The Gophers have had high-octane offenses who feasted on weak nonconference opponents in past years. The Vikings had a team in 1998 that set an NFL record for points in a season at the time, and they’ve had several other turbo-charged offensive teams in other years.
But in a combined history spanning more than half a century, the Gophers and Vikings had never done what they did this past weekend, when a scuffling first-year head coach of one team and a defensive-minded head coach of another led their teams to a combined 92 points against Nebraska and Washington.
That’s the most these two teams have ever combined to score in one weekend.
Yes, this is a weird sort of “record” only discovered because I was strangely curious about it and looked it up this afternoon, painstakingly comparing season-by-season results for each team dating back to the Vikings’ first year (1961).
They have combined to reach the 80s a few times and had some near-misses when big outputs missed each other by a weekend. But if you like points from the Division I college football team and the NFL team in Minnesota, this past weekend was as good as it has ever been.
The Gophers started things off with a 54-21 rout of Nebraska on Saturday. It was their biggest output of the season, and perhaps a surprising one at that even considering the Huskers’ struggles. Minnesota, after all, had combined to score just 44 points in its previous three games combined.
The Vikings kept it going with 38 points at Washington — their highest total of the season as well.
The Gophers had scored at least 50 points 15 other times — and had tallied at least 60 points in five of those games — since the Vikings came into existence. But each time, the Vikings either didn’t play or didn’t score enough to push the total higher than 92.
Likewise, the Vikings have had plenty of big scoring days — they topped 40 points five different times in 1998 alone — but the biggest ones have never managed to line up with the Gophers’ biggest days.
There were some near-misses along the way. The 2004 Gophers opened on Sept. 4 with a 63-21 win over Toledo, but the Vikings didn’t open the season until the following Sunday when they put up 35 points against Dallas on Sept. 12.
The 2001 Gophers put up 66 points on Murray State on Oct. 27. The Vikings had topped 30 points each of the previous two weeks but mustered just 14 points that weekend at Tampa Bay.
The biggest combined weekend I could find other than this past one came in 1969, when the Gophers defeated Wisconsin 35-10 and the Vikings routed the Steelers 52-14 on Nov. 22-23 for a total of 87 points.
As @tgagemurphy noted on Twitter, the 92 combined points by the Gophers and Vikings were ALMOST as many as St. Thomas scored on its own this weekend in a 97-0 Division III rout of St. Olaf.
And finding a weekend when the two teams combined to allow more than 92 points? Well, a few savvy Twitter followers noted that was pretty easy considering Nebraska beat the Gophers 84-13 on Sept. 17, 1983. The Vikings only gave up 16 the next day, but that’s an even 100.
I’m not sure if that’s a record, but it’s a lot of points.