The game that changed it all...in honor of Go Gophers Rah

koreangopher

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I read Go Gophers Rah post and thought that it would be a great idea to post everyone's game that made them a Gopher fan.

For me, I grew up on the wrong side of the Mississippi. I had only known good memories of the Wisky persuasion. I came to Minnesota because I was an architecture major. The U had won the 2002 National Hockey Championship the spring before I got here. I was already accepted to the U and though I enjoyed watching the game, I had no idea what it meant to be a Gopher fan.

I went to the U in Fall 2002. Enjoyed the 2003 Hockey win, but was still not 100% there. I was there for Michigan in '03 and there for Wisconsin the same year. The game that did it for me was the '05 Purdue game. That place was absolutely nuts in the student section. We were running up and down the aisles handing out high fives and man hugs to everyone in the place. The fact that we won that game on defense was even better. I was never more proud of our team than that moment.

That brotherhood brought me into the realm of diehard fan. I don't post here much but I check the website 2-3 times a day from across the Pacific. My family is all Wisky fans and I always talk trash whenever possible. The Gophs are the reason I am coming back for a three month vacation from my job here in Korea.

In Short, Ski-U-Mah!!!

The Gopher fans are the reason I keep coming back. You guys make it worth it.
 

re3886

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for me it was something I was born with...

My dad worked Memorial as a Boy Scout with a fishing net as a kid, Coach Fessler had talked to him about playing QB for him, but he got fired. As it turned out, Paul Giel arrived on campus at the same time he would have , so he would never have played anyways. It was cemented for me in 1977, trying to hear the games that were on when I wasn't playing, on WKLK out of Cloquet. Gopher Football wasn't on the radio in Duluth back then. The team beat both Rose Bowl teams that year, including upseting # 1 Michigan, then fell apart only needing to win one game in the last three amd lost them all, and played horrible in the Hall of Fame bowl against Maryland. It's been a long, hard ride, but I do have very high hopes for the future.
 

badgergopher

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My parents humming the rouser when I was very small made me a Gopher fan.
 

year of the gopher

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1999 Wisconsin at Minnesota

I too am transplanted from Wisconsin. Not long after moving here and taking a job at the U I went to the Gophers-Badgers game in 99 with my folks. I was never a really serious Badger fan but was a casual one only because my folks went to Wisconsin and were season-ticket holders.

It had only been a few months so I admit I wore a Wisconsin shirt to that game as much out of habit as anything. For the first time I was at a road game for Wisconsin. Not long after kickoff, I started to realize how obnoxious many of the fans were being. By the third quarter of a game the Gophers eventually lost in overtime, I no longer wanted to be wearing red. I realized that I was becoming a Gopher fan literally during the course of one game.

After that one game, I started going to as many games as I could. Throughout grad school at the U, my commitment got stronger and today I'm probably a close second to a good friend of mine in how committed I am to Gopher sports.

I have never looked back and although I would say that I've had more heartbreaks than highs in football (and basketball), hockey has helped me through some of those lows. Now, however, I think is the time for Gopher sports to shine with football leading the pack. I know our schedule is tough but I am an eternal optimist and I think this will be...the year of the gopher.

EDIT: Reading the last two posts after I started mine reminds me to point out that my young son's room is FULL of maroon and gold. He knew the rouser before he was two and is as pumped as a little kid can be for the new stadium. I look forward to him donning the maroon and gold for decades to come and he'll be one kid who can say he went to the first game at TCF Bank Stadium.
 

JRGopher

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MN @ Michigan 1986

Long time reader but first time poster...but this question brings back great memories...
Easy answer, U of M at Michigan, 1986. I remember my dad pacing through the house while we watched the game. Him and I had season tix since I was old enough to remember, but I never saw him like that before this game. Of course being 6 years old, I followed him around the house and got all worked up whenever he did, and of course when we got the jug, we went crazy. He then drove the fam to meet the team when they arrived back in the cities, I think it was that same night ...and I still have my gold hanky with Rickey Foggie's autograph.
Something about my pops...I can't remember the year or the game, I think in the 90s, but it I remember it was a tough, nail-biting loss at the dome, and he looked like he had just been through hell. I told him that it's just a game; he said back to me "No son, it's much more important than that." Wow, diehard!
 

