Iowa Stifles Gophers 35-7
November 13, 2020

The Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Minnesota Gophers for the sixth straight time, winning 35-7 in a Friday night game in Minneapolis. The Hawkeye defense was strong, shutting down the Gophers in the first half and then bending but not breaking in the second.

“Our whole football team was inconsistent—offense, defense, special teams—too many dropped passes,” said Minnesota coach P. J. Fleck. “Take your pick [on whom to blame]. Any player, any coach. We were just inconsistent.”

Iowa racked up 348 yards from scrimmage to 312 for the Gophers, although the latter figure was padded by a late 75-yard drive against Hawkeyes second-stringers. A strong Iowa defense shut down quarterback Tanner Morgan—who completed 6 of 17 for 57 yards—held star running back Mohamed Ibrahim to 44 yards on the ground, and limited Rashod Bateman to 37 yards receiving in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes put two touchdowns on the board as Tyler Goodson rushed for 85 of his 142 total yards.

Iowa scored on its second possession of the game, Goodson and Mekhi Sargent—who had 9 carries for 86 yards—gaining ground and setting up Spencer Petras for passes to tight-end Sam LaPorta and Tyrone Tracy twice to get to the Minnesota 1. Nico Ragaini, on an end-around, finished the 64-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown.

Penalties doomed a Gophers chance to get the points back after James Gordon intercepted a pass and returned it to the Iowa 25. However, Minnesota linebacker Mariano Sori-Martin was called for a personal foul on the return, moving the ball back to the 40, and after coach P. J. Fleck was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct put the ball in Minnesota territory at the 45. On a third-and-11, Morgan was able to scramble for a first down, but the Gophers couldn’t convert again when Ibrahim dropped a third-down pass.

Iowa got the ball back at its 15. Goodson ran for 14 yards, the Hawkeyes picked up another five on an offside penalty, and Goodson carried again to the 40, getting nailed with a helmet-to-helmet hit by Sori-Martin. The linebacker was called for targeting, his second costly 15-yard penalty in a few minutes and one that got him ejected only two minutes into the second quarter. Goodson and Sargent carried the ball to the 12, and Petras sneaked for a first down on third and one. Goodson then lined up and took the snap, sidestepping a scrum at the line of scrimmage, and ran seven yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead that the Hawkeyes carried into the locker room.

The Gophers finally mounted a sustained drive, one that covered nearly 11 minutes and encompassed 17 plays and 74 yards, only to come up short in the final minute of the third quarter when Jack Koerner blocked and diverted Brock Walker’s 39-yard field-goal attempt.

Goodson ran 45 yards on the first play of Iowa’s next possession, and Petras finished the five-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette early in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota moved again, going from its 25 to the Iowa 20as Ibrahim carried the load and went over 100 yards rushing for the game. However, cornerback Riley Moss stepped in front of Morgan’s pass to Chris Autman-Bell, picking it off and returning the interception to the Minnesota 36.

With a short field, the Hawkeyes needed only three plays to reach the end zone, Goodson finishing it off with a one-yard run for his second touchdown of the game. The Hawkeyes followed with another three-play scoring drive, this one for 51 yards with Sargent finding a big whole in the line for a 14-yard touchdown run.

With a last chance to avoid a shutout, the Gophers used more than six minutes to get to the Iowa four yard line with 19 seconds left. Minnesota called a time out, and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz followed with three straight timeouts in an effort to avoid giving up a score. It didn’t work as Morgan then hit Bateman for a touchdown.

Ibrahim finished with a game-high 144 yards on the ground, Morgan getting the other for a total of 145 for Minnesota rushing. Bateman had eight catches for 111 yards.

However, the game was all Iowa, from start to nearly finish. The Hawkeyes evened their record at 2-2 while the Gophers dropped to 1-3.

“This is another scar,” said Fleck after the game. “Scars remind of where we were and where we want to go.”

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