The Weekend Wrap

Finally, the Gophers gridders beat a team with a winning record, a team that is nationally respected, and a team that well, most Minnesotans love to hate. The win Saturday put the Gophers in position to earn a prominent Bowl bid. Read about that and other Gophers news in the GoldenSports.Net Weekend Wrap.

Maybe there still is hope for a New Year's Day Bowl game. Minnesota's 37-34 win over Wisconsin Saturday at the Metrodome gave the Gophers a 9-2 record, and kept alive the chances that the team could still play on New Year's Day.

A lot of things have to fall into place for the Gophers, who moved to No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, and to No. 19 in the Associated Press Poll.

The Gophers must win at Iowa Saturday to have a chance, and that will be difficult. The health of quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq is still in question, and the Hawkeyes are coming off a 27-14 loss to Purdue. Iowa (7-2), dropped to No. 20 in both the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and the AP poll.

Iowa rarely loses at home, but then again, this isn't Joe Salem's Gophers traveling to Iowa City. Purdue plays at Ohio State this week, and the Big Ten race is still up for grabs. If the Big Ten gets two teams in the BCS (Ohio State, Michigan possibly), it could alter where the Gophers go. Also, remember committees have selected lesser teams over the Gophers because those fans traveled better. The waters are too murky to forecast the Gophers Bowl hopes, but a Gophers win Saturday could go a long way towards playing on Jan. 1.

Gophers Men's Hockey Team Swept at UND

Uh-oh. The Gophers men's hockey team is in trouble, serious trouble. After losing twice to UND over the weekend – 7-3 Friday and 5-3 Saturday – the Gophers dropped to 2-6 overall, 1-5-0 in the WCHA. With the sweep, Minnesota posted its worst eight-game beginning to a season since opening the 1993-94 campaign with a 0-7-1 record. It marks the second time that Minnesota has been swept this season - a first since the 2000-01 season. With two games at Wisconsin this weekend, things don't get any easier.

Gophers Volleyball Team Loses to Northwestern

The No. 20-ranked Minnesota (17-9, 10-4) volleyball team lost to Northwestern (16-10, 7-7) in three games by scores of 30-25, 30-24, 30-23 on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois. The loss broke a 20-match winning streak over the Wildcats and was Minnesota's first loss to Northwestern since Oct. 16, 1993.

Northwestern jumped out to a quick 9-5 lead in game one. However, Minnesota answered with a 4-0 run to tie the score at nine. The Wildcats answered with a 5-0 run to take a 14-9 lead. Northwestern moved out to an 18-13 lead, but the Golden Gophers scored four of the next five points to cut it to 19-17. The two teams exchanged points to get the score to 20-18, but Northwestern widened the gap with three straight points to go up 23-18. The Wildcats moved the score to 25-20, but Minnesota scored five of the next seven points to cut the lead to 27-25. Northwestern closed out the game with three straight points to take game one 30-25. The Wildcats outhit the Golden Gophers .194 to .032 in the game. Cassie Busse paced the Minnesota attack with four kills.

They Said it:

"I give them credit. They are one of the best running attacks I've seen. It all comes down to making plays in the fourth quarter and they did."

- Wisconsin return specialist Jim Leohnard after the loss to the Gophers.

News and Notes:

The Minnesota football team broke the school's single-season record for total offense with 5,444 yards. The old record of 5,149 yards was set in 2000. It is the sixth single-season team record the offense has broken this year. … Minnesota eclipsed the 30-point plateau for the 10th time in 11 games this season. That is the highest number of games in a single season since the 1905 squad also did it 10 times. … The No. 8 University of Minnesota men's swimming and diving team added two dual wins Saturday, defeating No. 24 North Carolina 227-138 and North Dakota 258-103. … The Minnesota women's swimming and diving team lost 201-169 against North Carolina, but earned a 312-57 victory over UND Saturday. … The Minnesota wrestling team lost out on two prized recruits this week. Alex Tsirtsis of Indiana gave a verbal commitment to Iowa; Brandon Mason of Council Bluffs gave a verbal to Oklahoma State. The Gophers open the season this weekend at the Harold Nichols Open in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

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