AeroGopher

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The one that turned me from a regular fan into a message board posting, blog reading fan was THE penalty shot at Mariucci Arena by Danny Irman on Friday, November 5th 2004. Even if you aren't a hockey fan, just a Minnesota fan, I guarantee if you were at this game it made you a diehard Gopher. The white-hot noise felt like it was going to melt my face off. Fox had to turn the Gain way down because it was so loud in there. The highlights only show the Gopher goals, and don't show a lot of the heavy hitting, great saves, and the 5 minutes of penalty kill by the Gophers at the end of the game to seal the victory. I think the next night the Gophers came out and just crushed them.
 

Schnauzer

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I'm just a life-long Minnesotan. I didn't even graduate from the 'U (although my wife has her grad degree from there). I am an MIAC alum. I grew up in Southern MN farm country, I'm living my productive years in the Twin Cities, and if I am lucky I will one day enjoy a long retirement up north in the lake country. I don't know how I could be more Minnesotan. My love for Gopher sports is just an extension of my love for the state. There never was a Big 10 alternative as I can remember watching Gopher football/basketball/hockey/anything-maroon-and-gold with my dad as a kid.

I always kept track of football, and hoped for the best for the squad. But, by today's standards I was probably more of a 'fair weather fan' through the 80's and 90's. There were so many bad teams, I guess I figured in those days that I'd "get around" to being a better Gopher football fan when the team started winning Big 10 titles. Well, that didn't happen but something else did. I slowly but surely got tired of pro sports (I still enjoy watching them but not nearly at the same interest level compared to years past). The money, the franchise moves, the holdouts, the lockouts... it all took its toll on my interest. At about the same time, I started attending sporadic Gopher Football games, knowing the team was not much better than 'okay'. It was at that point I found myself going early to watch the band and just as my love for pro sports started to fade, my love for the college game started to form. I had been a Gopher fan my whole life but I started to tell myself the following: "Sooner or later this team will win and when that happens it will be special, more special than the 87' Twins for this state. Do I want to jump on the bandwagon or do I want to appreciate it even more knowing I jumped in before it transpired?" Unlike pro sports, being a college fan is more than "buying a product". The atmosphere, the traditions, etc. all conspire to still make it fun even if the actual football 'product' is mediocre. The atmosphere and knowing that sooner or later the law of averages will see the Gophers on top, are more than enough to get me through any lean years. It is just too much fun.

Anyway, my season ticket years have all been spent in the dome. I admired what BA built in Wisconsin and I always felt it could happen here too. Even Northwestern had a couple breakout years. With the new stadium, I think just one Northwestern-style breakout year can put the program back on the map long term. With the stadium, football complex, etc. this program now has the university backing that had been missing for much of the 70's, 80's, and 90's. I'm looking forward to the ride...
 

grunkiejr

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I've been a Gopher fan as long as I can remember largely because my dad was a Gopher fan. I don't really remember the games when Holtz was here (I was 4-5 yrs old) but I remember the excitement around the program. I can also remember playing football in my backyard with friends and I always wanted to be Darrell Thompson. Like I said, I can't remember the games because I was so young but I defeinitely remember what it meant to me as a litle kid. I also remember that a friend and I would play basketball in his driveway and we would pretend we were the Gophers with Burton, Newbern, Coffey, Shikenjanski, etc.

When it came time to pick my school I was considering going in to athletic training and even though I was accepted to a stronger program in La Crosse it was a no brainer for me that I wanted to go to Minnesota. I ended up switching majors and going to CSOM but it was Gopher sports that really led me to attend the University of Minnesota.
 

