Perhaps the most unique rivalry trophy in college football is coming home to Minnesota after the Gophers put an unexpected and cruel beating on the Iowa Hawkeyes. For the first time since 1967 Minnesota holds both the Little Brown Jug and Floyd of Rosedale in their possession.
The game was essentially a pick-em per Vegas and Matt's Models and Bottles wasn't exactly encouraging for Minnesota fans, but the Golden Gophers got things rolling in their favor and never looked back. 429 yards of offense while holding Iowa to 205, +3 turnovers, 51 offensive points and it was largely backups playing the entire 4th quarter (including the backup kicker). Iowa struggled to move the ball against the Gopher defense, got careless with the ball and was on their heels defensively for the majority of the game.
This afternoon started rather routine. Iowa took the opening kickoff and marched from their own 24-yard line to the endzone for the early 7-0 lead. The Gophers actually did a nice job stopping Iowa on first and second down throughout the 12 play drive, but Iowa was 4/4 on third down converting distances of 11, 5, 11 and from the 1 for a touchdwown. The early, confidence-building drive was about the time the music died for Iowa and their fans. After opening the game with a 76-yard drive for a touchdown, their final meaningless drive netted 81 yards and they had just 48 in between.
Minnesota answered with a lengthy touchdown drive of their own going 64 yards on eight plays that was capped by a 9-yard KJ Maye touchdown. The two teams exchanged possessions before the first quarter ended in a 7-7 tie. Then the second quarter happened...four straight possessions that ended in touchdowns and a fifth that was a missed FG as the half ended.
- One play drive, 44 yard pass to Donovahn Jones.
- 10 plays, 69 yards and a Liedner to Maxx Williams touchdown
- 6 plays, 22 yards and a David Cobb touchdown run.
- 7 plays, 53 yards and a second Liedner to Maxx touchdown.
Halftime saw a 7-35 lead with Minnesota getting the ball to open the second half. At this point, not even the most cynical and pessimistic Gopher fan was contemplating how this one was going to get away from us. The second half was not nearly as explosive but the Gophers continued to shutdown the Iowa offense and ate up clock until the team was able to finally lineup in the victory formation and sprint across the field to free Floyd.
Maxx Williams had a great game with a couple highlight catches and Mitch Leidner played arguable his best game as a Gopher. The offensive line won the line of scrimmage and propelled Minnesota to 294 yards rushing. Special teams was highlighted by very good kickoff coverage. And the Gopher defense that absolutely dominant shutting down the Iowa offense.
This was a complete effort in all phases. It was a very nice game plan that was well executed. Domination over a rival and securing a rivalry trophy is a lot of fun; enjoy this win Gopher fans. Drink the good bourbon tonight!