ROCHESTER, Minn. — Rochester's Darrell Thompson has been a radio broadcaster for University of Minnesota football games for more than two decades and he, like most Gophers fans, is enjoying the breakthrough for the program.
Thompson was doing the radio broadcast when the unbeaten Gophers toppled No. 4 Penn State 31-26 on Saturday in front of a raucous home crowd at TCF Bank Stadium.
"Coming home and winning in front of 50,000 people is a really big deal," Thompson said. "It's exciting, it's fun, it's a buzz that I've never felt, quite honestly."
Both teams entered the game 8-0. The Gophers are now 9-0 for the first time since 1904 and have move into the top 10 in the Top 25 Poll.
"I think it's a turning point," Thompson said. "I think we've been close a couple of times, Glen Mason had some really, really strong momentum going probably two or three times during his time."
Mason guided the Gophers to a victory over an elite Penn State squad in 1999. This year's win over the Nittany Lions was the biggest in the P.J. Fleck era, so far.
"I think P.J. Fleck's done a great job," Thompson said. "He's done a high level of recruiting and he's a very good coach. He doesn't get enough credit for that, just as far as teaching and being patient and it's fundamentally sound football that they play, and that he believes in. So I'm really encouraged more than any other time in my broadcast time."
Thompson has his own stellar legacy with the Gophers. The 1986 John Marshall grad was an elite running back at Minnesota and is still the school's all-time leading rusher with 4,518 yards. He then played five years in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.
Thompson also has a son, True Thompson, who is a redshirt junior wide receiver for the Gophers.
"He doesn't get any playing time right now, but he's excited, he's having fun," Thompson said. "So it's a joy all the way around."