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This is a countdown of Iowa’s most-tantalizing 2021 football games, from the 12th-most to the most. Previously:
And now, No. 8:
Minnesota, Nov. 13
Trailing 35-0, Minnesota reached the Iowa 4-yard line last year and Gophers Coach P.J. Fleck called a timeout. It wanted to score and avoid getting shut out at home in a game that was embarrassing enough as it was.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz responded with using all three of his timeouts with 19 seconds left on a cold night.
We all know what that was. That was dislike of Fleck pouring from the Iowa sideline onto the TCF Bank Stadium turf. It didn’t start with a timeout that was relatively harmless. Fleck and Ferentz aren’t the kind of personalities that mesh, plus they go head-to-head for recruits.
"They called a timeout, I guess, to get a look at what we were doing and reconsider," Ferentz said. "So we just wanted to make sure we got a good look at what they were doing. No sense in taking them on the bus with us. [The media] have reminded me of that a couple times over the last 22 years.
"Figured we'd take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here."
As power disses go, that may have been Ferentz’s strongest in all his time as Iowa’s coach.
Minnesota got that shutout-denying touchdown. Iowa got the jab. Don’t forget the Hawkeyes went for and got a 2-point conversion after a touchdown that gave them a 26-0 lead.
The Hawkeye Football Twitter feed called the win “The Row’d to Six Straight,” in a nod to Iowa winning six straight times over the Gophers (and four over Fleck) for the first time in series history, and to Fleck’s tiresome “Row the Boat” mantra.
I kind of get a kick out of Fleck, by the way. Tiresome mantras like the boat-rowing deal, though, cannot be accepted or forgiven.
So should I rank this year’s Minnesota-Iowa game higher than eighth of Iowa’s most-tantalizing this year, right? Nah.
Why not? Because the final 19 seconds of last year’s game will be mentioned over and over the week of this year’s game, and then this year’s game will provide no further gamesmanship between coaches because they know they’re being scrutinized. Fleck played it down at Big Ten media days. Way down. Ferentz said it wasn’t something that gave him pride.
Funny how the light of day is so much different than the heat of the moment. What you do in the fourth quarter is like what you do when you’ve had a few drinks. You say what you think, not what is the safer way to go.
Anyway, Minnesota fell to earth last fall with a 3-4 mark after going 11-2 and upsetting Auburn in the Outback Bowl the season before.
The main reason, though, is that 35-7 game last year. Iowa rushed for 235 yards and 6.7 yards per carry, both season-bests. Minnesota allowed 207 rushing yards and 30.1 points per game, and the Gophers didn’t play Ohio State or Indiana. That makes you uninteresting until you prove otherwise.
If there were some assurance of snark to make another appearance, I’d shoot this game into the top three on Iowa’s schedule.
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