Minnesota’s bowl game history

Minnesota is headed back to the Quick Lane Bowl.

A year after finishing 5-7 (although that is not necessarily disqualifying. More on that shortly), the Gophers showed signs of life in P.J. Fleck’s second season at the helm.

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Minnesota closed out the regular season with a 37-15 win over Wisconsin, their first since 2003, improving to 6-6 and setting the stage for their 20th appearance in a bowl game.

Those appearances have been a mixed bag.

The Gophers have been a pretty reliable bowl team in recent years, playing in the Texas, Citrus, Quick Lane and Holiday bowls from 2012-16.

They’ll return to Detroit’s Ford Field for the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26, where they’ll take on Georgia Tech in the first meeting between the two programs.

That’s a far cry from the Gophers’ auspicious bowl history.

Minnesota appeared in the Rose Bowl in 1961 and 1962, falling 17-7 to Washington in the first, and beating UCLA 21-3 in the second.

However, they’ve won the last two, Minnesota’s first bowl wins since the 2004 Music City Bowl, although that previous appearance in the Quick Lane Bowl requires a bit of an asterisk.

Minnesota finished 5-7 in 2015, but received a bowl nod anyway after just 77 teams finished the regular season eligible for one of the 80 bowl games played that year.

But hey, quarterback Mitch Leidner led the Gophers to a win anyway, and a payout is a payout.

They were bowl eligible from 2002-06, taking a year off before appearing in the Insight Bowl (since renamed the Cheez-It Bowl) in 2008 and 2009.

Minnesota set some records during that run in the Insight Bowl.

Eric Decker went off for 149 yards on eight receptions against Kansas in 2008, both program records for a bowl game, while the Gophers scored a record five touchdowns during their overtime loss to Texas Tech in 2006.

With Decker’s help, Adam Weber set a Gophers record with 19 completions in 2008, after Bryan Cupito threw for a record 263 yards in 2006.

Cedric McKinley had two sacks in 2008 and Kyle Theret had two interceptions in 2009, both tying program records.

Check out their full bowl history below.

Year Bowl Opponent Score
1961 Rose Washington L 17-7
1962 Rose UCLA W 21-3
1977 Hall of Fame Classic Maryland L 17-7
1985 Independence Clemson W 20-13
1986 Liberty Tennessee L 21-14
1999 Sun Oregon L 24-20
2000 MicronPC.com NC State 38-30
2002 Music City Arkansas W 29-14
2003 Sun Oregon W 31-30
2004 Music City Alabama W 20-16
2005 Music City Virginia L 34-31
2006 Insight Texas Tech L 44-41 (OT)
2008 Insight Kansas L 42-21
2009 Insight Iowa State L 14-13
2012 Meineke Care Care Texas Tech L 34-31
2013 Texas Syracuse L 21-17
2014 Citrus Missouri L 33-17
2015 Quick Lane Central Michigan W 21-14
2016 Holiday Washington State W 17-12