The University of Minnesota has accepted an invitation to play Central Michigan in the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 28. The game will be played at Ford Field and is scheduled for a 4 p.m. CT kickoff and will be televised by ESPN2.
The game will mark Minnesota’s first appearance in the Quick Lane Bowl and will be the Gophers’ 18th bowl game all-time and will also be the fourth-straight bowl game that the Maroon and Gold will play in.
Central Michigan finished the season 7-5 overall and was 6-2 in Mid-American Conference play. Minnesota was 2-0 against teams from the Mid-American Conference this year, as it beat Kent State and Ohio.
Minnesota is 1-0 all-time against Central Michigan, as the Gophers won 30-10 at home on Sept. 16, 1987. In that game, Rickie Foggie, Darrell Thompson and Gary Couch rushed for touchdowns and Chip Lohmiller kicked three field goals.
Ticket information and travel packages for the Quick Lane Bowl will be announced in the near future.
Minnesota, which played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, finished the season with a 5-7 record. The Gophers have played four teams with at least 10 wins and that number could raise to six if Wisconsin and Michigan win their bowl games.
The Gophers are coached by Tracy Claeys who took over for former head coach Jerry Kill who resigned his position on Oct. 28 due to health reasons. Claeys led the Gophers against Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin to end the season.
Minnesota is led on offense by quarterback Mitch Leidner. The junior signal-caller started all 12 games and set a program record for a junior with 218 completions. He also tied a program record when he passed for at least 250 yards in four straight games. Leidner’s main target is senior receiver KJ Maye. The Alabama native caught 65 passes for 706 yards and four touchdowns. His 65 catches rank fourth all-time and are the second-most ever for a senior.
The Gophers’ backfield is comprised of freshman standouts Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith, who both hail from Georgia. Brooks is a true freshman who has rushed 104 times for 644 yards, which is the sixth-most ever for a freshman, and scored seven touchdowns. He became the first Gopher since Laurence Maroney in 2005 to have four touchdown runs longer than 35 yards in one season. Smith, who is a redshirt freshman, has carried the ball 142 times for 596 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, the Gophers are led by senior corners Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Murray has 64 tackles this year, one interception and has broken up six passes and forced three fumbles. Boddy-Calhoun is tied for the team lead with three interceptions and has broken up four passes. Senior safety Antonio Johnson leads the Gophers with 99 tackles and is followed by linebacker Cody Poock who has 95.