MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For years, college football fans had been clamoring for an on-campus stadium for the University of Minnesota.
Sure, the Metrodome could seat up to about 60,000 fans and you never had to worry about weather, but it couldn’t provide the game day atmosphere that came with a facility on a college campus. The Gophers said goodbye to the Metrodome after the 2008 season and started playing in their own back yard in 2009.READ MORE: Man Walking Along I-94 In Monticello Struck And Killed
Little did they know that a few years later, they’d be sharing TCF Bank Stadium with the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota State High School League for the state football playoffs. So five years in, here’s a sample of the top sports moments so far at the home of the Golden Gophers.
Gophers Beat Air Force In Stadium Debut
You can’t review the history of TCF Bank Stadium without going back to Minnesota’s opening night against Air Force. Fans filled tailgate lots on a beautiful fall Saturday, and anticipation built throughout the day. Football was back on campus where it belonged, and the players were expectedly nervous. After all, you don’t want to be the team that loses the inaugural game in your new stadium. Nate Triplett’s fumble recovery for a touchdown gave the Gophers a lead they wouldn’t give back in an emotional 20-13 victory over Air Force.
First Vikings Game Against Bears, Brett Favre Starts
You could argue that the Gophers weren’t a part of the most highly-anticipated game in TCF Bank Stadium history. The Metrodome’s roof had collapsed after a snow storm, and the Vikings with Brett Favre in charge were hosting the Chicago Bears for Monday Night Football. Favre got hurt in the game, and the Vikings got clobbered 40-14 in a snow-filled game.
Gophers Beat Iowa In Kill’s First Season
Jerry Kill had a rough first season as Minnesota coach with nine straight losses at one point. But in the Gophers’ last home game, they claimed Floyd of Rosedale after beating Iowa 27-24 to finish a 3-9 season. Duane Bennet’s 6-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left in regulation sealed the victory.
Gophers Beat Nebraska, Kills First Signature Win
Minnesota won four straight Big Ten games in 2013 for the first time in 40 years in the history of the program. The second of those four wins was perhaps Kill’s first big win as Gophers coach as they upset Nebraska 34-23. It was just three weeks after Kill took a leave of absence from the program to address seizures. Fans celebrated on the field after the win, the program’s first signature win in Kill’s time leading the program.READ MORE: Murder Charge Filed In Shooting Outside Elks Club
Vikings Beat Carolina In Teddy Bridgewater’s First Start
When the Vikings traded up to take Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 NFL Draft, they were excited to see what the rookie quarterback could bring to the team. It happened sooner than expected with Matt Cassel breaking bones in his foot in a loss to the New Orleans Saints. The following week, Bridgewater got his first NFL start at TCF Bank Stadium as the Vikings hosted the Atlanta Falcons. He had 317 yards passing and ran for a touchdown as the Vikings beat the Falcons 41-28.
Gophers Whip Iowa 51-14
It was one of the most enjoyable victories for the Gophers football program both in Kill’s tenure and in the history of TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota was dominant in every phase in a 51-14 win over Iowa, giving the Gophers their third trophy of the 2014 season. They already had the Victory Bell after beating Penn State in 2013 and took the Little Brown Jug earlier in the season at Michigan. Mitch Leidner had four passing touchdowns, three to Maxx Williams, and David Cobb, K.J. Maye and Rodrick Williams all had rushing touchdowns in the win. It was another big step forward for the Gophers under Kill.
Prep Bowl Goes Back Outdoors
For the first time in a few decades, Minnesota’s high school football state championships were decided outside in the elements at TCF Bank Stadium. That hadn’t happened since before the Metrodome was built. In any case, it gave prep athletes considering playing for the Gophers who were also playing for state titles a chance to experience the stadium as an athlete. This year’s winners were Eden Prairie, Mankato West, Becker, Rochester Lourdes, Holdingford, Minneota and Grand Meadow.
The Vikings have one more year of home games at TCF Bank Stadium before moving into their new stadium in 2016. The Gophers open next season against highly-ranked TCU. That goes along with Big Ten home games against Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Gophers Hockey Beats Ohio State In Hockey City ClassicMORE NEWS: COVID In Minnesota: ICU Hospitalizations Now At 64; Positivity Rate Up To 3.1%
In the only outdoor hockey game to be played at TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota beat Ohio State 1-0 last year in the Hockey City Classic. Taylor Cammarata scored the only goal of the game in the second period on assists from Kyle Rau and Justin Holl. Adam Wilcox made 21 saves in a shutout victory. The game was played in front of more than 45,000 fans on a bitterly cold mid-January night. It’s the largest attendance ever for a Minnesota hockey game.