The Iowa Hawkeyes just barely squeaked by the Minnesota Golden Gophers to keep the beloved Floyd of Rosedale in Iowa. Both teams played great back and forth football, but Iowa would ultimately rise on top to beat the Gophers 27-22.
Iowa got on the board first, with a 50 yard field goal from Caleb Shudak. Minnesota would then run the ball back downfield, running multiple back-to-back tosses, with running backs Ky Thomas, and Mar’Kiese Irving. To add a field goal of their own, to make it 3-3. Then early in the 2nd quarter, Tyler Goodson would score the first touchdown of the game on a 4 yard rush. But was called just short of the goal line. Alex Padilla would then run it in on the next play to make it 10-3 Iowa. The Gophers then had an answer with a 37 yard touchdown pass, from wildcat quarterback Cole Kramer, connecting to tight end Ko Kieft. Minnesota would also add another field goal just as time expired, giving the Gophers a 13-10 lead at half.
Iowa came out of the gates swinging with a 72 yard touchdown pass to Charlie Jones, on the first play and second drive of the half. Minnesota would again respond with another field goal from Matthew Trickett to cut Iowa’s lead down to 1. Alex Padilla and the Hawkeyes came back again to tally another passing touchdown, this time to Keegan Johnson to add seven more points to the board. Just a couple drives later, Tanner Morgan would put the Gophers back within 2, by throwing a 68 yard touchdown pass to Chris Autman-Bell. But the Gophers would still trail, after a botched 2-point conversion attempt. Minnesota would get the ball back again after holding the Hawkeyes to only one first down on their next drive. But Iowa’s defense would prevail stronger as they forced a turnover on downs on Minnesota’s one yard line. After a couple of failed quarterback sneak tries, Iowa would be forced to kick a field goal with just under a minute left, and would make the score 27-22. The Gophers would get one more desperation drive, but the Hawkeye defense would force a fumble to make a stop, and secure the game for Iowa.
The Gophers used the running game well again, rushing for 189 yards on 50 attempts. They also passed decently well, with both Tanner Morgan and Cole Kramer recording passing touchdowns. The Gopher defense also played great, forcing and recovering a fumble, and holding Iowa to only 12 first downs.
Iowa clicked on all cylinders besides the run game. Minnesota’s defense held the one of nation’s top running back Tyler Goodson, to only 59 yards on 18 rushes. But that wasn’t the main event for the Hawkeyes, the defense was. Minnesota possessed the ball for 2/3 of the game, and Iowa still held them to 22 points. The piece that set the bar for the Hawkeyes was the red zone defense, which held the Gophers to a field goal every drive they had reached the red zone.
What’s Next For These Teams?
Despite the loss, Minnesota is still in the running for the Big Ten Championship. Which seems impossible with the set of obstacles they have to pass in order to reach it. They’ll travel to Indiana next week, before they come back home to host Wisconsin for Paul Bunyan’s axe. Minnesota will need to win both these games to stay in contention for the championship game. But the Gophers already do have 6 regular season wins, which means that they are bowl eligible.
Iowa avoided the championship game elimination with today’s victory. The Hawkeyes will host Illinois next week, before they travel to Nebraska to face off with Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers.
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