Is Minnesota a one-trick offense? Not that easy, Hawkeyes say
IOWA CITY, Ia. – Statistics tell one story. Video clips from Minnesota football games tell another.
Yes, the Gophers rank last in the Big Ten conference with 140.5 passing yards. And yes, they're averaging 216 rushing yards.
Does that mean Minnesota runs a one-trick offense?
Carl Davis, Iowa's senior defensive tackle, says it's a little more complicated than you might think.
"The thing is, I feel like they are balanced," Davis said. "They run to a point where it opens their play-action pass.
"I watched where they ran it maybe four straight times, and the whole defense sunk in and they got a deep ball."
Davis and the Hawkeyes will try to avoid falling into such a lull when they visit TCF Bank Stadium for Saturday's 11 a.m. showdown.
Both teams are 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten.
"They've got their schemes figured out," Iowa defensive end Drew Ott said. "They know what they want to do. They've got things clicking."
Some aspects of the Gophers' attack are clicking more than others.
Starting quarterback Mitch Leidner is completing a modest 51.1 percent of his passes, with six touchdowns and six interceptions.
Still, four of those touchdown tosses were longer than 25 yards.
"You've got to be conscious of that," Davis said, "because the run game can set you up."
The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, are trying to follow up a defensive revival. After allowing a combined 528 rushing yards against Indiana and Maryland, Iowa held Northwestern to 105.
The Wildcats averaged 2.4 per carry.
"We had a bad taste in our mouths," said Davis, who has recorded 25 tackles and a sack this season. "We knew we had to get back to our fundamentals and that's what we did.
"Nothing really changed, but it was just more emphasis and more focus by the players."