Iowa Hawkeye Football Schedule Prep: Week 4 vs. Minnesota

Each Monday, we'll look ahead game by game with a brief preview of the 2024 football schedule. In Week 4, the Hawkeyes open Big Ten play against Minnesota.
Michigan State v Minnesota
Michigan State v Minnesota / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The anticipation of the 2024 college football season is all we have for roughly three months, or at least until the EA Sports video game franchise returns. So in the meantime, we'll continue to look ahead to the season week by week to get an early look into the Iowa Hawkeyes opponents.

In Week 4, the Hawkeyes hit the road for the first time to get started in the new-look Big Ten Conference against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Iowa lost four games in 2023, and one of the more frustrating losses was against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers failed to score a touchdown and still managed to win a game in Kinnick Stadium for the first time since 1999.

That was after a Cooper DeJean 54-yard punt return touchdown was wiped off the board with less than two minutes to go. Iowa's offense stalled without Cade McNamara and Erick All, and the Gophers escaped with a 12-10 win.

After a tolerable non-conference schedule to start the season, there won't need to be much inspiration from Kirk Ferentz for the Hawkeyes when they head to Minneapolis.

The Gophers are still led by head coach PJ Fleck, who has brought the most success the program has seen in 60 years over the past seven seasons. The Gophers have won five bowls and posted just the second 10+win season since 1905 under Fleck.

Still, last year the Gophers finished 6-7 after limping into the Quick Lane Bowl against Bowling Green. Minnesota is bringing back 14 starters from last year's squad, nine of which are on defense.

EDGE Jah Joyner, linebacker Cody Lindenberg and defensive back Jack Henderson lead a defensive unit that sees Corey Hetherman take over as a first-time FBS defensive coordinator. Minnesota's defense ranked 10th in the Big Ten in 2023, giving up 26.7 points per game.

Offensively, Fleck is hoping to get more out of his offense through the air, though he'll be doing so with a new quarterback. Max Brosmer steps in as the signal caller out of the Transfer Portal following a 3,464-yard, 29-touchdown and five-interception performance at New Hampshire last year. He'll be looking to Daniel Jackson, who caught eight touchdown passes in 2023, as his priority target.

Of course, the Gophers will still look to run the ball proficiently. Darius Taylor likely has the command of the backfield coming off a team-leading 799-yard freshman season with five touchdowns in just six games. The Gophers also added Sieh Bangura from Ohio and Marcus Major from Oklahoma via the Transfer Portal to give the ground game plenty of depth.

So long as Iowa doesn't stumble out of the conference, the Hawkeyes should come into this contest a solid favorite, even if the point spread might be low. On paper, Iowa has a stronger roster - but Fleck has made a career of doing more with less.

Nonetheless, this is a fun matchup to kick off the conference schedule for Iowa as they look to get a win back on the Gophers. Still, Iowa needs a strong performance, because the team awaiting them in Week 5 is the early favorite to take the Big Ten.

The game is set for September 21 with kickoff time and television and streaming channels to be announced at a later date.

You can check out last week's early preview against Troy here.

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