UpnorthGo4

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1968 Minnesota 27 - Purdue 13

When the Gophers played Purdue on Nov. 9, 1968, the Boilermakers were the No. 1 rated team in the country. Their top player was Leroy Keyes, a two time All-American running back. He finished 2nd in the Heisman Trophy voting that year.

My buddy and I hitch-hiked down from Duluth to see the game. While we were waiting in line to purchase tickets, an older guy walked up and offered us two tickets free of charge. Although it took him awhile to convince us that he was making a legitimate offer, we were finally persuaded to take the tickets. Much to our surprise, we actually got into Memorial Stadium to see the game.

Our seats turned out to be on 50 yard line on the home side of the field. They were two of the best seats in the stadium. The actual game was icing on the cake. The Gophers beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country 27 - 13. I have been a die-hard Gopher fan ever since.
 

Jike Spingleton

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That was a great night. We were in Madison for the football game the next day. At the bar watching Irman bury that penalty shot, surrounded by Becky fans, was a beautiful thing.

Of course, we got buried ourselves the next day, but for that night, it was fantastic.
 
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I am also from Wisky, but never a badger fan. The fact that everyone creamed whenever they heard 'badger' made me sick so I didn't even apply there. Minnesota was the best fit and am now an extreme fan
 

Omega015

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I attended my first game with my student tix in 97, and attended games regularly for years, but I wasn't on board 100% until the Toledo game in 2001. Travelling 600 miles to get dropped 38-7 by a MAC team took a level of commitment that didn't exist prior to that day.
 

badgergopher

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Long time reader but first time poster...but this question brings back great memories...
Easy answer, U of M at Michigan, 1986.
One of my good friends had a blind date that night and after the game, he decided to change thier plans of going to a movie. They instead went to the airport to see the jug and give high fives to the Gophers...there was no second date.
 

froggopher

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football memories

My dad and I attended (finally) the Gopher/Kansas game in 1970 when I was in 9th grade. I pestered him so damn much that he finally bought tickets. Craig Curry was the Gopher quarterback. David Jaynes was the Kansas qb. I think the Gophers lost that game.
Didn't matter, I was hooked right then and there.:clap::clap:
 

GoGophers2005

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1981 Michigan at Minnesota
2nd or 3rd to last game at Memorial Stadium
Anthony Carter played for Michigan
I was 8 years old, beautiful October day
Gophers lost by a few touchdowns, I was hooked.
 

Sam

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My family were refugees in the early 80's and immigrated to Minnesota because my Aunt was in grad school at the U and worked her connections. Ever since then all my uncles, aunts, and parents went to the U. I've always had a strong connection with the U. There was really no other alternative for me as school when I started my freshman year in 2003.

As a football fan the game that did it for was 1999 Penn State:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjemC5yKwEc

I remember that I broke my futon when I jumped so high and landed once I saw Nystrom's kick go through. That was a great day.

Ever since then I've gone to the 2003 Sun Bowl, 2004-5 Music City Bowls, and the last Insight Bowl. I was there in 2005 in Michigan, that was a great game and would probably rate that first over the Purdue game.

Top experience as a Gopher fan would be the Wisky game stated earlier in the thread. I was sitting in the student section and it was so loud. I have been to Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State for football games but for that one moment in Mariucci it was the loudest I've ever heard a stadium. It was pretty comparable when we played Wisky in basketball the following year, I think, when Grier outscored the entire Wisky team in the second half. Ahhh great memories....I love beating Wisconsin!
 

SMU GOPHS FAN

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Watching Chris Darkins run. I don't know why but I just LOVED watching that guy play. Even though those were some aweful teams, I couldn't wait to see him play on Saturdays.
 

GopherGod

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Watching Chris Darkins run. I don't know why but I just LOVED watching that guy play. Even though those were some aweful teams, I couldn't wait to see him play on Saturdays.

I could not agree more, he was fast and strong and that game against Purdue in 1995 where he and Mike Alstott went back and forth and both ended up with over 200 yards rushing was amazing.
 

