Gophers

Minnesota Golden Gophers celebrate with fans after defeating the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. The Gophers finished the season ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. Douglas DeFelice / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Golden Gophers are a top-10 college football program. The Associated Press poll put Minnesota in the 10th spot of its final 25-team ranking for the 2019 season.

The national pollsters showed Monday night how impressed they were with Minnesota’s 11-2 season, which was capped with a 31-24 victory over Auburn in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

Minnesota won 11 games for the first time since before the forward pass was invented in 1906, and their win total is the most since several high school teams were on the U’s schedule in 1904.

The Gophers are in the postseason top 25 for the first time since their No. 20 ranking in 2003, and this is their highest rank since 1962, when they also were 10th.

The AP poll moved the Gophers up from 16th, which is where they were ranked after their 38-17 loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 30.

In the final poll, Minnesota finished ahead of Wisconsin (11th) and Iowa (15th), which beat the U 23-19 in Iowa City on Nov. 16. The U beat Penn State at TCF Bank Stadium on Nov. 9; the Nittany Lions finished ranked No. 9.

Auburn (9-4) fell to 14th.

Minnesota has nine returning starters on offense and four on defense, and this season-ending standing is expected to carry forward in some regard to the 2020 season.

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