The Floyd of Rosedale has been condemned to the depths of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ football complex for another year after the Minnesota Golden Gophers failed in their bid to bring home on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The 17-10 loss dropped the Gophers to 1-4 in the Big Ten and 4-4 overall, as bowl eligibility seems to be slipping through their fingers. Fortunately, the Gophers won’t have to wait long for another shot at a rivalry trophy, but before we turn our attention to Michigan, let’s close the book on the Hawkeyes first.
What is your Tweet-length (140 characters or less) summary of the Gophers’ 17-10 loss to Iowa?
gopherguy05: Different week, same issues. Gophers now forced to go vegetarian.
mowe0018: I don’t like losing to Iowa. I don’t care what the circumstances are. So... Not happy.
IowaGopher: Demry Croft overthrew a wide open 6’10’’ tight end in the end zone on 4th and 1 from the Hawkeyes’ 7-yard line.
Ustreet: Iowa found the freshman making his first start on defense. The Gophers didn’t find anything.
dvits14: Trust the process.
To borrow a Fleck-ism, who is your pick for “Nekton of the Week” from the game?
gopherguy05: Ken Handy-Holly. Growing up in a hurry. Will be a great player when all is said and done.
mowe0018: Maybe Carter Coughlin? If only he could finish on some of his fantastic rushes.
IowaGopher: Thomas Barber. He has had double digit tackles in every Big Ten game this season, and Saturday’s game against Iowa continued that streak.
Ustreet: Kunle Ayinde, who has magically turned into a strong cornerback the last few weeks.
dvits14: Jacob Huff. He had a great game and is turning into a heck of a safety.
Not much went right for the Gophers’ passing game. Which aspect (quarterback, wide receivers, or offensive line) was the biggest problem on Saturday?
gopherguy05: All of the above. Offensive line was the least of the issues but still had times where they got worked. Wide receivers couldn't separate and then dropped a few big would-be catches. Demry Croft threw some horrible passes and still had nowhere near the necessary poise in the pocket.
mowe0018: I’d say play calling. Oh and dropped passes... Too many passes in different situations. But I’m just an armchair college football fan so what do I know?
IowaGopher: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tyler Johnson drop more passes than he did against Iowa. And when Johnson is struggling, there isn’t much hope for the rest of the wide receiver corps. The lack of talent at that position is glaring right now.
Ustreet: Wide receiver separation was the biggest problem. Croft is not an accurate passer and needs his receivers to give him larger error windows. They did not do that on Saturday.
dvits14: Mixture of both quarterback and wide receiver. Croft didn’t play particularly well but he made more plays than his stat line showed. His receivers didn’t help him any with multiple drops and a horrendous route by Nate Wozniak in the end zone.
What aspect of the offense are you most optimistic will improve next season?
gopherguy05: We have to have a quarterback that can throw a decent pass... Right?
mowe0018: Hopefully all aspects of the offense. With the running backs that we have, they won’t take a step back. Hopefully this staff can make the other units better just due to continuity.
IowaGopher: I’m hopeful we’ll see Croft take a step or two forward in these final four games to give us a glimmer of hope for next season, but I’m more confident that the wide receiver corps will be much better a year from now. The additions of Demetrius Douglas and Chris Autman-Bell will provide a much needed talent boost, in my opinion. And we’ve already seen the huge strides from Johnson this season.
Ustreet: Wide receiver will take a major step forward in the offseason.
dvits14: The passing game has reinforcements coming at the receiver level that will make a big difference. They need someone who can stretch the field and it sounds like they have a couple players coming who can do just that.
This Gopher defense has been underrated a bit. What (or who) has impressed you most this season on that side of the ball?
gopherguy05: The sophomore linebacker trio and Duke McGhee, specifically.
mowe0018: Underclassmen in general being true impact players. Bodes well for the future of the defense.
IowaGopher: The secondary has been a pleasant surprise, especially without Antoine Winfield, Jr., but the emergence of Thomas Barber has been fun to watch. He is going to anchor that starting middle linebacker spot for the rest of his Gopher career. I also want to credit defensive coordinator Robb Smith. I was skeptical of his hire, but he has won me over with how he has managed a patchwork secondary and thin defensive line.
Ustreet: That they’ve been any good at all with no secondary depth. The linebackers were expected to be good. No one expected that Justus Harris would start a game this season.
dvits14: It’s a toss up between Thomas Barber and Carter Coughlin. Barber has been an absolute monster and is getting better and better every game. Coughlin is playing out of position yet is using his speed to his advantage and forcing the opposing quarterbacks to rush a lot of throws.
Will the Gophers win another game the rest of the season?
gopherguy05: They will steal one they shouldn't. Will 5-7 be enough to get into an APR gift bowl?
mowe0018: They better.
IowaGopher: No. I have no confidence in this offense at the moment.
Ustreet: /checks schedule and sees Minnesota plays Nebraska at TCF Bank. Yes.
dvits14: Yes, this week at Michigan. I predicted they’d win against Michigan before the season began and I’m not changing my prediction now. The Jug returns to Minneapolis.