Mason notches 100th career coaching victory

After consecutive losses, Minnesota football coach Glen Mason finally got No. 100.

Brett Angel

Minnesota coach Glen Mason admitted he had forgotten about it. Luckily for him, his team didn’t.

After two unsuccessful attempts in previous weeks against Michigan and Michigan State, Mason earned the 100th victory of his NCAA coaching career Saturday against Illinois.

After the game, Mason went into his usual routine of addressing the team in the locker room. But senior defensive tackle Dan Kwapinski quickly interrupted so the Gophers could honor their coach’s accomplishment by presenting him with the game ball.

“I’m a little surprised it doesn’t mean more to me,” Mason said of the milestone victory. “It meant more to me that the players saw enough to recognize it.”

Mason won 12 games in two seasons as coach at Kent State from 1986-87. He won 47 games in nine seasons at Kansas and has won 41 games in seven years at Minnesota.

Minnesota co-offensive coordinator Mitch Browning and running backs coach Vic Adamle have been with Mason every step of the way.

“A lot of guys have won 100 games, but I’m not sure a lot of guys have won 100 games coaching some of the places we’ve coached,” Mason said.

“We’ve gone into some places that if you were timid of heart you wouldn’t have gone. They buried a lot of soldiers before we went there.”

Mason became the second active Big Ten coach with 100 career wins at the Division I level. Penn State coach Joe Paterno has 338 career victories. Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez has 98.

“We knew it was a special moment for him, and I’m happy I could be a part of it,” Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq said. “I know the other guys are too.”

Extra-point streak ends

Rhys Lloyd’s missed extra point early in the third quarter was the first such miss by a Minnesota kicker in 128 attempts.

The last Gophers kicker to miss an extra point was Dan Nystrom against Wisconsin in 2000.

Oh, those tricky Gophers

On Minnesota’s first possession of the game, the Gophers faced a fourth-and-one from their own 35-yard line.

Mason sent the punting unit on to the field, but backup quarterback Benji Kamrath took the snap and sneaked five yards for a first down.

Six plays later, Laurence Maroney scored on a six-yard touchdown run to give Minnesota the lead for good.

An offensive machine

Minnesota’s 575 yards of total offense Saturday marked the fifth time in eight games this season the Gophers have gained at least 500 yards in a single game.

Minnesota currently ranks fourth in the nation in total offense (492 yards per game) and ninth in scoring average (39.8 points per game).