The aftermath: Minnesota | Go to Iowa > Minnesota

Just when I thought Iowa football couldn’t get any drunker, they say “Hold my beer” so they can start double-fisting Everclear and rubbing alcohol on them while sliding blindfolded down a flight of stairs. Such a night should ended up with the Hawks in a body cast and with their stomachs pumped out. Instead, they left the insanity with nothing more than a cool scar and a hell of a story. While I wouldn’t say I like it exactly, I wouldn’t say I dislike it do not likeeither.

We really have reached the climax of nonsense here as Iowa continues to wander through Wonderland, wrestling with the residents and beheading the Queen of Hearts. I am at a loss to fathom the unfathomable. They just keep going, defying both logic and common decency, and it’s as compelling as it is abhorrent. Hawkeye Football is a damn good drug.

Things started out normal… well, normalize. Iowa kicked it away, stopping the Gophers’ first drive. On Iowa’s first pull from scrimmage, Brian chose a screen in the middle of the field to Sam LaPorta. It was a great decision, as the Gophers dropped that area like a bunch of teenagers at a house party when the Bulls showed up, and LaPorta was able to saunter down the field 58 yards with the help of a first-class wide receiver blocking. While Iowa basically wouldn’t go any further from there, they were able to smash through a field goal from Gopher’s 20-yard line for an early 3-0 lead.

The good times continued. A three-and-out from Gopher gave way to an honest touchdown drive from the Iowa offensive. It was Spencer Petras and his merry group of tight ends who moved the ball and hit Luke Lachey and Sam LaPorta for important first downs. Fourth and second from the Minnesota 36, ​​Petras the Untackleable parried a flashing corner and flicked the ball left to a wide-open LaPorta for 24 yards and a huge conversion. A Kaleb Johnson run and a few QB sneaks later, the Hawkeyes had the ball in the end zone and a 10-0 lead.

This is where everything started morphing into gopher form. Minnesota worked the ball straight across the field for a touchdown. This gopher drive was all about balance, with five runs and four passes that covered 72 yards to paydirt. Gopher quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis kept the ball in RPO for as long as he could, freezing Iowa’s defense to create runs and easy finishes. But while that drive was the platonic ideal of the RPO offense, PJ Fleck’s opinion here was that the Gophers were passing the ball too often.

Of the next 45 games on the Gopher offensive, 31 were executed by Mohamed Ibrahim. (And of the other 14, most were driven by someone other than Mohamed Ibrahim.) The Gophers would complete another pass after their touchdown drive. It’s almost impossible to overstate how dependent the Gophers were on Ibrahim, who got the ball in 40 of Minnesota’s 65 games and was responsible for 270 of the Gophers’ 399 yards on offense. Mohamed Ibrahim ran many runs and many runs were run by Mohamed Ibrahim.

It’s also hard to really blame the Gophers given how brilliant he was. Ibrahim blocked flawlessly for most of the night, and when he wasn’t, he was playing chess against the Iowa defense to create his own runs or falling at least three yards forward. I always waited for him to sit out for a few snaps after a big run, but he just never left the game. He was always there in the backcourt, getting the ball and moving the chains. Iowa couldn’t force third-and-long situations to put the Gophers’ n00b quarterback in awkward situations. It was the most helpless thing the defense has seen since David Bell destroyed it over a year ago.

And yet, even though Iowa’s offense struggled when Sam LaPorta left the game after the second series and Mo Ibrahim turned the Iowa defense into a ground chuck starting in the second quarter, the Gophers just couldn’t stop themselves from taking the Game Away™ screw up. The Gophers had drives for 73, 76, and 88 yards, for a total of 227 yards. How many points did all these shipyards generate? Same as number of brothers in Hanson.

The first of these trips took place at the end of the first half. Mo drove the offense to the Iowa 16-yard line before PJ Fleck decided to kick the field goal. PJ was rewarded for his cowardice when the kick bounced outside the right post, preserving Iowa’s meager three-point lead. Mo worked the ball again into Iowa’s red zone on the first gopher drive of the second half and stopped at Iowa’s 9-yard line before a field goal was made.

