Gophers Wrap Up Season with 27-24 Win over Iowa
November 27, 2010

Fans on the Field As the Minnesota Gophers rushed to get Floyd of Rosedale, the bronzed pig that serves as the traveling trophy in the rivalry between Minnesota and Iowa, following their 27-24 win over the Hawkeyes, they were joined by fans pouring out of the stands in a wild scene on the field. Minnesota partially salvaged what had been a miserable season with conference wins it its final two games while Iowa, ranked 24th in the country coming into the game, completed its conference season with three straight losses.

A six-yard run by Duane Bennett, capping a 77-yard drive after Iowa had taken its first lead, put the Gophers ahead with just over three minutes to play. Troy Stoudermire then forced a fumble to thwart an attempt by the Hawkeyes to catch up. Minnesota was able to run out the clock and gain its first victory in a trophy game since Glen Mason was coach.

On a frosty field that caused its share of slips, the Gophers scored on their first two possessions. Eric Ellestad kicked a 26-yard field goal and then perfectly executed an onside kick, recovering the ball himself on the Minnesota 42. The Gophers turned this into a touchdown as, on a third-and-one from the 14, MarQueis Gray took the snap, cut around strong safety Taylor Sash and made it to the end zone for the first rushing touching of his career. With Ellestad’s point, Minnesota had a 10-0 lead before Iowa even touched the ball.

The Hawkeyes got on the board early in the second quarter as senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi called and audible on third-and-goal from the 8 and then hit Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on a slant pattern for a touchdown. The Gophers scored again after Troy Stoudermire recovered a dropped snap by Stanzi on the Iowa 23. Following a roughing-the-passer penalty that put the ball on the 11, Eskridge took a pitch and went through the left side, dragging safety Brett Greenwood and hitting the pylon as he was being driven out of bounds by linebacker Jeremiha Hunter.

The Hawkeyes took 12 seconds to get the points back as Johnson-Koulianos found a big hole, raced through it, and returned the kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Minnesota held a 17-14 lead following three touchdowns within the first three minutes of the second quarter.

The scoring settled down and the teams swapped field goals to send the Gophers into halftime with a 20-17 lead.

Just as the Gophers capitalized on a fumble in the first half, so did Iowa in the second half. Minnesota was driving when Broderick Binns forced a fumble, which was recovered by Greenwood on the Iowa 30. Stanzi hit Johnson-Koulianos for a 21-yard gain as the third quarter ended. The two connected again on a third-down play to bring the ball to the Minnesota 21.

After a reverse on which Johnson-Koulianos ran for three yards, Stanzi found Marvin McNutt Jr., who took the pass, broke a tackle, and scored to put Iowa up 24-20 with 11:35 left in the fourth quarter.

After an exchange of punts, Minnesota started from its 23 with just over seven-and-a-half minutes left. Weber hit Gray for a 19-yard gain and then lofted a play-action pass downfield to Da’Jon McKnight, who twisted away from cornerback Greg Castillo and caught the ball while falling at the Iowa 18. On third-and-four from the 12, Gray again came through, taking the snap, keeping, breaking a tackle, and squirming to the 6 for a first down. On the next play, Duane Bennett carried up the middle for a touchdown to put the Gophers back up by 3 with 4:31 to play.

Johnson-Koulianos returned David Scherman’s squib kick 14 yards to the Iowa 33. On the Hawkeyes’ first play from scrimmage, freshman Marcus Coker ran for 12 yards; however, as he was switching hands with the ball, Stoudermire nailed him and knowcked the ball loose. Ryan Collado recovered, and Iowa never got the ball back.

From the time Tim Brewster took over as coach in 2007, until Brewster was fired in October 2010, the Gophers had not beaten a ranked opponent, had not won after November 1, and had not won a trophy game. Under interim coach Jeff Horton, the Gophers did all three in their last two games.

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