Billed as a battle to control the line of scrimmage, the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1) played more like it was a scrimmage against their scout team in beating the Gophers, 23-7, in Minneapolis. As a result, Floyd of Rosedale will get his old stall back and won’t need to forward his mail for the next year. Here are the five keys to Iowa’s trophy triumph and first conference win of the 2013 season:
Field of Dreams – Iowa won the battle of field position based on its ability to play defense, run the ball and move the chains. Minnesota had five punts and an interception on six possessions in the first half. The Hawkeyes doubled up the Gophers on first downs, 22-11. Minnesota crossed the 50-yard line only three times, and once was on a kickoff return.
Run D (MC) – Iowa’s front 7 gave up only 0.9 yards per carry to a team that rushed for more than 350 yards the week before. At one point in the third quarter, the Gophers had 13 yards rushing on 17 attempts and finished with only 23 net yards rushing. The Gophers came into the game with 16 rushing touchdowns, while the Hawkeyes hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all season. Guess who won that battle?
Turnover time – Iowa’s linebacking corps pulled double duty, shutting down the run and the pass. In addition to holding the Gophers in check on the ground, both linebackers Chris Kirksey and James Morris had interceptions.
Just Jake – Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock has a knack for just doing what is needed to win. For the third time this season Rudock rushed and passed for at least one touchdown each. More than once Rudock converted third downs by scrambling for first downs. His 74-yard touchdown pass to Damond Powell gave Iowa a comfortable 17-0 lead. Rudock passed for 227 yards and rushed for 35. Only an untimely interception by Rudock in the end zone kept the game from turning into a blowout.
Johnny Weisman – Iowa running back Mark Weisman was back to his old self, running for 145 yards and averaging 6 yards per carry. The offensive line, led by tackle Brandon Sherff, opened gaping holes for Weisman and Co. over the left side. In a state known for corn, the Hawkeyes made hay on the ground, rushing 45 times for 244 yards.