Gophers and Penn St. is most-watched noon game on ABC in three years

Minnesota topped the Nittany Lions with 6.7 million watching

Lindsey Peterson
November 12, 2019 - 2:55 pm

(Getty Images / Adam Bettcher / Stringer)

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What a week for the Gophers.  First, their head coach signed a new 7-year contract.  Then they moved to 9-0 with a win over favored Penn St.  Then QB Tanner Morgan and Safety Antoine Winfield were named Big Ten Players of the Week.  Winfield also added the Walter Camp National Player of the Week.  Coach P.J. Fleck was named the Dodd Trophy National Coach of the Week.

They also jumped up to #7 in the AP Poll, their highest ranking since 1962.  And they now have their sights set firmly on the Rose Bowl (at least) with a huge game in Iowa this Saturday.

RELATED: Two Gophers honored by the Big Ten for their performances Saturday. 

Now, according to ESPN PR, the Gophers are must-watch TV for the rest of America.  (Note: ESPN and ABC are both owned by the Disney Corporation)

According to a tweet sent out by the network Tuesday afternoon, the Gophers and Penn St. was a big hit.

  • It was ABC's most-watched noon game in three years
  • The game averaged 6,736,000 
  • Late in the 4th quarter, the audience peaked at over 8,700,000

The last time a noon game on ABC saw bigger numbers was 2016 with Michigan playing Ohio St. 

Closer to home, Minneapolis-St. Paul had a 19.5 rating.  That's the highest for ESPN networks since 2000 in this market, which is as far back as those numbers go.  

While bowl games are mostly slotted by where a team finishes now, the high interest in Gopher football won't hurt the program as they seek to get to their first Rose Bowl since 1961, and only their second New Year's Day bowl game (2015 Citrus Bowl) since that same year. 

Representatives from the Orange Bowl, and the Citrus Bowl were at Saturday's win over Penn St.  Plus the Rose Bowl committee recognized receiver Rashod Batemen's performance this week, another sign that the Gophers are on the radar of the biggest postseason games.

  

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