Minnesota Football: Gopher and Hawkeyes Battle for Floyd of Rosedale

Matthew Holst
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TV: ABC/ESPN2
Game Time: 2:30 AM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

Hate Week is coming to and end and it culminates in the actual game. After this afternoon we can all go back to our regularly scheduled programming and not hate our southern neighbor quite as much. But only if we GET FLOYD BACK. Today is all about bringing home the bacon.

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers Iowa Hawkeyes
Points / Game 41.8 35.2
Pass Yards 105.2 199.2
Rush Yards 282.2 244.0
3rd Down % 46.8% 51.5%
Key Offensive Player to Watch Maxx Williams
Mark Weisman
Points Allowed/Game 20.0 17.0
Pass Yards 270.0 199.2
Rush Yards 102.8 91.1
3rd Down % 31.6% 24.1%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Ra'Shede Hageman
Iowa Linebackers

3 Keys

Maroon_key_medium Winning 3rd down - Converting 3rd downs is going to be a significant indicator today. The Gopher defense needs to be able to bring down Weisman on a few short-yardage situations to get the Iowa offense off the field. Conversely the Gopher offense needs to grind out some drives with 3rd down conversions against a defense that is used to only allowing it less than 25% of the time.

Maroon_key_medium
Find a passing game -
Finding a way to keep the Iowa defense honest is going to be huge. We don't need 300 yards from Mitch Leidner, but we do need a competent passing game that finds the open guy and moves the chains. I really think that Maxx Williams is going to be an absolute key today. Finding him in the intermediate passing game and then finding him streaking down the seam for a big play is going to happen today. During the TDG Hangout Matt mentioned smash routes where the receiver finds the gap between the safety and corner along the sideline while another receiver sits down in front of the corner. If we see this we'll need to see good decisions and accurate throws from Leidner. It is also worth noting that Iowa is last in the Big Ten in sacks with just 4 on the season. Hopefully this means the Gopher pocket will be clean and Leidner will have time to find the right receiver.

Maroon_key_medium Still have to run the ball - Finding a few yards through the air will be nice but we still have to do what we do best against a defense where stopping the run is what they do best. Just because Iowa is strong against the run doesn't mean we should shy away from it. We just might even win the battle up front. The OL is facing a tough front seven today and they need to be up to the task. I'm anxious to see a couple David Cobb runs where he gets to the edge and runs will someone from the secondary can catch him.

    Should be a great Big Ten matchup. Is it 2:30 yet?

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