1967 Gophers had pride, joy and heartache on way to last Big Ten title

On Sakal’s go to to Minnesota, Gophers coach Murray Warmath sat him within the movie room on a Saturday morning to observe the 1960 Iowa recreation. Sakal’s jaw dropped whereas watching Tom Brown destroy the Hawkeyes, a part of a season that netted him the Outland Trophy and ended within the Rose Bowl.

“I had by no means seen a soccer recreation like that in my life,” Sakal stated. “The hitting was unbelievable. I keep in mind sitting there and saying to myself, ‘That is the place I need to play.’ “

Sakal stored the custom alive because the captain of the 1967 Gophers group that gained a share of the Huge Ten championship. He and about forty members of that staff will probably be honored earlier than and through Minnesota’s 2017 Massive Ten opener towards Maryland at eleven a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at TCF Financial institution Stadium.

“We need to make sure that, when the 1967 workforce watches our recreation, they’re impressed,” Gophers coach P.J. Fleck stated. “It brings them again to their day.”

The ‘sixty seven gamers, a majority from Minnesota, beam with delight over their accomplishment, however the reunion might be tinged with disappointment. Whereas Minnesota’s eight-2 marketing campaign led to three-method title share with Indiana and Purdue, convention guidelines despatched the Hoosiers to the Rose Bowl, despite the fact that Minnesota held the top-to-head tiebreaker.

It is exhausting to consider now, however as a result of there have been no different bowl choices, the Gophers stayed house.

“We had fun, lots of enjoyable, a number of heartaches,” Sakal stated.

Given the check of time, the ‘sixty seven workforce’s achievement stands up as one of many program’s 18 Huge Ten titles — third to solely Michigan and Ohio State — however since then, this system and its followers have endured a 50-yr drought.

“There’s satisfaction in it as a result of we have been the final ones, so no less than we did it,” stated Jim Carter, a fullback from South St. Paul. “However there’s some actual disappointment in it to assume that this college has gone 50 years with out profitable a Massive Ten soccer championship. We have had so many athletic administrators and soccer coaches that have been simply mediocre. It is a disgrace.”

Highs and lows

After a four-5-1 season in 1966, the Gophers began the ‘sixty seven season with modest expectations. Within the opener towards the Utah Redskins — now referred to as the Utes — Minnesota gained within the last seconds, thirteen-12, and adopted it with a 7-zero loss towards a ranked Nebraska group in Lincoln.

The Gophers topped Southern Methodist after which rattled off 4 straight wins in Massive Ten play, together with a 21-zero victory over Michigan State, the defending co-nationwide champions. The Gophers captured the Little Brown Jug with a…

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