It’s back to Motown for the Gophers.
The Gophers will play Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 at Detroit’s Ford Field, it was announced Sunday. It will be Minnesota’s second trip to the Quick Lane since 2015, when the Gophers beat Central Michigan 21-14.
The game matches the Gophers (6-6, 3-6 Big Ten) vs. the Yellow Jackets, who are 7-5 overall and finished second in the ACC’s Coastal Division with a 5-3 record. The game will be the final one for Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, who is retiring after 11 seasons and 83 victories with the Yellow Jackets.
The game is a 4:15 p.m. Central start and will air on ESPN.
"I'm really proud of our football team,'' Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. "It's a team that found a way to get to 6-6. ... Its been a tremendous year. I think this team has overachieved in a lot of areas.''
The Gophers achieved bowl eligibility by going 3-0 in the nonconference season and 3-6 in the Big Ten, winning three of their final five games. A 41-10 rout of Purdue on Nov. 10 put them on the cusp, and the 37-15 romp at Wisconsin on Nov. 24 secured a bowl spot, along with winning Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the first time since 2003.
"It's a huge accomplishment for this program and this individual team, especially at the end of the year,'' Fleck said. "To win at Camp Randall, where you haven't won at since 1994 and to get the Axe back after 15 years.''
The Gophers will face a Georgia Tech team that runs a triple-option offense that focuses on the rushing game. The Yellow Jackets have rushed for a nation's-best 4,019 yards (334.9 per game) while throwing only 114 passes this season.
"It's very different,'' Fleck said. "When you play a more-traditional style of offense, that's what you're defense is made to stop. ... When you get a triple-option team, everything changes.''
The bowl game will be the Gophers’ 20th, and they have a 7-12 record in postseason contests. They are on a two-game bowl winning streak, beating Central Michigan in the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl and Washington State 17-12 in the 2016 Holiday Bowl.
The Big Ten’s bowl lineup:
Rose: Ohio State vs. Washington
Peach: Michigan vs. Florida
Citrus: Penn State vs. Kentucky
Outback: Iowa vs. Mississippi State
Holiday: Northwestern vs. Utah
Music City: Purdue vs. Auburn
Redbox: Michigan State vs. Oregon
Pinstripe: Wisconsin vs. Miami (Fla.)
Quick Lane: Gophers vs. Georgia Tech