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1941 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team

The 1941 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team represented the University of Minnesota in the 1941 Big Ten Conference football season. In their tenth year under head coach Bernie Bierman, the Golden Gophers compiled an undefeated 8–0 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 186 to 38.[1]

1941 Minnesota Golden Gophers football
National champion (eleven selectors)
Big Ten champion
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
Ranking
APNo. 1
1941 record8–0 (5–0 Big Ten)
Head coachBernie Bierman (10th season)
MVPBob Sweiger
CaptainBruce Smith
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
Seasons
← 1940
1942 →
1941 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Minnesota $ 5 0 0     8 0 0
No. 5 Michigan 3 1 1     6 1 1
No. 13 Ohio State 3 1 1     6 1 1
No. 11 Northwestern 4 2 0     5 3 0
Wisconsin 3 3 0     3 5 0
Iowa 2 4 0     3 5 0
Purdue 1 3 0     2 5 1
Indiana 1 3 0     2 6 0
Illinois 0 5 0     2 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The team was selected national champion by eleven NCAA-designated major selectors in Associated Press, Billingsley, Boand, DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, Helms, Litkenhous, National Championship Foundation, Poling, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess).[2]:112

Halfback Bruce Smith was named an All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, INS, Time-Life, United Press (UP), Associated Press (AP) and Look Magazine.[3] Smith was also awarded the Heisman Trophy, the only Golden Gopher to win the award.[4]

Tackle Dick Wildung was named an All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, INS, Time Life, AP and UPI.[3] Wildung, Smith, halfback Bill Daley, end Bob Fitch and guard Len Levy were named All-Big Ten.[5]

Back Bob Sweiger was awarded the team most valuable player award.[6]

Total attendance for the season was 239,227, which averaged to 47,845. The season high for attendance was against Northwestern.[7]

ScheduleEdit

DateOpponentRankSiteResultAttendanceSource
September 27at Washington*W 14–643,000[8]
October 11IllinoisW 34–650,435[9]
October 18Pittsburgh*No. 1
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Minneapolis, MN
W 39–035,000[10]
October 25at No. 3 MichiganNo. 1W 7–085,753[11]
November 1No. 9 Northwestern No. 1
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Minneapolis, MN
W 8–764,464[12]
November 8Nebraska*No. 2
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Minneapolis, MN (rivalry)
W 9–042,893[13]
November 15at IowaNo. 1W 34–1343,200[14]
November 22WisconsinNo. 1
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Minneapolis, MN (rivalry)
W 41–652,984[15]
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game

Game summariesEdit

MichiganEdit

Week 5: Minnesota at Michigan
1 234Total
• Minnesota 0 700 7
Michigan 0 000 0

On October 25, 1941, Minnesota, ranked #1 in the AP Poll, played Michigan, ranked #3 in the country. Minnesota won the game by a 7 to 0 score on a five-yard touchdown run by halfback Herman Frickey in the second quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 78-yard punt and a 43-yard pass, both by 1941 Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith. Minnesota gained 179 rushing yards in the game, while Michigan tallied 135 rushing yards. In the fourth quarter, Michigan twice drove deep into Minnesota territory, but both drives ended with pass interceptions by Minnesota's quarterback Bill Garnaas. The loss was the eighth in a row for the Wolverines against the Golden Gophers. The crowd of 85,753 at Michigan Stadium was the largest to that date to see a football game between two Big Nine Conference teams.[16][17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1941 Minnesota Golden Gophers Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  2. ^ 2018 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. August 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 179[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 182[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 180[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 181[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 160[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Charles Johnson (September 28, 1941). "Smith and Daley Star as Gophers Rip Huskies, 14-6: Halfback Scoots to 2 Scores". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Charles Johnson (October 12, 1941). "Gophers Crush Illini, 34-6: Minnesota Tallies 4 Times in First Half". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Charles Johnson (October 19, 1941). "Gophers Pound Pitt, 39-0: Higgins Is Sensation in Victory". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ John N. Sabo (October 26, 1941). "Minnesota Edges Out Michigan on Second-Period Score, 7 to 0, as Crowd of 85,753 Looks On". Detroit Free Press. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Charles Johnson (November 2, 1941). "Gophers Cage Wildcats, 8-7". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1, 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Charles Johnson (November 9, 1941). "Gophers Held To 9-0 Win". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2.
  14. ^ Bert McGrane (November 16, 1941). "Minnesota Mauls Iowa, 34-13". The Des Moines Register. p. Sports 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Charles Johnson (November 23, 1941). "Gophers Tip Badgers, 41-6, Win Big Ten, U.S. Titles: Smith Heroic in Last Game". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Arch Ward (October 26, 1941). "Minnesota Bears Michigan, 7-0: Gophers Score Touchdown in Second Period; 85,753 See Losers' Line Outplayed". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
  17. ^ Allison Danzig (October 26, 1941). "85,753 See Gophers; Bruce Smith Hurt After Punting 78 Yards and Hurling Pass for 43". The New York Times.