Hawkeyes have no trouble shredding Gophers, winning sixth consecutive rivalry meeting
MINNEAPOLIS — Iowa running back Tyler Goodson leaned on his offensive line to help him rush for 142 yards and two touchdowns Friday.
And he needed the linemen again to help hoist the 98-pound bronze pig that was waiting in the visiting locker room, the guest of honor at another Hawkeye vanquishing of rival Minnesota.
“It’s a little too heavy,” Goodson said of Floyd of Rosedale, which Iowa has owned for six consecutive years, the latest victory a 35-7 drubbing of the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.
That’s the longest Hawkeye winning streak ever in a rivalry that has been contested 114 times.
Even Hawkeye defensive end Chauncey Golston, who was the first one into the locker room, said he had trouble lifting Floyd solo.
If so, it was the only trouble the Hawkeyes had all evening. They got four rushing touchdowns and another through the air to build a 35-0 lead and simply toyed with the Gophers from start to finish.
Minnesota (1-3) committed eight penalties for 85 yards, constantly undermining itself at key moments. The Gophers punted the football six times and turned it over twice.
In the ultimate display of futility, Minnesota controlled the entire third quarter, trailing just 14-0 and with a chance to cut that deficit in half. Starting at its 5-yard line, Minnesota held the ball for 17 plays on a drive that consumed 11 minutes. From Iowa’s 21-yard line, the Gophers called on kicker Brock Walker just to have something to show for all of that toil.
Iowa’s Jack Koerner came off the edge to get a thumb on the football, which fluttered harmlessly into the end zone.
"We knew on field goal that they were susceptible to a corner block. So Nick Niemann did a great job of pinning that wing's arm and I was able to jump through there," Koerner said.
The Hawkeyes (2-2) then showed the Gophers how easy offense can be, moving 79 yards in just five plays to take a 20-0 lead on a Spencer Petras 8-yard touchdown pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette. It was a demoralizing turn of events for the home team, which spent the rest of the game waiting for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz to put in his second-string defense just to have a chance to get on the scoreboard.
When Ferentz finally did, Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck opted to leave his starting offense in, embarking on one final drive that included 15 plays, four timeouts and one display of gamesmanship.
Nineteen seconds remained when the Gophers reached Iowa’s 4-yard line. Fleck had his offense line up, then called timeout after getting a look at the defensive formation. Ferentz, trying to preserve a shutout, used all three of his timeouts in succession, letting Minnesota get to the line of scrimmage first each time.
Golston watched approvingly from the sideline.
“I was like, ‘OK, coach is going to do them,’” he said afterward with a laugh.
Minnesota did get its points, on a 4-yard pass from Tanner Morgan to star wide receiver Rashod Bateman.
But Ferentz got his point across.
“I figured we’d take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here,” Ferentz deadpanned after going to 4-0 against Fleck.
The result carried more weight for the Hawkeyes than just another year of pig stewardship. It was a second consecutive decisive win after two early-season anguishing losses. Ferentz said he was pleased to see his team respond with hard work after dropping those contests to rivals Purdue and Northwestern.
Next for Iowa is a trip to Penn State. Ferentz will impress upon his team the need to keep the same focus.
“Hopefully now we aren’t ready to have a parade or something like that because we’ve won two games,” Ferentz said.
That’s his way of telling the Hawkeyes: It's time to put down the trophy, because there’s still plenty of heavy lifting ahead.
Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.