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Minnesota vs. Illinois 2012: Celebrating bowl eligibility

Minnesota's 17-3 win over Illinois Saturday makes the Gophers bowl-eligible.

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The Minnesota Golden Gophers improved to 6-4 with a 17-3 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday. It was the team's second win in their last three games, a nice rebound from a three-game losing streak the team was on in September and October. But more importantly, the Illinois win made Minnesota bowl-eligible, something that Minnesota's SB Nation blog the Daily Gopher is very excited about.

"There have been plenty of ups and downs to contend with as a Gopher fan in recent seasons," the blog states. "Which is why I don't feel awkward at all about celebrating this team's accomplishment. Let the haters and naysayers blab their "mediocre bowl" nonsense. This team was not expected to do this well but they did it anyhow. This is a team that has gotten bowl eligible despite playing with an injury depleted roster, moving to a true frosh QB halfway through the year, and on and on with the obstacles. This is a big step for the program's momentum. We all know that this isn't a great football team yet. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy this."

Minnesota finishes its season with games against Nebraska on the road and Michigan State at home.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.