Penn State-Minnesota battle of unbeatens gets noon start; Fleck pleads for ESPN's GameDay
The details have been announced for one of college football’s few remaining “Battle of the Unbeatens.”
The No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions (8-0) will take on the No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-0) at noon Nov. 9 on ABC, both the network and universities confirmed Monday morning. Both Big Ten teams are on bye this week, before playing in TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., next week.
It is the fourth straight week that Penn State’s game will appear on ABC.
Odds are that ESPN’s College GameDay will not be at this matchup — mainly because No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama are also set to play Nov. 9. But Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck sure made one heck of a pitch after his team’s 52-10 win over Maryland.
“I really hope College GameDay looks at our Twin City, our university, truly, to bring GameDay here,” he said during a press conference. “We have 4 million people that live in the Twin City area. We are the only Division I school in the state of Minnesota. Everybody here is Gophers. We have never hosted College GameDay.
“And all due respect to Alabama and LSU — I have no idea what’s going on with them right now — but I can tell you this: You can go to them any year. Pick a year, pick a game. You can go to them every game of the season if you would like. College GameDay’s about unique stories, unique places and unique moments. That’s what they say they’re about.”
This is the first time the Nittany Lions started out 8-0 since the 2008 season. For Minnesota, it’s the first time since 1941.
If Penn State wins, it’s likely looking at a floor that includes a spot in the Rose Bowl. If Minnesota comes out on top, it’ll maintain at least a two-game lead in the Big Ten West for a spot in the Big Ten championship.
In the preseason, this was a matchup that few thought would carry such implications. But Penn State has proven itself with three straight wins over Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State. And the Gophers still have yet to face a top-25 team, but they’re looking to make statement against the Nittany Lions.
So circle those calendars: Noon, Nov. 9, on ABC at TCF Bank Stadium.
Gillikin, Oweh honored by Big Ten: Senior PSU punter Blake Gillikin and redshirt freshman defensive end Jayson Oweh each claimed Big Ten weekly honors after their performances at Michigan State.
Gillikin garnered his second Big Ten Specialist of the Week accolade of the season and Oweh earned his first Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honor.
Gillikin averaged 44.2 yards on eight punts. Of his eight punts, five landed inside the Michigan State 20, including three inside the 10.
Oweh had three total tackles, including a pair of strip-sacks, against the Spartans.