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Minnesota Football: Watching the 2021 season for Gopher records that are in jeopardy

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Which Gopher football records could be surpassed in 2021?

]MARLIN LEVISON*mlevison@startribune.com October 23, 2010 - GENERAL INFORMATION: University of Minnesota Gophers football vs. Penn State. Penn State won 33-21. IN THIS PHOTO: Gophers quarterback Adam Weber broke a team passing record in the game. Photo by Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images

There are a handful of Gophers who have a chance of moving up the lists of Gopher career records. Tanner Morgan has already had a distinguished and record-setting career. But now as he enters what would typically be his senior season, which career records does he have a chance at catching?

And we cannot ignore the monster season that Mohamed Ibrahim had in the shortened 2020 season. He has now set himself up for a run into the Gopher record books as well.

And are there others worth keeping an eye on? Of course. Here is a look at some of the Gopher records that could be in jeopardy or guys who may solidify themselves in the top 10 of all-time Gopher record holders.

Tanner Morgan

  • Career Touchdowns - Coming into the 2021 season, Morgan sits 4th on the career touchdowns list with 46. The record is held by Adam Weber (obviously) with 72. The simple math here is that Morgan needs 26 touchdowns per game to tie Weber’s mark (2 per game over 13 games). During his 2019 season, Morgan threw 30, so hitting 26+ is certainly doable, though that was a school record and is not a number we should expect. This should be a run record to watch throughout the season.
  • Career Completion % - Currently held by Morgan at 62% and there is a wide gap between him and Mark Carlson at 2nd place (57.2%). This record is virtually a lock for Morgan to hold. Let’s assume that he throws 300 passes this upcoming season. In order for him to fall behind Carlson he would have to complete just 140 or fewer. And if Morgan is completing just 47% of his passes this fall, it would seem likely that someone else will end up taking snaps at quarterback. This record is a lock.
  • Career Passing Yards - Currently sitting with 6,028 yards passing and ranked 6th on the Gopher career list. Throughout the season you will see Morgan moving up this list, but landing at the top spot seems very unlikely. Morgan’s epic 2019 season saw him throw for just over 3,200 yards. But he would need nearly 4,900 yards passing to catch Adam Weber at #1 on the Gopher list, this is not happening unless Morgan decides to return for his bonus 2022 season. The realistic scenario here is that Morgan throws for at least 1,418 yards, moves into 2nd place and then tacks on several hundred more to distance himself from Bryan Cupito.
  • Big Ten Career Passing Yards - The other interesting record watch for Morgan is the Big Ten career passing yards list. Morgan would need 2,429 yards passing to move into the top 20 for Big Ten career passing. A near repeat of his 2019 production might even land Morgan in the top 15.
  • Career Completions and Attempts - Morgan is 7th in career completions and 8th in attempts. Despite likely finishing with roughly the same number of career starts as Weber, Morgan will not catch him in attempts and completions. Weber just threw so many passes over his career. Even if Morgan decided to return in 2022, he won’t get to #1 on these lists unless the Gopher offense becomes very pass heavy (which isn’t happening). Realistically Morgan can finish 3rd in attempts and a solid 2nd in completions.
  • Others - Morgan realistically will finish atop the Gopher career lists for passing efficiency and starting win percentage.

Mohamed Ibrahim

  • Career Rushing - This is the fun record to watch. Ibrahim is currently ranked 9th on the Gopher list with 2,840 yards rushing. Can he catch Darrell Thompson’s record of 4,654? It is possible, but seems unlikely. Ibrahim would have to average 140 yards per game to make this happen. Is that possible? It is, last season he averaged 153.7 yards per game. Is it likely? No, that 153.7 was a school record and this goal of 140 per game would be the 2nd best single-season average yards per game. A more realistic goal is to finish 2nd on the Gopher all-time list. Averaging 99 yards per game, over 13 games would put Ibrahim above Rodney Smith for 2nd. And every subsequent yard after that would help him to move up the Big Ten career list inside of the top 20. Worth noting that Ibrahim could choose to return in 2022, which would put Thompson’s career record in serious jeopardy.
  • Career Rushing Touchdowns - Ibrahim has racked up touchdowns at an alarming rate. Having played in 28 games, he has 31 touchdowns and ranks 6th on the Gopher list. He needs only 9 to tie Darrell Thompson for first, which seems very doable. Also seems within his grasp to get himself into the top 5 for Big Ten career touchdowns. Jonathan Taylor is currently 5th with 50 career touchdowns. Getting 19 rushing touchdowns this season is a lofty goal, but not out of reach.
  • 200 yard rushing games - Tied for first with the likes of Laurence Maroney, Chris Darkins, Garry White and Darrell Thompson with all of them having 3 games of 200 yards rushing. One more and he will hold that record all by himself.
  • Career Attempts - I doubt that you will see Ibrahim with the same average attempts per game as last year (28.7 per gam). But he will be carrying the load. He seems like a lock to move head of Marion Barber and Maroney into 4th place on the attempts list. And if he has roughly the same amount of carries per game as last year he could be passing Rodney Smith and Thomas Hamner for 2nd or 3rd.

Chris Autman-Bell

  • Career Yards, Receptions and Touchdowns - Autman-Bell has no shot at setting any career Gopher records this season. But assuming he has a year similar to the production that Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson had in 2019, you would see CAB move into the top 10 for career Gopher records in all three categories. Setting himself up to move further up the lists should he play in 2022.

Connor Olson

  • Career Starts - Payton Jordahl holds this Gopher record with 51 and the great Adam Weber started 50. Olson currently has 45 career starts and will very likely hold this record by the end of the season. Olson redshirted in 2016 and has started every game following that season. Over his career Olson has started 16 games at LG, 15 and C and 14 at RG. His versatility and reliability has been invaluable of the last 4 seasons.

It should be noted that Blaise Andries has a chance to surpass wherever Olson ends up. He currently has 33 career starts and could conceivably play 2 more seasons.

Boye Mafe

  • Career Sacks - Mafe comes into the season with 7.5 sacks. He would need 7 sacks this season to crack the program’s all-time top 10. Mafe will have the option to play again in 2022 and move up the career sacks list even further, but in 2021 he has a chance to get himself into the top 10 with a productive year.

Coney Durr

  • Career Pass Breakups - Over his long career, Durr has 22 career pass breakups. This number is good for 8th all-time, tied with Brock Vereen and Traye Simmons. The record is held by three former Gophers; Ukee Dozier, Michael Lehan and Trumaine Banks who all had 31. Can Durr record 10 breakups this year? He did it in 2019.