With a victory against 1-5 Rutgers on Saturday, Minnesota can match its win total from last season with seven in 2019. On Saturday, the Golden Gophers are only playing their seventh game.

Minnesota can still improve defensively, but on offense, the Golden Gophers have exploded in recent weeks, especially on the ground. That improvement didn’t go unnoticed by ESPN’s College GameDay panel on Saturday morning.

“This is an incredible story. 5-7 his (P.J. Fleck), 7-6 last year. I think they’re going to be 8-0 when they host Penn State, which would be a huge for them on Nov. 9,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. “And if you haven’t watched them, this offense is for real. Tanner Morgan’s doing a good job throwing the football.

“They’re healthy now in the backfield. They have three running backs they can run at you. They have Tyler Johnson, Rashod Bateman on the outside. This is a team averaging 35 points a game, and it’s impressive.”

While Herbstreit did reference Minnesota’s matchup with Penn State on the second weekend of November, that’s hardly the only big showdown in the final month of the season. ESPN’s Desmond Howard brought that up in response to Herbstreit’s comments.

“Their season really starts in November,” Howard said. “They play Penn State, Iowa and then at Wisconsin. That’s when their season starts.”

The week after hosting Penn State, Minnesota will visit Iowa, and then the Golden Gophers, as they normally, do will end their season with a matchup, at home, against Wisconsin.