As a Gopher fan, the Hoosiers have always been a bit of a breath of fresh air. There aren’t many "gimme’s" for my Gopher football squad (unless you’re talking about Mason-era non-conference foes… then it’s gimme-city), but in their last 10 meetings against Indiana, the Gophers have won 6. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re a Gopher fan, believe me, that feels like domination.
But Indiana has played the spoiler for Minnesota in the past. In 2004 the Gophers rolled into Bloomington with a 6-2 record, ranked in the top 25 in the nation, and feeling good about getting their 7th win. Instead the Hoosiers handed the Gophers their 3rd loss of the season, which was the beginning of a 3-game losing streak to end the Gophers season.
But the game that sticks in my craw (no, I’m not from the south, but I do have a craw… don’t I?), happened on October 21, 2000. The Gophers walked into Memorial Stadium on that Saturday with a 5-2 record, and ranked 22nd in the nation. More importantly, they had just come off of a potentially program changing win over the then 6th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes IN Columbus… yes, you read that right, the Gophers really HAVE won a game in Columbus. Shocking, I know!
Can you even imagine the momentum that you’d have as a football team coming off of a win like that? You’re a perennial cellar-dweller in your conference and you’ve just beaten one of the top teams in the country and one of the top two teams in your conference year-in and year-out. How about that? You’d come out in your next game guns a-blazin’ wouldn’t you?
Instead it was the classic Gopher Football letdown game.
(See also Gophers v Michigan State, 2005, after the Gophers had won the previous week in Ann Arbor).
Indiana, or more specifically, Antwan Randle-El, absolutely tore the Gophers apart that day. If there was ever a game where a single player "stuffed the stat sheet," it was Randle-El against the Gophers in 2000.
Randle-El completed just 12 passes, on 21 attempts, but those 12 passes were good for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns. In addition, Randle-El did what he did best against the Gopher defense and ran for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns. All by himself he was responsible for 473 yards… a staggering 77% of Indiana’s total offensive output for the day.
Indiana finished the 2000 campaign with just 3 wins, but Randle-El’s performance on that day against the Gophers will always be stuck squarely in my craw (if I do, in fact, have a craw).
MONDAY: Spring Field Guide
TUESDAY: Your Team Almost Lost to Indiana in '09 - What the Hell is Wrong with You?
WEDNESDAY: Remembering an Indiana win from a decade ago
THURSDAY: MVP Profile