CLOSE

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says he has learned to deal with, but not accept, defeat. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

The humble pie has been served, and now the Hawkeyes must digest a fourth consecutive season without a trip to the Big Ten Conference championship game.

Yeah, there's still a mathematical scenario that can send No. 22 Iowa (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) to Indianapolis, but the odds are small enough that they aren't worth realistic consideration yet.

As it is, the mission for Kirk Ferentz's team is now to find the best bowl position it possibly can over the next three weeks, and the best opportunity to improve that tenuous standing is by ruining seventh-ranked Minnesota's unbeaten season.

The Golden Gophers (9-0, 6-0) can move closer to an unblemished run with a win in Saturday's 3 p.m., Fox-televised game at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa's proven itself a dangerous foe when a top-10 team comes to Iowa City and the lights come on.

Here's a look at the projected starters for the ranked showdown:

OFFENSE

Quarterback: No. 4, Nate Stanley (6-foot-4, 243 pounds, senior)

Running back: No. 10, Mekhi Sargent (5-11, 223, junior)

Tight end: No. 42, Shaun Beyer (6-5, 244, jr.)

Fullback: No. 36, Brady Ross (6-0, 246, sr.)

Wide receiver: No. 3, Tyrone Tracy Jr. (5-11, 200, freshman)

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Wide receiver: No. 6, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1, 183, jr.)

Left tackle: No. 77, Alaric Jackson (6-6, 320, jr.)

Left guard: No. 68, Landan Paulsen (6-5, 305, sr.)

Center: No. 65, Tyler Linderbaum (6-3, 286, fr.)

Right guard: No. 64, Kyler Schott (6-2, 290, sophomore)

Right tackle: No. 74, Tristan Wirfs (6-5, 322, jr.)

► BREAKING LOOSE: Offense may need to find new level to keep up with Minnesota

CLOSE

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley says teams have been blitzing the Hawkeyes more often this season. He expects Minnesota to do the same. Why? Listen: Mark Emmert, memmert@gannett.com

DEFENSE

Defensive end: No. 57, Chauncey Golston (6-5, 270, jr.)

Defensive end: No. 94, A.J. Epenesa (6-6, 280, jr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 95, Cedrick Lattimore (6-3, 295, sr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 91, Brady Reiff (6-3, 277, sr.)

► ATTRITION:Is Iowa's defensive line beginning to wear down?

Weak-side linebacker: No. 32, Djimon Colbert (6-1, 235, soph.)

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Middle linebacker: No. 43, Dillon Doyle (6-3, 235, fr.)

Leo/Cash: No. 49, Nick Niemann (6-4, 235, jr.)

CLOSE

Iowa linebacker Nick Niemann also outlines the Minnesota challenge. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

Strong safety: No. 9, Geno Stone (5-10, 210, jr.)

Free safety: No. 28, Jack Koerner (6-0, 204, soph.)

Cornerback: No. 11, Michael Ojemudia (6-1, 200, sr.)

Cornerback: No. 8, Matt Hankins (6-0, 185, jr.)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: No. 3, Keith Duncan (5-10, 180, jr.)

Punter: No. 22, Michael Sleep-Dalton (6-0, 212, sr.)

Kickoff returns: No. 6, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1, 183, jr.)

Punt returns: No. 19, Max Cooper (6-0, 188, jr.)

► KIRK FERENTZ:The season's perspective after Wisconsin loss

CLOSE

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz speaks ahead of Saturday's home game against 9-0 Minnesota. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

MINNESOTA'S MOST RECENT STARTERS

[Editor's note: Minnesota does not provide weekly depth charts. As such, listed are the starters for the Golden Gophers' Nov. 9 game against Penn State.]

OFFENSE

Quarterback: No. 2, Tanner Morgan (6-2, 215, soph.)

Running back: No. 1, Rodney Smith (5-11, 210, sr.)

Tight end: No. 42, Ko Kieft (6-4 255, jr.)

Tight end/offensive line: No. 70, Sam Schlueter (6-6, 325, jr.)

Wide receiver: No. 6, Tyler Johnson (6-2, 205, sr.)

Wide receiver: No. 13, Rashod Bateman (6-2, 210, soph.)

Left tackle: No. 77, Blaise Andries (6-6, 325, soph.)

Left guard: No. 64, Conner Olson (6-5, 305, jr.)

Center: No. 60, John Michael Schmitz (6-4, 315, soph.)

Right guard: No. 51, Curtis Dunlap Jr. (6-5, 345, fr.)

Right tackle: No. 78, Daniel Faalele (6-9, 400, soph.)

DEFENSE

Defensive end: No. 45, Carter Coughlin (6-4, 245, sr.)

Defensive end: No. 46, Winston DeLattiboudere (6-3, 260, sr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 90, Sam Renner (6-4, 275, sr.)

Defensive tackle: No. 18, Micah Dew-Treadway (6-4, 315, sr.)

Linebacker: No. 55, Mariano Sori-Marin (6-3, 245, soph.)

Linebacker: No. 41, Thomas Barber (6-0, 240, sr.)

Defensive back: No. 6, Chris Williamson (6-0, 205, sr.)

Defensive back: No. 25, Benjamin St-Juste (6-3, 200, sr.)

Defensive back: No. 11, Antoine Winfield Jr. (5-10, 205, soph.)

Defensive back: No. 23, Jordan Howden (5-11, 200, soph.)

Defensive back: No. 16, Coney Durr (5-10, 200, jr.)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: No. 38, Michael Lantz (5-11, 180, fr.)

Punter: No. 47, Jacob Herbers (6-2, 215, sr.)

Kickoff and punt returns: No. 82, Demetrius Douglas (6-0, 195, soph.)

CLOSE

Iowa offensive lineman Kyler Schott missed five games but returned and started against Wisconsin at right guard. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE