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Minnesota Football: Wednesday Nugz


Minnesota v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

So the Gophers lost to Penn State. So what? We’ve ranted and raved about it, and now it’s time to move on.

IT’S HATE WEEK! Time to #FreeFloyd from the clutches of evil Iowa!

This year’s Iowa game has a very different flavor than in 2015. First, it’s pretty clear that Iowa’s “special season” is a thing of the past. Second, the black-and-gold fanbase seems, well, more concerned than in years past.

It’s time to accept the fact that we are Iowa. We are not Ohio State, or Michigan, or Alabama, or even Wisconsin.

Kirk Ferentz is also “pretty concerned about everything right now.” He may even be acknowledging that Iowa may have gotten a bit lucky against Minnesota last year:

And you can go back, we're looking at this game from last year. There were plenty of things that went wrong in this game, too, yet we came out ahead.

In Minneapolis, there’s a bit less angst around the offense these days, thanks to a 3-1 start and a unit that can finally run an effective two-minute drill. This is partly because Mitch Leidner is a senior who now has sufficient poise to go with his leadership skills. But it’s also because Tracy Claeys is all about strategic risk:

[I]f you can get to the 20-25-yard line, I'm not afraid to go try to get something, if you have a time-out or two left.

On the other hand, Claeys is not so high on the number of penalties the Gophers have drawn lately. Minnesota is averaging a conference-leading 75.8 yards per game, and Claeys wants to eliminate the procedural penalties as much as possible. That said, the actual number of penalties doesn’t bother him, and in fact, he’s willing to look the other way when the laundry comes out in response to aggressive play.

As Minnesota fans, we all know the importance of this game, of Floyd of Rosedale, of the traditions around one of the Big Ten’s best rivalries. The significance of the game is not lost on the players either. But for Leidner, who totally gets the Hate Week angle, it’s also personal:

I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder when we’ve played Iowa because of the way they recruited me. I felt like they strung me along a little bit.

In other news, even though this isn’t that other Hate Week, and even though BERT is no longer our problem, it’s always nice when good happens in the world. Bret Bielema recently flew to Minnesota with Frank Ragnow, an offensive lineman who played at Chanhassen, after the sudden death of Ragnow’s father. Bielema put his player’s interest first, and that’s worthy of applause.

And finally, your most “Twin” Cities moment of the week: