Saturday afternoon was an absolutely beautiful day in the Twin Cities to watch a college football game. Unfortunately, most of the memories that Gopher fans will have of the day will be bad as the South Dakota Coyotes upset Minnesota 41-38.
Under Coach Tim Brewster, Minnesota is now 14-24, and the question which begs to be answered is whether today’s loss against South Dakota is the worst loss under the Tim Brewster regime.
While there is likely room to debate which losses are the ten worst losses in the past three plus years under Coach Brewster, below are ten games that are worthy of consideration:
10. November 21, 2009 – Iowa 12, Minnesota 0 played in Iowa City
While Iowa was ranked No. 13 in the country at the time, the Hawkeyes were hurt and vulnerable. The Gophers failed to score despite having the ball six times on Iowa’s side of the field with a fresh set of downs; including once the ball was at the 12 yard line and another instance in which Hawks kept the Gophers out of the end zone from the 2 yard line.
9. November 15, 2008 – Wisconsin 35, Minnesota 32
The game was tied 24 all in the 4th quarter when the Gophers imploded. Troy Stoudemire muffled a
punt through the end zone for a Wisconsin safety. Adam Weber was sacked on the Gopher’s next possession for another safety. Running back Shady Salamon fumbled on Minnesota’s next possession deep at the Minnesota 11 yard line which Wisconsin subsequently converted into a touchdown. While Minnesota did score a touchdown after spotting Wisconsin 11 points to start the quarter, the Gophers threw an interception with 2:29 game on their last possession of the game.
8. November 8, 2008 – Michigan 29, Minnesota 6
Adam Weber would probably like to forget about this game as he was intercepted, was sacked four times and while completing 13 of this 24 passes, he only had 105 passing yards. Minnesota’s offense was limited to 188 total yards. The Gophers were thoroughly dominated from the opening kickoff to the end of the game and showed very little heart in battling for the little brown jug.
7. October 6, 2007 - Indiana 40, Minnesota 20 played in Bloomington
Minnesota was tied with the Hoosiers 14-14 at the end of the first quarter when the bottom fell out and they allowed an understudy to have his moment to shine. Indiana running back Bryan Payton channeled Walter as he had three touchdowns and 90 yards on the day against Minnesota. Payton came into the game with only 149 yards in his career. At the end of his career at Indiana, Bryan had only seven touchdowns and 909 yards.
6. September 1, 2007 - Bowling Green 32, Minnesota 31 Overtime
The Brewster era got off to a shaky start as the Falcons beat the Gophers in Coach Brew’s first game. The Gophers played a terrible first half falling behind 21-0. Minnesota however stormed back in the second half to take the lead 24-21 with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter. The Gophers defense however could not keep the lead as they allowed Bowling Green to go 63 yards in the final minutes to kick the game tying field goal.
5. November 7, 2009 – Illinois 35, Minnesota 32
Minnesota was horrific in the first half falling behind 28-7 in the first half. Adam Weber was especially dreadful drawing boos from the crowd. In the first half, Weber fumbled an exchange with DeLeon Eskridge costing the Gophers points and he also threw a 44 yard interception which was returned for a touchdown. Minnesota did show heart by battling back in the second half but was unable to secure an on-side kick and saw their chance for a comeback end.
4. September 15, 2007 – Florida Atlantic 42-39 played in Miami
Florida Atlantic had 580 yards of total offense against Minnesota and the secret was out that the Gophers defense was suspect especially the secondary. Quarterback Rusty Smith threw 463 yards and had five touchdowns for Florida Atlantic. Adam Weber struggled with four interceptions by did throw four touchdowns and had 335 passing yards. Minnesota also fumbled the ball three times.
3. October 20, 2007 – North Dakota State 27, Minnesota 21
The Gophers may have played worse the preceding year when the beat the Bison 10-9. The loss to North Dakota hit the team especially hard as epitomized by the comments of Weber. "I think this is probably the worst of our losses, just morale-wise," Weber said. "You expect to win. They're a good football team, but when you're a Division-I program and you're in the Big Ten, you have to win these types of games." The Bison dominated the Gophers in time of possession 36:56 to 23:04.
2. November 22, 2008 – Iowa 55, Minnesota 0
A strong case can be made that this game is worst under Coach Brew. The drubbing by the Hawkeyes was complete in all phases of the game. Iowa Quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Shonn Greene rushed for 144 yards on the day to break the Iowa single season rushing record. The Hawkeyes converted 12 out of 18 third down attempts on their way to 483 yards of total offense.
As good as the offensive was for Iowa, the defensive unit played better. Minnesota managed only six first downs on the day. The Gophers had 134 yards of total offense and only 7 net yards on the ground. The cherry on the top for Iowa was defensive back Amari Spivey’s 57 yard interception return for a touchdown.
The game against Iowa was the last game played by Minnesota in the Metrodome.
The loss to Iowa dramatically underscored the complete collapse of the Gophers at the end of the 2008 season. At the beginning of November, Minnesota was 7-1 and the No. 17 ranked team in the country with aspirations of possibly playing in a BCS bowl game.
The Gophers however would end the season 7-6 with 42-21 loss to Kansas in the Insight Bowl.
- September 11, 2010- South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
South Dakota was beaten soundly by the University of Central Florida 38-7 last week. The Gophers were supposed to use their game against South Dakota to build confidence going into their game against USC.
South Dakota had only moved up to the FCS level three years ago and their starting quarterback, Dante Warren, was making only his second start. How could the Coyotes possibly upset the Gophers on the road?
The answer was by smashing Minnesota soundly in the mouth. South Dakota had 444 yards of total offense against Minnesota.
Warren was not perfect in that he threw two interceptions but he did look like he could do anything he wanted to do against Minnesota.
Warren connected on 21 of his 30 passes on his way to throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Dante wasn’t satisfied just beating the Gophers through the air.
Warren also hurt Minnesota on the ground. Warren had 81 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, one touchdown came on a 36 yard scamper.
The loss to South Dakota hit Gopher Nation very hard and left many fans wondering whether the program is headed in the right direction. Coach Brewster was not exempt from the pain.
"The depth of my disappointment right now, you cannot measure it," said Coach Brewster. "I don't want to discredit South Dakota in any way ... but it certainly is an unacceptable loss on our part."