“B1G Things to Know” is your weekly gathering of the 10 most important things you’ll want to know about this week’s Ohio State game. These 10 facts will help you be the most knowledgeable fan at your Game Day activity, no matter where you gather across Buckeye Nation to cheer on the Men of the Scarlet & Gray.
In 1851, the state of Minnesota was still seven years away from existing. However, the school now known as The University of Minnesota was founded, originally serving as a College Preparatory school. This school closed during the American Civil War, but re-opened in 1867. Two years later, in 1869, the school morphed into the institution of higher learning it is today.
The Golden Gopher football program began in 1882. Minnesota has won seven National Championships since then, most recently in 1960. Minnesota, which is a charter member of the Big Ten, has also won 18 conference championships. However, Minnesota has only won seven bowl games in its history to go along with their all-time record of 675–507–42.
Minnesota travels to Columbus to face the Buckeyes on Saturday at 12 Noon. To make sure you are ready for kickoff, here are your B1G Things to Know, Minnesota Edition:
- Minnesota is 7-44 all-time against Ohio State and the Buckeyes have won the last 10 meetings. The Gophers most recent win in the series was a 29-17 victory in Columbus, 18 years ago this weekend (Oct. 14, 2000).
- The Gophers have 112 players on the roster this year. 58 of those players, (51.7%) are freshmen. This is the highest percentage of freshman on a roster in the nation. In fact, Minnesota has 78 underclassmen (69.6%) on their roster this year.
- For the second straight season, the Gophers started the year with the most inexperienced quarterbacks in the nation. This year, Minnesota has three redshirt freshmen QBs on its roster backing up true freshman walk-on Zack Annexstad, who has started the first five games. None of the Minnesota QBs had attempted a pass attempt in college prior to the start of the season.
- Annexstad is believed to be just the second ever true freshman walk-on to start a season opener, joining Baker Mayfield who did so in 2013 at Texas Tech. To complete the Cleveland connection, Annexstad’s cousin is Sam Dekker, who plays basketball for the Cavaliers.
- Minnesota was whistled for just two penalties against Iowa. The Gophers rank No. 6 in the country with only 20 penalties this season. They rank No. 11 in the NCAA with just 199 penalty yards. The Gophers were called for nine penalties against New Mexico State, but have since been penalized only 11 times in the last four games.
- J. Fleck was named head coach on January 6, 2017. He has a career record of 38-31 in his six seasons as coach. By contrast, Urban Meyer, in his 17th season, has a career record of 180-31.
- Fleck, who came to Minnesota after leading Western Michigan to a 13-1 season in 2016, was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006 under Jim Tressel. Fleck was also the wide receivers coach at Rutgers under Greg Schiano in 2010 and 2011, and he coached receivers in the NFL under Schiano in 2012 at Tampa Bay.
- Ohio State enters Saturday’s game with the second longest consecutive wins streak in the country at 11. This trails only UCF, currently at 18 games prior to play this week.
- Last week, Dwayne Haskins earned a fourth Big Ten Conference offensive player of the week award this season. The most offensive player of the week honors in one season is held by Troy Smith, who earned the honor five times during his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 2006.
- Jashon Cornell (St. Paul/Cretin-Derham Hall) is the only Buckeye who hails from the state of Minnesota. There are six Ohioans on the Minnesota roster, five of which are true or redshirt freshman. They are Thomas Rush (Marysville/Marysville), Jornell Manns (Mansfield/Mansfield Senior), Alex Reigelsperger (Dayton/Wayne), Jared Weyler (Dayton/Centerville), Austin Beier (Toledo/St. John’s), and Malcolm Robinson (Massillon/Washington).
And there you have it. You are now officially ready to begin your Game Day activities. You can now lay claim to the title of “Smartest Buckeye Fan at your Tailgate/Watch Party”. Go Bucks!
Each week, Mike Meals scours through the Media Guides of Ohio State and that week’s opponent to find you the 10 most fascinating, important, and/or crazy facts to prepare you for that week’s game. You can also catch Mike along with Hayes & Cannon Content Manager/Writer Brandon Zimmerman on the weekly episodes of “The Sons of Schmidt” podcast on the Ozone Radio Network. Follow Mike on twitter (@mmeals)