Everyone expected Iowa to cruise to an easy win versus Minnesota. Prior to the game, I would have made the following arguments for a decisive Iowa victory:
- Iowa's offense will dominate the Minnesota defensive line. What happened?: Minnesota's defense dominated Iowa's offense. Iowa's second string freshman quarterback couldn't figure out the blitz and the Gopher defense would have allowed only 3 points had the Gopher offense functioned at even a low level of competence.
- Iowa's defense is one of the best in the Big Ten, and will shut down Minnesota's offense by overwhelming the offensive line. What happened?: Minnesota's offensive line held their own against the Iowa defensive front. Adam Weber had plenty of time to throw the ball more often than not, but was unable to hit his receivers. Iowa did stop the running game up the middle, but sweep plays were effective when set up properly.
- Iowa will win by a wide margin due to superior athletes on the field and great coaching. What happened?: Minnesota had the better players, especially on defense. Kevin Cosgrove's defense held the Hawkeyes to just 12 points, despite compensating for an offense that was working against them. Iowa was held to 55 yards rushing and 172 total yards of total offense.
So, what was unexpected? Minnesota had better players and should have won the game. Nobody expected that to be the case. Minnesota's defense was the most dominant on the field, Minnesota's offensive line provided ample time for Weber in the pocket, and Minnesota had better speed.
Why did the Gophers lose? Both teams had bad quarterbacking, but Minnesota's was so horrendous that it actually lost the game. 2 fumbles, an interception, and only 35% passing efficiency. Several wide open receivers were flat out missed.
Why did this happen? there are two possibilities:
- If MarQuies Gray is incapable of running more than one play in a row and there are no other players trained to play quarterback, then the coaching staff was forced to leave Weber in and hope that he figures things out.
- If MarQuies Gray is capable of running at least a simple offense and the coaching staff is unwilling to let him play, than the coaches lost this game. There is no remaining doubt that Gray is a superior athlete, and it is unlikely that he is less accurate with his passing game than Weber. He could have been instructed to look at one receiver, and run if the throw wasn't there. It would have been better than getting shut out.
The Gophers should have won had it been for different personnel at just one position. A few questions to ask:
- So, if Gray cannot run a simple offense and Alipate is redshirting, is there another quarterback who could have been brought in who would have been even remotely competent?
- What ever happened to David Pittman? Wasn't he the JUCO player of the year as a quarterback? Why is he riding the bench as a wide receiver when he could have been a backup quarterback?
- Wasn't Troy Stoudermire a high school quarterback? Could he have at least been trained to run the Wildcat formation during emergency situations and put in for the second half?
At least this year they only lost by 12.