Want a reason the Gophers turned in an eight-win season last year?
Here's a good one:
#Gophers faced WRs Robinson, Latimer, Gallon, Abbrederis (4,982 yards/31 TDs) last year. All drafted. Had combined 224 yards/2 TDs vs Minn— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) August 22, 2014
[MORE BIG TEN: McEvoy, not Stave, will be Badgers' starting quarterback]
Minnesota football tweeted out that mind-blowing stat Friday. Here's some context.
The wide receivers listed are Penn State's Allen Robinson, Indiana's Cody Latimer, Michigan's Jeremy Gallon and Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis. Those four guys were the top four receivers in the conference, ranking first through fourth in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. Those totals the Gophers listed in that tweet again: The quartet of top wideouts combined for nearly 5,000 yards and more than 30 touchdown catches. But of all that, only 224 yards and two touchdowns came against the Gophers. That's on 20 total catches or an average of just five per game between those four guys.
Sure, the Gophers only went 2-2 in those games, but Minnesota ranked fifth in the conference in pass defense last season, allowing 215.1 yards per game through the air. The defensive-back tandem of Brock Vereen and Cedric Thompson had a lot to do with shutting down those top receivers. Vereen has since moved on to the Chicago Bears, but Thompson is back leading a Minnesota defense hoping to replicate that success from 2013.