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Updated: November 3rd, 2013 10:09am
The Gophers might be on the verge of accomplishing something rare

The Gophers might be on the verge of accomplishing something rare

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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One month ago, the Gophers football team was reeling on two fronts -- a 42-13 loss at Michigan to fall to 0-2 in conference, and another seizure suffered by head coach Jerry Kill that prevented him from being on the sidelines.

Things looked bleak and uncertain.

But after persevering at Indiana on Saturday, the Gophers are charging full-speed ahead. In their six conference games, Minnesota has increased its offensive point totals every week -- 7 against Iowa, 13 at Michigan, 20 at Northwestern, 34 against Nebraska and 42 on Saturday.

And now the program could be on the verge of accomplishing something rare.

At 7-2 overall (3-2 in conference), the Gophers have a winnable game at home against Penn St. next Saturday, followed by tough games against Wisconsin on Nov. 23, at Michigan State on Nov. 30 and a bowl game later in the year.

If the Gophers can win just two of those four games, they'll reach the nine-win plateau for only the second time in the modern era.

The only other season in which the Gophers won nine games or more was 2003, when Glen Mason led Minnesota to a 10-3 record (including a Sun Bowl victory over Oregon). Mason won eight games in 1999 and 2002.

Of course, winning nine games is easier now that teams play 12 regular season games. The Murray Warmath-led Gophers were among the top teams in the country in the early 1960's, but they topped out at eight wins due to shorter schedules.

Still, this is progress. And it's safe to say the Gophers have become the most entertaining and relevant football team in town. 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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