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Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Minnesota Golden Gophers football program represents the University of Minnesota in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. Founded in the 1882, the program is one of the oldest in college football. Minnesota has been a member of the Big Ten Conference since its inception in 1896 as the Western Conference. The Golden Gophers claim seven national championships: 1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, and 1960. Since 2009, the Gophers have played all their home games at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team's current head coach is Jerry Kill, who has held the post since the 2011 season.

History

The Minnesota Golden Gophers college football team played its first game on September 29, 1882, a 4–0 victory over Hamline University. Eight years later in 1890, the Gophers played host to Wisconsin in a 63–0 victory. With the exception of 1906, the Gophers and Badgers have played each other every year since then. The 121 games played against each other is the most played rivalry in Division I-A college football.

Glory years

The Gophers enjoyed quite a bit of success in the early 20th century, posting winning records from 1900 - 1919. Head coach Henry L. Williams developed the "Minnesota shift", a predecessor to later quick line shifts, which was adopted widely. Also Henry L. Williams led Minnesota to one of the NCAA's longest unbeaten streaks of 35 games, from 1903 to 1905 with 34 wins and 1 tie. In 1932, Bernie Bierman became the Gopher head coach and led the Gophers to their first dynasty. From 1934 to 1936 the Gophers went on a run of winning three straight National Championships, the last Division I team to accomplish this feat. During the run, Minnesota went unbeaten in 28 straight games, 21 of which were consecutive victories. The school record for consecutive victories is 24, which spanned 3 seasons from 1903 to 1905. The Gophers also won two more national championships in 1940 and 1941. Those two seasons comprised most of an 18-game winning streak that stretched from 1939 to 1942.

After some mediocre seasons throughout the remainder of the 1940s and 1950s, the Gophers rose back to prominence in 1960 with their seventh national championship (because polling ended after the regular season, the Gophers were crowned AP and UPI national champions despite losing the Rose Bowl to Washington). That national championship followed a 1-8 record in 1958 and 2-7 record in 1959. Minnesota played in bowl games the two following years as well, in 1961 and 1962. The Gophers earned their first berth in the Rose Bowl by winning the 1960 Big Ten title. The following year, Minnesota returned to Pasadena despite a second-place finish in the conference. The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Big Ten champions in 1961, declined an invitation to the Rose Bowl because of tension between academics and athletics at the school. Minnesota beat UCLA 21-3 to claim its first and only Rose Bowl victory. This game also marked the Gophers last appearance in a New Year's Day bowl game. Minnesota's last Big Ten title was in 1967, tying the Indiana Hoosiers and Purdue Boilermakers atop the standings.