most lopsided Big Ten win for the Gophers since a 55-7 victory over Iowa in 1949. Laurence Maroney rushed for 164 yards, Marion Barber III contributed 107 rushing yards of his own, and Thomas Tapeh added 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq barely broke a sweat, finishing 9-of-13 for 66 passing yards and one touchdown through the air.
Nominee #2: ‘06 vs Indiana
Whereas the Gophers’ ran roughshod over the Hoosiers in their blowout win in 2003, Minnesota took to the air against Indiana in their blowout win in 2006. Quarterback Bryan Cupito threw for 378 passing yards and four touchdowns en route to a 63-26 victory, which was the most points the Gophers had scored against a Big Ten opponent in 90 years.
Minnesota, in what would be head coach Glen Mason’s final season, came into the game 3-6 and 0-5 in the Big Ten, desperately needing a win to keep their hopes of bowl eligibility alive. Indiana was 5-4 and had actually won three of their last four games. But Cupito shredded their secondary, connecting with Eric Decker, Matt Spaeth, and Ernie Wheelwright for touchdowns.
Nominee #3: ‘13 vs Indiana
I actually recapped this game back in 2018 ahead of the Gophers’ last game against Indiana because I was in Bloomington for the 2013 game and it was one of the most memorable Gopher football games I’ve ever attended — for the right reason, thankfully.
Check out the game recap to relive it in full detail, but the headline was that Minnesota had built a 35-13 lead before Indiana stormed back and took a 39-35 lead in the fourth quarter with less than six minutes left in the game. The Gophers were able to pull ahead when quarterback Philip Nelson connected with tight end Maxx Williams for a 50-yard touchdown, but the Hoosiers had three minutes left on the clock to stage their final rally.
Fortunately for the Gophers, linebacker Aaron Hill scooped up an errant backwards pass in the red zone to stun the Hoosier home crowd and seal the game for Minnesota.
Those are your nominees, whether you like them or not. Make your pick below and we’ll declare a Week 10 winner next week when we announce the nominees for Week 11!
Which Week 10 game is your pick for the 2020 Perfect Season?
This poll is closed
‘03 vs Indiana
‘06 vs Indiana
‘13 vs Indiana