The Iowa football team knocked off previously undefeated Minnesota tonight at Kinnick Stadium. Here’s a rundown of what transpired in Iowa City.
For the first thirty minutes of today’s game, it looked like the Iowa football team was going to lay a beatdown on the Minnesota Gophers. Their offense was clicking and Phil Parker’s defense was playing about as good of a bend-but-don’t-break defense as they could to build a 20-3 lead heading into halftime.
Yet, things got a lot more interesting in the second half as Minnesota mounted a comeback to bring the game to within four points with 3:27 remaining. After putting up 20 points in the first half, the Iowa football team managed just 3 in the second, but it didn’t matter as Minnesota mistakes and Phil Parker’s bend-but-don’t-break defense got the job done tonight.
Hats off to Minnesota who has shown me over the past two weeks, this isn’t just your typical Minnesota team feeding off a weak schedule, but a team that is built to contend in the Big Ten West for years to come (as long as PJ Fleck stays). For now, however, the Iowa football team and head coach Kirk Ferentz continue to build a winning streak against the Gophers as they keep the Floyd of Rosedale in Iowa City for another season.
Iowa came out swinging to start the game with the inspired play that I would have loved to see six weeks ago against Michigan (I’m not bitter).
Tyler Goodson started the game for the Hawkeyes at running back after weeks of Hawkeye fans pining for a better usage rate for the true freshman, and Brian Ferentz was calling a hell of a game that kept Minnesota guessing. Nate Stanley, despite missing on a deep throw to Ihmir Smith-Marsette also put together arguably the best performance of the season. If it wasn’t for a few drops, his stat line (and possibly the score) would have been better for the Iowa football team, but he stood in the pocket, was delivering the ball mostly on the money and made big plays when he needed to like the huge first-down run in the 4th quarter with the Hawks in Gopher territory.
Fortunately for the Iowa football team, as Minnesota built a comeback in the second half on the heels of RPO deep passes, they also made a few costly mistakes that ultimately would cost them the game. Minnesota’s kicker missed a 50-yard field goal and a chip-shot extra point attempt and energetic (and somewhat annoying) head coach PJ Fleck cost his team a first down opportunity when he was flagged for running on to the field after a late hit by the Iowa secondary on a Gopher 4th down attempt.
But when it mattered the most, late in the fourth with Minnesota deep in their territory ready to try and put together a game-winning drive, the Iowa football team’s defense stepped up to sack Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan twice and force an interception on a long fourth-down attempt.
After beating Minnesota 23-19, the Iowa Hawkeyes now sit at 7-3 on the season with games against Illinois and Nebraska looming. Meanwhile, with the loss, Minnesota still controls it’s own destiny, but so do the Wisconsin Badgers as these two teams battle for a Big Ten West title.