DarrenTheGreek

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1987 - Michigan 30, Minnesota 20. Went to my first game as a 10 year old boy and saw Darrell Thompson break off a 98 yard TD run right at our seats in the endzone. I bugged my dad to bring me to at least 1 game every year after that. Once I turned 18 I bought season tickets even though I didn't attend the U (went to a local MIAC school).
 

howeda7

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We lived a few hours away and didn't have cable. But my mom says I would sit and listen to whole football games on the radio even when I was 4 years old. I went to my first game against Indiana for Homecoming. I think it was 1987 and we lost 18-17. Good induction to being a Gopher fan. The NCAA tournament runs of 1989-1990 solidified basketball as well.
 

Curseislifted33

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Being proud of the state I was born and raised in made me a Gopher fan.
 

coolhandgopher

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Was it '81?

Coming from a Minnesota family that's largely non-sports fans, it took me until 8 or 9 to get hooked on the Gophers. I'm more of a basketball fan, but follow football pretty closely too. The game that got me hooked on the Gophers football team was their defeat of Ohio State at old Memorial Stadium, when Jay Carroll caught the winning touchdown pass from Mike Hohensee with seconds remaining on the clock (at least that's how it's framed in my memory). I can still see the picture of Jay Carroll, exuberantly holding the winning catch above his head while the Memorial Stadium fans were going wild in the background.
 

norman dale

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It'll always be knows as the Barbie Doll game to me

The afternoon of October 28, 1989. First time, and certainly not the last time, I got kicked in the nuts as a Gopher football fan.

The Buckeyes were visiting the Gophers and the game was actually the marquee afternoon game featured on TV that day. Television being 4 channels to me at the time. Long story short the Gophers blow a big halftime lead and fall behind late 41-37. They have one final chance and are driving into OSU territory needing a 4th down conversion to continue the drive. Pass goes awry and OSU gets the ball back on downs to run out the clock.

My sister, who was almost 6 years old at the time, had collection of Barbie Dolls that were strewn about the family room where I was watching the game. Well, when that final 4th down pass attempt fell incomplete I, in a fit of anger, kicked one of her unfortunate Barbie Dolls which flew across the room, crashed into a wall and came crashing down to the floor without her head. Yes, I decapitated Barbie. My sister wailed and my mom yelled. I stormed outside to kick the football around for the next hour to just to get rid of some of my anger. I knew right then that college football must be something special to follow if I could get that angry.
 

cncmin

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1987 - Michigan 30, Minnesota 20. Went to my first game as a 10 year old boy and saw Darrell Thompson break off a 98 yard TD run right at our seats in the endzone. I bugged my dad to bring me to at least 1 game every year after that. Once I turned 18 I bought season tickets even though I didn't attend the U (went to a local MIAC school).
This was also the game that solidified me as a Gopher football fan...they were rarely on TV those days, but I was at my grandparents' house for the weekend and I was so excited when Thompson broke off that huge run. I rarely got to see them again on TV much, and never in person until I was a student, but now with the advent of the extra ESPN channels and now BTN, it made my move out to PA a little less hard on me.
 

jovs

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Sitting in the End Zone bleachers of Memorial Stadium as a kid.
 

MrGopher

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2003 Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 34.

Last-second, 35 yard field goal by Rhys Lloyd. Barber and Maroney each rushed for over 130 yds.

Watched on tv at home in Illinois with my dad.

That combined with the two Hockey National Champions about that time sealed the deal for me. The frozen four games are the only college hockey games ever seen in illinois.
 

