Bowl eligibility is a birth right at schools like Alabama, Oklahoma and USC, which is why it's always great to see it happen where reaching the postseason means something. After a 3-9 debut season, Jerry Kill has led Minnesota back to a bowl game for the first time since 2009 with a 17-3 win over Illinois.
"I'm happy for these older kids," said Kill. "When you have a coaching transition, that's a hard thing on them. Everybody does things differently. It's been tough but they've responded well. They've been through a lot."
After turning around Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, Kill was hired after the 2010 season to do the same with a Golden Gophers team that suffered through a 3-9 campaign. In fact, Kill's teams experienced a bump in year two in each of his stops at Saginaw Valley State, Emporia State, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and now Minnesota.
Saturday's win marked the first checkpoint in Minnesota's transition back into a winning program. It was also the first Big Ten road victory in Kill's tenure at Minnesota.
"We've still got two games left," Kill said. "We've still got work to do."
Here are the highlights of Minnesota's win on Saturday.