Gophers to face Bowling Green in Quick Lane Bowl Dec. 26 at Ford Field

Daniel Jackson #9 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers runs with the ball past Ricardo Hallman #2 of the Wisconsin Badgers in the first half at Huntington Bank Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by David Berding/Getty Images))

The University of Minnesota football team will be spending Christmas in Detroit.

The Gophers announced Sunday they’re headed to the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field, a 1 p.m. kickoff against Bowling Green on Dec. 26. Minnesota will be in a bowl game for the fifth time in seven seasons under P.J. Fleck, who is 4-0 in bowl games with the Gophers.

If the opponent sounds familiar, Bowling Green came to then Huntington Bank Stadium in September of 2021 and pulled a stunning 14-10 win over Fleck and Minnesota. The Gophers finished that regular season 8-4 before beating West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Minnesota got to a bowl game despite a 5-7 record because of their academic progress rating. It was the best in the country after not all the bowl slots were filled by eligible teams.

The Falcons finished 7-5 this season, with Michigan being the only common opponent between the two teams. Bowling Green lost their match-up to the Wolverines 31-6, while the Gophers lost 52-10.

Fleck will have a new quarterback in the Quick Lane Bowl after starter Athan Kaliakmanis announced his intentions to enter the NCAA transfer portal when it opens on Monday. That leaves senior Cole Kramer to be the likely starter, and his back-up will be walk-on Max Shikenjasnki after Drew Viotta announced this week he’s leaving the program.

The Gophers are, however, getting their top two playmakers back for the 2024 season. Darius Taylor, the three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, is returning. Taylor led the Gophers with 600 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Minnesota is also getting wide receiver Daniel Jackson back. Jackson led the Gophers with 57 catches for 831 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Gophers are looking for their third Quick Lane Bowl win. They beat Central Michigan in 2015, and Georgia Tech 34-10 in 2018.