P.J. Fleck talks about facing adversity, Minnesota's resolve throughout the season
There have been plenty of ups and downs in Minnesota’s season. That may not be all that surprising for a team with a 5-5 record, sitting just one victory away from bowl eligibility.
But it’s been unique for the Golden Gophers. They started with three straight wins over non-conference opponents. Then, they dropped four straight B1G contests. And now, a week after giving up 55 points to an average Illinois team, Minnesota made a change at defensive coordinator and shut down Purdue’s offense, one of the best in the league.
It’s the definition of a rollercoaster season.
Following Minnesota’s 41-10 victory over the Boilermakers, P.J. Fleck talked about the adversity his team has faced this season, and the resolve it’s had over the last three months. There’s no question he’s been impressed with how the players have handled tough situations.
“We’ve had an enormous amount of adverse situations throughout our entire department,” Fleck said Saturday. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much adversity in one year from a football team that I’ve coached, that I’ve been around. For this team to do what they just did, special.”
Minnesota recently went through a major coaching change, as defensive coordinator Robb Smith was fired following a 55-31 loss to the Illini. This weekend, the Gophers responded, holding Purdue to season lows in total yardage, yards per play and points.
The victory puts the Gophers on the cusp of bowl eligibility with two games left. They will need a win over Northwestern or Wisconsin to return to the postseason.
Wins in either of those two games seemed unlikely just a few weeks ago. But after Minnesota’s performance on Saturday, it’s hard to count out Fleck and Co.