1956 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team

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1956 Minnesota Golden Gophers football
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches No. 9
AP No. 12
1956 record 6–1–2 (4–1–2 Big Ten)
Head coach Murray Warmath (3rd season)
MVP Bobby Cox
Captain Dean Maas
Home stadium Memorial Stadium
Seasons
← 1955
1957 →
1956 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 3 Iowa $ 5 1 0     9 1 0
No. 7 Michigan 5 2 0     7 2 0
No. 12 Minnesota 4 1 2     6 1 2
No. 9 Michigan State 4 2 0     7 2 0
No. 15 Ohio State 4 2 0     6 3 0
Northwestern 3 3 1     4 4 1
Purdue 1 4 2     3 4 2
Illinois 1 4 2     2 5 2
Wisconsin 0 4 3     1 5 3
Indiana 1 5 0     3 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1956 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team was an American football team that represented the University of Minnesota in the 1956 Big Ten Conference football season. In their third year under head coach Murray Warmath, the Golden Gophers compiled a 6–1–2 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 127 to 87,[1] the team finished 12th in the final AP Poll and ninth in the final Coaches Poll.

Quarterback Bobby Cox received the team's Most Valuable Player award.[2] Tackle Bob Hobert was selected by the Football Writers Association of America (for Look magazine) as a first-team player on the 1956 College Football All-America Team.[3] Hobert was also named All-Big Ten first team, Academic All-American and Academic All-Big Ten. Offensive lineman Perry Gehring was named Academic All-Big Ten.[2]

Total attendance for the season was 372,654, which averaged to 62,109, the season high for attendance was against rival Iowa.[4]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 29 at Washington* Husky StadiumSeattle, WA W 34–14   41,000
October 6 Purdue Memorial Stadium • Minneapolis, MN W 21–14   58,660
October 13 Northwestern No. 17 Memorial Stadium • Minneapolis, MN T 0–0   62,006
October 20 Illinois Memorial Stadium • Minneapolis, MN W 16–13   62,614
October 27 at No. 5 Michigan Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI (Little Brown Jug) W 20–7   84,639
November 3 No. 11 Pittsburgh*dagger No. 8 Memorial Stadium • Minneapolis, MN W 9–6   63,158
November 10 No. 15 Iowa No. 6 Memorial Stadium • Minneapolis, MN (Rivalry) L 7–0   64,235
November 17 No. 3 Michigan State No. 17 Memorial Stadium • Minneapolis, MN W 14–13   61,981
November 24 at Wisconsin No. 7 Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI (Rivalry) T 13–13   54,149
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Game summaries[edit]

On September 29, 1956, Minnesota defeated Washington, 34–14, before a crowd of 40,000 at Husky Stadium in Seattle. Quarterbacks Dick Larson and Bobby Cox led Minnesota on offense. Cox had played for Washington in 1954 threw a touchdown pass to give Minnesota the lead at halftime.[5]

On October 6, Minnesota defeated Purdue, 21–14, before a crowd of 59,314 at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. Fullback Dick Borstad scored two Minnesota touchdowns on runs of 23 yards and one yard. Purdue quarterback Len Dawson completed seven of 13 passes for 102 yards and three interceptions.[6]

On October 13, Minnesota (ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll) and Northwestern played to a scoreless tie in front of a crowd of 62,006 at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. Minnesota had been a 14-point favorite and moved the ball well, out-gaining Northwestern 271 yards to 142. However, the Gophers were unable to score, turning the ball over on fumbles three times, including one at Northwestern's goal line. Heavy rain slowed the teams in the second half.[7]

On October 20, Minnesota defeated Illinois, 16–13, before a crowd of 63,037 at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. Dick Borstad kicked a field goal with two minutes remaining to put the Golden Gophers in the lead.[8]

On October 27, in the annual battle for the Little Brown Jug, Minnesota defeated Michigan (ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll), 20–7, before a crowd of 84,639 at Michigan Stadium. Michigan led, 7–0, at halftime on 16-yard touchdown run by Terry Barr, but Barr was injured on the touchdown and did not return to the game. Minnesota came back in the second half with 20 unanswered points, including two touchdown runs by Bobby Cox.[9]

