P.J. Fleck didn’t try to sugarcoat Minnesota’s 33-10 loss to Michigan on Saturday night. The Gophers head coach was as straight-forward and blunt as he could possibly be in the post-game press conference.
“We got whooped,” Fleck said after the game. “But we got whooped 33-10, it wasn’t 79-6. I’ve been part of some of those but this is all part of the process.”
Michigan completely eviscerated Minnesota on the ground, rushing for 371 yards on 37 attempts. Karan Higdon led the way with 200 yards and two touchdowns and Chris Evans added 191 yards and a pair of scores. It was the Gophers’ ugliest loss of the season.
Minnesota had just 165 total yards.
“They gave everything they had today, it just wasn’t good enough,” Fleck said. “We got beat by a better team, period. Offensively, defensively and special teams, they’re a better team than we are, and we got beat. When you have the best players and the best team, you’re going to win, and they did that.”
The Gophers are now 4-5 on the season and just 1-5 in the B1G. There are still a few winnable games on the schedule, with Nebraska and Northwestern still remaining, so a bowl game is still in the picture.
Minnesota ends the season against Wisconsin.
Fleck understands that his team is in a rebuilding process and that Michigan is much further along. And while his goal is to get Minnesota to that same level, it’s just not realistic in 2017.
“We’re one of the least experienced and youngest football teams,” he said. “Everybody gets on me about that, but that’s reality. And they’re going against these grown men over here…we haven’t had a chance to get strong enough.”
Minnesota will be back at TCF Bank Stadium next weekend to host Nebraska.