SMU GOPHS FAN

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Long time reader but first time poster...but this question brings back great memories...
Easy answer, U of M at Michigan, 1986. I remember my dad pacing through the house while we watched the game. Him and I had season tix since I was old enough to remember, but I never saw him like that before this game. Of course being 6 years old, I followed him around the house and got all worked up whenever he did, and of course when we got the jug, we went crazy. He then drove the fam to meet the team when they arrived back in the cities, I think it was that same night ...and I still have my gold hanky with Rickey Foggie's autograph.
Something about my pops...I can't remember the year or the game, I think in the 90s, but it I remember it was a tough, nail-biting loss at the dome, and he looked like he had just been through hell. I told him that it's just a game; he said back to me "No son, it's much more important than that." Wow, diehard!
This made me think of a similar story of mine. My two closest friends had just got engaged and threw a big party that just happened to be on the night of the Michigan debacle. Anyway, everyone was partying and having a good time and there I was in the spare bedroom pacing back and forth in front of the TV. Everyone kept coming up and asking me why I was so concerned with this game and that I should be out partying with everyone else. It just made me feel sad that no one really understood the signifigance of what was about to happen and that if we won that game the road was paved to Pasedena. Ofcourse we all know what did end up happening. Which then led me to get completely hammered out of my mind in the hopes that I would wake up the next day and come to find it was all a nightmare...I also have a feeling that I wasn't the only Gopher football fan who tried drinking the game away that night.
 

husker70

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My Dad had grown up in Nebraska in the 30's and regaled me with the players from Minnesota who played against Nebraska. When we moved to Chicago I was in junior high and ate, drank, and slept college football. It was a clear fall afternoon in I think 1961, my Dad took me to Dyche Stadium to see a Northwestern team Coached by Ara Parseigan. He had a passing combination of Tommy Meyers to Paul Flatley. The Gophers had Bell and Eller. It was everything I though it coud be. Thoughout high school we had players going to Army, Navy, Illinois, Iowa. And when as a sophmore, John Wintermute chose Minnesota the thinking was why? Well 6 years later and fractured C-3 vertebrea I was drafted and served in the U.S. Army. When I got out my folks were now in Minnesota and I had had enough of the heat in Texas. It was now 1973, Cal Stoll was the Coach and I think Tony Dungy was the QB. I wanted tickets to Nebraska vs. Minnesota. Contacting Nebraska they told me the allottment was sold out, but I could get a ticket from Minnesota. "They always have tickets." I drove over to the stadium looking for the ticket office. Down University one way and back on the other side of Memorial Stadium, no ticket office. I drove down frat row and got directions from a postal carrier. He said the ticket office is in Dinky Town. Internally, I was thinking, right. I was in no mood to be run around, but his directions were spot on. I walked into the ticket office, there was no Football Complex. Seated behind a long collapsable table was a gorgeous blond female. I said I want to buy a ticket to Gopher game against Nebraska. She said, really? And the rest is history.
 

SunGopher

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I was at a wedding rehearsal that night, unfortunately I was in the wedding and couldn't miss it. Everyone was outside having a good time while I was glued to the tv. Pretty much the same result, I drank until my body couldn't handle it anymore. I woke up living the nightmare with a bad hangover.
 

Schnauzer

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The afternoon of October 28, 1989. First time, and certainly not the last time, I got kicked in the nuts as a Gopher football fan.

The Buckeyes were visiting the Gophers and the game was actually the marquee afternoon game featured on TV that day. Television being 4 channels to me at the time. Long story short the Gophers blow a big halftime lead and fall behind late 41-37. They have one final chance and are driving into OSU territory needing a 4th down conversion to continue the drive. Pass goes awry and OSU gets the ball back on downs to run out the clock.

My sister, who was almost 6 years old at the time, had collection of Barbie Dolls that were strewn about the family room where I was watching the game. Well, when that final 4th down pass attempt fell incomplete I, in a fit of anger, kicked one of her unfortunate Barbie Dolls which flew across the room, crashed into a wall and came crashing down to the floor without her head. Yes, I decapitated Barbie. My sister wailed and my mom yelled. I stormed outside to kick the football around for the next hour to just to get rid of some of my anger. I knew right then that college football must be something special to follow if I could get that angry.
This made me laugh... and it is so fitting considering your "mediocre teams" quote/signature.
 
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