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Iowa 35, Minnesota 7: Here's what we learned

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

MINNEAPOLIS — On four previous occasions, the Iowa football team had a five-game winning streak against rival Minnesota.

But never before had the Hawkeyes made it six in a row. Not until a Friday the 13th romp at a chilly TCF Bank Stadium, fueled by a superb sophomore running back and a smothering defense.

The Gophers had no answers. They didn't even have any points until 14 seconds remained.

Iowa won 35-7, grabbed the Floyd of Rosedale trophy and happily brought home the bacon. It was a second consecutive dominating performance for the Hawkeyes, bringing them to 2-2 on the season and keeping alive slim hopes of a Big Ten West title. They beat Michigan State 49-7 six days ago.

The Gophers, who were averaging 36 points a game, sputtered to a 1-3 mark at the halfway point of the regular season. They were nearly shut out for the first time since 2017, but kept starting quarterback Tanner Morgan in the game until the end so he could complete a 4-yard scoring pass to star Rashod Bateman in the waning seconds against Iowa's second-string defensive unit.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was miffed enough about that development to use all three of his timeouts in succession with the Gophers near his end zone.

Hawkeye tailback Tyler Goodson was the offensive star again, carrying the ball 20 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He had 113 yards and a pair of scores last week. 

Iowa's defense intercepted Morgan twice, including a Riley Moss pick at the Hawkeye 9-yard line. Iowa sacked Morgan four times, three of them by defensive end Zach VanValkenburg.

Leading 28-0, Iowa put in its reserves. It took them three plays to travel 51 yards and get a 14-yard Mekhi Sargent touchdown run. The game ended before Minnesota had to contend with the Hawkeyes' third-stringers.

Here's what we learned:

Iowa offensive lineman Justin Britt (63) lifts running back Tyler Goodson (15) in celebration after Goodson scored a touchdown against Minnesota during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Koerner in the thick of things

The Hawkeye safety had a first-half interception that he returned 19 yards to Minnesota's 26-yard line. It was his third consecutive game with a pick, as he's proving to be a ball-hawk at the back end of Iowa's defense.

But in the final seconds of the half, Koerner nearly saw his evening end. He was initially called for targeting while breaking up a pass over the middle. The officials reviewed the play and decided there was no infraction.

It was a good thing Koerner remained in the game for Iowa, because he snuffed out a Gopher scoring chance in the third quarter, after a 17-play, 74-yard drive. Brock Walker came on to try a 39-yard field goal. Koerner jumped up to swat it away, the football falling harmlessly into the end zone. That's a lot of impact for the former walk-on from West Des Moines Dowling Catholic.

Rush defense is stout

Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim was averaging 190 rushing yards per game. But Iowa kept him bottled up throughout the first half, allowing just 39 yards on his 10 carries.

The Hawkeyes funneled Ibrahim into the middle of the line, where there was always a group ready to surround him and bring him down. That, in turn, kept the Gophers from facing short-yardage situations on third downs.

Minnesota had only six first-half first downs. Iowa recorded an opening-half shutout for the second consecutive week.

Petras still looks uncomfortable

The sophomore quarterback was making his fourth Hawkeye start, and he began the game by completing five of his first six passes, all of them near the line of scrimmage. But then he forced a pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who had Minnesota linebacker James Gordon standing in front of him. Gordon made the easy interception, the fourth of Petras’s career.

Petras was shaky after that, connecting on just one of the final seven passes of the first half. He doesn’t yet show that he has a feel for the game, on one occasion quickly throwing a pass out of bounds rather than staying in the pocket to try to locate a secondary option.

Minnesota was surrendering 241 passing yards per game, but Petras had only 57 in an opening half in which Iowa dominated field position but only led 14-0.

He did make a couple of nice throws in the fourth quarter, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Petras finished 9-for-18 for 111 yards.

Iowa plays at Penn State on Nov. 21.

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at memmert@registermedia.com or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.