A Century of Football Homecomings

September 18, 2015
The homecoming button from 1961 that says "Den the Wolverines"

A homecoming football game versus Ohio. Ah, the tradition of it all!

Wait a minute, this is Ohio University, not the Ohio State University. It may be a good thing that the Gophers aren’t playing No. 1 Ohio State just yet (that challenge comes on November 7 in Columbus), but this is the first time since 1959 that Minnesota has scheduled a homecoming game against an opponent outside of the Big Ten.

Looking for some other homecoming football game trivia?

It turns out that Northwestern has been Minnesota’s most common homecoming opponent. The two teams have squared off 18 times for Ski-U-Mah’s celebration (five since 2000), and the “series” is now squared at 8-8, with two ties.

It used to be that Northwestern was the team to schedule for an easy win, but that’s not the case anymore. The Wildcats have actually beaten the Gophers six of the last seven homecoming games dating back to 1994—the one exception being Minnesota’s 45-42 victory in 2002.

Perhaps it’s time to switch preferred opponents.

Going by the numbers, Iowa should be the default choice. The Gophers are a whopping 10-3 against the Hawkeyes in homecoming contests, easily the best success rate among teams they’ve played more than once. And our homecoming nemesis? That would be Ohio State (go figure). The Gophers have yet to beat the Buckeyes in four tries.

Fans can hope this year’s game equals the excitement from a year ago, with a bit less drama. The Gophers came back from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Purdue 39-38 in front of one of the largest home crowds in years.

Minnesota is 55-36-3 overall in homecoming games, including 2-4 at TCF Bank Stadium. Game time against the Ohio University Bobcats is 2:30 p.m.