The 1898 season for Minnesota was one of adversity, including bad weather and a mid-season injury to the team's captain.:27 Coach Jack Minds was a fullback and kicker at the University of Pennsylvania.:312
On Thanksgiving Day 1898, Minnesota and Illinois played a football game for the first time in the two programs' history. A big storm had come through the previous day, but John Pillsbury (the student manager) put together a crew and worked overnight using horse-drawn plows to clear the field. The game itself was delayed several times when the ball was lost in snow drifts on the side of the field:21 and the temperature fell to about 10 below zero when the game was called at noon.:27 Illinois won the game 11-10.