Gophers defense lands 5 players on All-Big Ten lists

Minnesota DL Boye Mafe (34) during a college football game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Illinois Fighting Illini on November 7, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill  ((Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images))

The University of Minnesota football team ended its regular season with a 23-13 win over rival Wisconsin on Saturday at Huntington Bank Stadium. On Tuesday, five defensive players were selected to various All-Big Ten teams.

Minnesota’s defense ranked No. 4 nationally in total defense, allowing 284.4 yards per game. The Gophers also ranked No. 11 in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 18.25 points per game in 2021.

Boye Mafe, Esezi Otomewo, Jack Gibbens, Mariano Sori-Marin and Tyler Nubin each were selected All-Big Ten on Tuesday. Mafe earned Second Team honors by the media and third team by the coaches after leading the Gophers with six sacks, nine tackles for a loss and finishing sixth on the defense with 30 tackles.

Otomewo was named Honorable Mention by coaches and media after finishing with 27 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one sack. Otomewo and Mafe have each accepted invites to the Senior Bowl in February.

Gibbens and Sori-Marin each earned Honorable Mention honors. Gibbens led Minnesota with 86 tackles, and Sori-Marin was second with 82. Nubin was named Honorable Mention after leading the defense with three interceptions, and finishing fourth with 44 tackles.

Minnesota’s total defense was the program’s best since 1966, when the Gophers allowed just 225 yards per game. The scoring defense was the best since 1999, when they allowed 16.3 points per game.

The Big Ten will announce its offensive all-conference selections on Wednesday.