Minnesota Football: Gophers vs. Iowa Preview - THE HATE IS STRONG

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE

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"IOWA. PIG. HATE."

This should be a good one. Win, and the Gophers have a bowl game for the taking and the chance to make this season special. Lose, and the road to a bowl gets much tougher.

SOME LIGHT PRE-PREVIEW READING...

ALL OF THE HATE: Factual evidence that Minnesota is better; the scary issue of Hawkeye hoarding; wonderfully delicious HATE from an former IC native; reasons why Iowa football is super duper neato; the important historical foundation for HATE WEEK; Herky's courageous battle with a tragic illness; a look at Iowa hate made personal.

The Official Fan Guide For Hating Iowa

Gopher Depth Chart and Injury Report for Iowa

Rival Bloggler Q&A - Iowa Edition - STILL COMING

OPENING THOUGHTS

HATE. HATE. HATE.

Seriously Gophers, just get this done. Send Iowa fans home unhappy and early. Save Floyd from his stinky prison and bring him back to the joys of Burrito Loco and no Gary Barta rubbing him uncomfortably. I say it again...

HATE. HATE. HATE.

Action Gnome doesn't have any big thoughts and would like to sum up Iowa with this:

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THE BASICS

When and Where:

2:30 PM CST; TCF Bank Stadium; Minneapolis, MN

Media:

TV: ABC/ESPN2

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Radio: KFAN (100.3 in the Twin Cities) and the Gopher Radio Network (Radio Affiliates). You can also listen to the game via the IHeartRadio app for your mobile device.

Internet: WatchABC/WatchESPN for your computer or mobile device.

Weather Forecast:

Tailgate:

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Gametime:

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Postgame:

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THE ENEMY

Where Are They From?

Iowa City, IA

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Series History:

Minnesota leads the all time series 61-43 (plus 2 ties) and has a 41-35-2 record when playing Iowa for Floyd of Rosedale.

Homecoming Magic

How have the Gophers done against Iowa on Homecoming?

The Gophers are 54-35-3 all-time in Homecoming games, but will be looking for their first Homecoming win since 2009 (35-20 win against Purdue) when the Hawkeyes comes to town. Minnesota is 10-2 with Iowa as their Homecoming opponent. The Gophers' last Homecoming meeting with the Hawkeyes was a 23-17 win in 1974.

Last Season:

Beat the Gophers in Iowa City, 31-13. They then went on to lose their last 6 games of the season to miss a bowl game and make us all laugh.

2013 Season To Date:

The Hawkeyes are 3-1, with their lone loss coming in the season opener versus Northern Illinois. Last week they stomped all over Western Michigan 59-3, the most points Iowa as scored since 2002. Per GopherSports:

Junior Mark Weisman is averaging 117 rushing yards per game, including 180 against Missouri State. Quarterback Jake Rudock has thrown for five touchdowns and rushed for four. On defense, Lowery has three interceptions and Anthony Hitchens leads the team with 37 tackles.

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Coaches:

Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz (15th year)

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Wow, a coach who isn't in his first year. Been a while since I've previewed one of those. But for those who haven't been paying attention to Iowa since Hayden Fry left, here's the rundown:

- Teaches his players that onside kicks are covered in cooties and that they should run away from them.

- Likes to spice up his life with daring maneuvers like punting from the opponent's 32 yard line.

- Has a great model car collection.

- Is also an Iowa superhero known as Captain Curt.

- Has been known to drive at insane speeds for fun.

- Burns $100 bills just to make Gary Barta cry.

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3 Players to Watch:

1) Mark Weisman (RB - Jr): I can only assume he's moved on to sacrificing small cute puppies to avoid AIRBHG's wrath. It's the only thing that makes sense. I'm not going to give you stats because they'll tell you the same thing as this. HE IS A POWERFUL BACK WHO RUN AND RUN ALBEIT A BIT SLOWLY UNTIL YOU MAKE HIM STOP.

2) LINEBACKERS PLURAL: Iowa has two good ones. First is Anthony Hitchens (LB - Sr).  Dude is everyone for the Hawkeyes. He leads the team in tackles, assisted tackles, tackles for loss and is tied for the lead in sacks. Up next is James Morris (LB - Sr). He is 3rd in solo/total tackles, 2nd in tackles for loss, and has an INT.

3) Jake Rudock (QB - Soph): Doing ok this season but not lighting the world on fire. Jake is completing just over 62% of his passes for 185 YPG and has thrown 5 TD's against 3 INT's. He is the Gophers best chance to make opportunistic plays on defense.

Keys to the Game:

- Win in the trenches: The Gophers want to run. The Hawkeyes want to run. The Gopher defensive is only OK against the run. The Hawkeye defense is pretty darn good against the run. The Gophers need to have success in the run game or things probably won't go our way. On defense, we need to limit Weisman's success and force Iowa to rely on Jake Rudock more frequently.

- Have success passing the ball: Even if the Gophers are having success running the ball, they will face key moments where the passing game has to step up. Iowa's secondary is a weak spot, so if Mitch Leidner is able to get things going there is room to hurt the Hawkeyes through the air. Personally, I'm hoping we see some big gains of PA or via some looks we haven't shown anyone yet. Yea........that'd be nice.

- Perfect on special teams: This is probably going to be a close game. That means the Gophers can't afford to leave points off the board due to missed extra points/field goals, breakdowns on kick/punt coverage, or stupid mistakes during MN returns. A special teams TD would be nice, but the key is to do the little things right first.

How Afraid Am I?

On a scale of 1 to 5 "Brewsters on his face" (1 being not a afraid, 5 being very afraid)?

TIM BREWSTER HAS BEEN REPLACED BY IOWA HATING PIMP. WE HATE IOWA TOO MUCH TO FEAR THEM.

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Should be a fun one!

Completely Worthless Prediction:

I think this is going to be a close one. The teams seem pretty evenly matched, though the Gophers' current offensive strength runs right into Iowa's defensive strength. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Gophers have to play from behind in in the first half and into the 3rd. In the end though, I think Mitch Leidner looks like WIU Mitch in the passing game and that opens things up enough for the Gophers to pull it out in the end.  Gophers 27, Iowa 24.

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