On November 3, Minnesota (ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll) defeated Pittsburgh, 9–6, before a homecoming crowd of 63,158 at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. Minnesota's Dick Borstad kicked a field goal with two-and-a-half minutes to go to give Minnesota the lead. Pitt's Joe Walton returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but the return was called back due to a clipping penalty.[10]

On November 10, Minnesota lost to 1956 Big Ten champion Iowa, 7–0, before a crowd of 64,235 at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. Iowa coach implemented a 6-3-2 defense to contain Minnesota's speedy Bobby Cox, after the game, Cox noted: "I couldn't go outside. They forced me to go inside and then some linebacker would nail me."[11] The outcome put Iowa into the lead in the race for the conference's Rose Bowl bid, after the game, Iowa's players carried coach Evashevski off the field on their shoulders.[12]

On November 17, Minnesota (ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll) upset Michigan State (ranked No. 3), 14–13, before a crowd of 62,478 at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. Bobby Cox led the way for Minnesota[13]

On November 24, in the annual battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe, Minnesota (ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll) and Wisconsin played to a 13–13 tie before a crowd of 54,149 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. On the final play of the game, Wisconsin's Jon Hobbs missed his third field goal attempt of the game. Wisconsin finished the season without a conference win for the first time since 1939.[14]

Rankings and awards[edit]

On December 3, 1956, both the Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) released their final college football polls. Both organizations ranked undefeated Oklahoma at the No. 1 spot. The AP ranked the Golden Gophers No. 12, and the UP ranked them No. 9.[15][16]

Only one Ohio State player, tackle Bob Hobert, was picked by the Associated Press (AP) and/or the United Press (UP) as a first-team player on the 1956 All-Big Ten Conference football team. Hobert received first-team honors from both the AP and UP.[17][18] Hobert was also selected by the Football Writers Association of America as a first-team pick for the 1956 College Football All-America Team.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1956 Minnesota Golden Gophers Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), pp. 179–182 [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/allamerica/alltime.pdf
  4. ^ Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 160 
  5. ^ "Minnesota Power Routs Washington Huskies, 34–14". Chicago Tribune. September 30, 1956. p. 2-2 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "Gopher Defense Halts Late Purdue Bid, 21–14". Chicago Tribune. October 7, 1956. pp. 2–1, 2–8 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ Robert Cromie (October 14, 1956). "Wildcats and Gophers Play Scoreless Tie!". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ Maurice Shevlin (October 21, 1956). "Gophers Beat Ilini on Field Goal, 16–13". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1, 2-2. 
  9. ^ Lyall Smith (October 28, 1956). "Minnesota 20, Michigan 7". Detroit Free Press. p. 1C – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ Roy McHugh (November 4, 1956). "Pitt Falls Before Minnesota, 9 to 6". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 6-1 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ "Evy's Defensive Gamble Pays Off to Bottle Up Cox". The Des Moines Register. November 11, 1956. p. 2S – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ Bert McGrane (November 11, 1956). "Iowa Deflates Gophers, 7–0". The Des Moines Register. p. 1S – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  13. ^ "Iowa Takes All as MSU Bows, 14–13: Cox's Razzle Dazzle Too Much for Spartans". Detroit Free Press. November 18, 1956. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  14. ^ Edward Prell (November 25, 1956). "Badgers Gain Late 13–13 Tie with Gophers". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  15. ^ "Sooners Win: Tennessee Second in 1956 Poll". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. p. 10A – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ "Standings". Deadwood Pioneer Times. December 4, 1956. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  17. ^ "Hawk Trio On All Big Ten". The Spencer Daily Reporter. November 30, 1956. p. 4. 
  18. ^ "Mel Dillard on All-Big Ten Team; Iowa Puts Men in Four Positions". Alexandria (IN) Times-Tribune. November 30, 1956. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  19. ^ http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/allamerica/alltime.pdf