The search continues for head coach P.J. Fleck’s first victory over a border rival, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers dropped their fourth consecutive game to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Gopher defense acquitted themselves well against the run, limiting the Hawkeyes to 106 rushing yards on 40 carries two weeks after allowing 315 to Maryland two weeks ago. Unfortunately, the secondary looked hapless without Antoine Winfield, Jr. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley was 23-for-39 for 314 passing yards and four touchdowns, although the Gophers were able to force one interception and one fumble. Both turnovers allowed the Minnesota offense to take over in Iowa territory, leading to touchdowns on both drives.
Unfortunately, the Gophers made more than their fair share of mistakes:
- A miscommunication between Antonio Shenault and Jacob Huff left Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette wide open for a 69-yard touchdown pass on the Hawkeyes’ second offensive possession of the game.
- Trailing 21-10 with two minutes left in the second quarter, the Gophers attempted to convert on 4th and 4 at midfield by having punter Jacob Herbers throw a deep pass down the sideline that fell incomplete. The Hawkeyes took advantage of the good field position and scored a touchdown five plays later to extend their lead.
- Zack Annexstad threw three interceptions, and Seth Green added one of his own when he underthrew a deep ball on the first play of a drive in the third quarter.
- The Minnesota offensive line allowed five sacks against the Hawkeyes. Right tackle Sam Schlueter continued to struggle mightily in pass protection, to the point where the Gophers inserted true freshman Daniel Faalele in his place in the second half.
- The Gophers were also miserable on third down on both sides of the ball. The Hawkeyes converted 9-of-18 third downs, while the Gophers were
There were a few positives, believe it or not. Annexstad threw three touchdown passes in the game, including two to true freshman wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Carter Coughlin had a strip sack in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Thomas Barber inside the Iowa 5-yard line to set up a Gopher touchdown. Jacob Huff also had an interception near the end of the first half to also set up a touchdown.
But allowing the Hawkeyes to put up 48 points on Homecoming weekend is not exactly any Gopher fans’ idea of a Saturday well spent.