Big Ten football is back, but we will forge ahead with our attempt to build a perfect season of Minnesota Golden Gophers football over 13 weeks, inviting our readers to choose from three nominees for each week of the season dating back to 2000. For example, with this being Week 3, I have selected the three “best” — and the specific criteria for “best” is going to vary from week to week, depending on what I have to work with — Week 3 games from the Gophers’ last 20 seasons. And to be honest, there were not a lot of great Week 3 games to choose from, so I opted for a hodgepodge of bizarre choices. Because I can.
Your selections so far:
And here are our nominees for Week 3.
Nominee #1: ‘06 vs Temple
The Owls were in the first year of then head coach Al Golden’s tenure when Glen Mason’s Gophers welcomed them to the Metrodome. Golden would eventually take Temple to heights not seen since 1979, but 2006 was ground zero for that rebuild. Bryan Cupito threw four touchdown passes, all of them to Logan Payne, who hauled in six receptions for 136 receiving yards. And Minnesota had four nine players record at least one carry, racking up a combined 282 rushing yards and four scores on the ground. The Gopher defense forced four turnovers and, in a rare occurrence under Mason, shut out their opponent, 62-0.
I chose this game as a nominee because blowouts are underrated.
Nominee #2: ‘15 vs Kent State
The #KentStateProtocol was first initiated on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. This game was a master class in offensive futility. Minnesota ended the game with 288 total yards of offense, and Kent State was limited to 142 total yards. The Gophers averaged 2.4 yards per rush on 44 attempts, and their leading receiver was living statue Nate Wozniak, who had three receptions for 40 yards. The Golden Flashes defense forced three turnovers, including two Mitch Leidner interceptions on back-to-back drives and a scoop-and-score fumble recovery to start the second half that amounted to the only points scored by Kent State all game.
Minnesota led 10-0 at halftime before Rashad Still fumbled on the Gophers’ opening drive of the second half. Kent State cornerback Demetrius Monday returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. #KentStateProtocol was born when offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover proceeded to run Rodney Smith and Rodrick Williams into a brick wall at the line of scrimmage, banking on the dominant Gopher defense carrying them to the finish line. The teams exchanged nine punts in the second half, in addition to a Minnesota missed field goal with minutes left in the game and two Kent State drives the ended in a turnover on downs.
The best summation of this game can be found in the ESPN game recap:
“We did win,” Kill said as he stood up to finish a postgame news conference capped by a question about frustration of the booing fans.
Nominee #3: ‘19 vs Georgia Southern
The Minnesota offensive line allowed five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. By the end of the game, the Gophers had a total of four running backs sidelined due to injuries. And every single touchdown Georgia Southern scored was the result of a self-inflicted mistake. An interception. A failed fourth down conversion. A blocked field goal. A strip sack. 28 points off those turnovers.
But then came the 13-play, 75-yard, game-winning drive that saw the Gophers facing 3rd & 29 from their own six-yard line before marching down the field for the score.
Those are your nominees, whether you like them or not. Make your pick below and we’ll declare a Week 3 winner next week when we announce the nominees for Week 4!
Which Week 3 game is your pick for the 2020 Perfect Season?
This poll is closed
‘06 vs Temple
‘15 vs Kent State
‘19 vs Georgia Southern