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1. In 1999, Mason's third season, the Gophers upset No. 2 Penn State 24-23 in Happy Valley on Dan Nystrom's 32-yard field goal on the final play. The victory clinched the Gophers' first winning record since 1990 and propelled them to their first bowl game since 1986.

"This is going from a loser to a winner in kind of spectacular fashion," Mason said after the game. "Typically, losing programs don't win one at the wire like this."

The Gophers won their next two games to finish with the most victories (eight) by a Gophers team since 1967.

2. In 2003, Mason's team won 10 games for the first time since 1905, capped by a 31-30 Gophers victory over Oregon in the Sun Bowl on a field goal by Rhys Lloyd in the final minute.

Mason's creative running game was on full display as Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney became the 30th pair of teammates in NCAA history to each rush for more than 1,000 yards in the same season.

3. The heartbreak of back-to-back close losses to Michigan was still fresh when the Gophers finally secured possession of the Little Brown Jug in 2005 on Jason Giannini's 30-yard field goal with one second left, winning 23-20 in front of 111,000 fans at Michigan Stadium.

The victory was their first over Michigan since 1986, ending a streak of 16 consecutive losses.

"It's a special moment for us right now, especially for our seniors," Mason said.