MINNEAPOLIS - Awards are starting to come in for the University of Minnesota football team after the program’s first 10-win season in 115 years.
The Gophers’ regular season ended Saturday in a 38-17 loss to rival Wisconsin at TCF Bank Stadium in the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, and with the Big Ten West title on the line.
On Tuesday, P.J. Fleck was voted the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year, voted on by Big Ten coaches. It’s his third honor in seven years as a head coach.
Fleck led the Gophers to seven conference wins for the first time in the history of the program.
Defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday. He leads the Gophers with 83 tackles, including 59 solo tackles. He has 3.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles. The seven interceptions tied a school record, and ranks fourth overall in college football.
Winfield Jr. was named First Team All-Big Ten, while senior rush end Carter Coughlin was named to the Second Team.
Defensive players Coney Durr, Kamal Martin, Sam Renner, Thomas Barber and Benjamin St.-Just were selected All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. Winston DeLattiboudere earned the Big Ten Sportsmanship award for Minnesota.
The Gophers (10-2) will learn their bowl game destination after the completion of conference title games this weekend. They're likely to play in a Jan. 1 bowl game, which would be their first since the Citrus Bowl in 2014.