But Minnesotan Malfeasance’s magnum opus came on their first drive of the fourth quarter. That drive included nine minutes of Mo with 13 carries and all but 19 of the 83 yards the Gophers covered on the drive. In third and fifth place from the Iowa 14-yard line, the Gophers chose a stretch run to the left. Mo sprinted out of the backfield before cutting into the upfield. Quinn Schulte, like so many Hawkeyes before him, tried unsuccessfully to imprison Mo. Quinn grabbed his legs and Mo threw himself forward to cancel the first down and take away any temptation from Fleck to kick the field goal. With Mo airborne, Jack Motherfuckin’ Campbell hammered him for the tackle and was able to untie the football which rolled like an excited puppy at Deontae Craig’s feet, who Deontae immediately hugged like his life depended on it, ending the very real Gate of the Gophers threat.

Iowa accomplished nothing offensively after the turnover other than letting my heart flirt with the offense. It looked like Iowa’s beleaguered defense would be crushed after the Gophers started the ball on their own 45-yard line and started that drive with a 19-yard carry from Ibrahim. But after really bad runs from Mo and then Trey Potts, the Gophers found themselves in a position that hadn’t been the whole game: a third-and-long. Faced with an obvious passing game, Kaliakmanis decided to attack Moss for cover. Moss deflected the ball and played it to Jack Motherfuckin’ Campbell, who didn’t go wide and returned the ball to the end zone for a touchdown.

The umpires didn’t see it that way and falsely claimed that Jack Campbell was out of bounds at the Minnesota 45-yard line. However, the bug somehow worked for Iowa. On the first play after the turnover, Spencer Petras unloaded a play-action knockout punch pass for 33 yards over the seam to Luke Lachey. After a few runs to use up Minnesota’s timeouts and eat up the rest of the game clock, a field goal by Drew Stevens with 28 seconds left gave Iowa a 13-10 lead. With the time and game situation that Mo took off the table, things were going as well for Minnesota as one would expect. Good guys win.

So here we are, one win against a crappy Nebraska team from showing up in boots to Indianapolis with a chance to ruin the Big Ten’s black-tie affair. The Ohio State game feels like it was an eon ago. Speaking of which, I know some of you are quite concerned about Iowa being decimated in the Big Ten title game, that’s for sure. Any self-respecting forecaster predicts that Iowa will lose to Michigan or Ohio State by at least 21 points. But no matter how long Iowa’s shot is, I take the 1 in 500,000 chance of a Big Ten title as the zero percent chance that happens when they see Illinois or Purdue in the title game.

But whatever happens in the next few weeks, can we take a moment to acknowledge the joyful madness of beating Minnesota eight straight? This rivalry has been a “thing” for over 130 years. In this period have no Hawkeye fans ever seen eight straight wins against the Gophers. Floyd hasn’t lived anywhere that long, let alone Iowa City. (My oldest daughter is seven. Aside from a dark few months after her birth, she’s spent her entire life with Floyd in Iowa.) Whatever else is going on in Iowa, this series of owning Minnesota objectively rules.

Hawkeye droppings

*Brian Ferentz. This was probably his best named game of the year. The running game didn’t click much, but Petras had time to throw and the boys were open against a very good defense. (Although not every other set will be fire, Brian, it’s high time he got down the old dusty trail, and a decent game won’t change that.)

*Spencer Petras. Dude deserves a whole lot of credit. His game isn’t unworldly or anything, but he’s gotten so much better that it’s amazing. Aside from throwing against Nico Ragaini in the 4th quarter, who had a little too much hot mustard, he didn’t have any glaring mistakes and plays more than well enough for this team to win against most teams.

* Special teams. I didn’t highlight them in the main article, but they were a big part of why Minnesota consistently ran the full length of the field to get into the end zone. Also, it’s pretty cute to have a kicker that actually does his kicks

*Cooper DeJean. Fewer splash plays than a week ago, but no less crucial. He landed another punt on the 1-yard line, but even more important was his play on two long runs from Mo Ibrahim as DeJean sprinted down to limit the damage by tackling Ibrahim or forcing him out of the field. As a reminder, these rides ultimately resulted in zero points and then three points. Not the hottest pieces, but very, very important pieces.

* Although the defense spent most of the game getting their ass kicked, this defense kicks ass.

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