IOWA CITY — The pig is staying in Iowa City.
Iowa retained the Floyd of Rosedale traveling trophy and gave ninth-ranked Minnesota its first loss of the season Saturday, 23-19, at Kinnick Stadium. Here’s a closer look at the game.
Play of the game
THE SETUP: It’s the first possession of the game. Iowa began it with the football at its 25. A 26-yard run by true freshman running back Tyler Goodson moved the Hawkeyes into Minnesota territory. Three plays later, it’s fourth-and-1 at the Gophers 32.
WHAT HAPPENED: It’s a big game, a trophy game, so, yeah, Iowa’s going for it. No surprise there. But a shotgun formation and empty backfield for the play? Yeah, that was surprising.
THE RESULT: His offensive line allowed Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley to scan the field. He saw tight end Nate Wieting, just back from an injury, open in the slot. Stanley fired, Wieting went to cradle the catch, 11-yard gain, first down Iowa at the Minnesota 21. Stanley and Nico Ragaini hooked up for a 21-yard touchdown on the ensuing play, and Iowa toook a very early 6-0 lead. Tons of momentum gained.
Marc Morehouse: A+
Take the Pig, leave the cannoli.
Mike Hlas: A
The specter of a 10-0 Gophers football team would have terrified some and caused many others to behave erratically. Our planet dodged a bullet.
Jeff Johnson: A
Hawkeyes picked themselves up off the mat and beat a top 10-ranked team. If you didn’t know it before, Minnesota is legit.
By the numbers
3 — Touchdowns scored by Iowa on its first three possessions in this game.
69 — Second-half yards offensively for Iowa.
221 — First-yard yards offensively for Iowa.
67,517 — The attendance at Kinnick Stadium. Not quite a sellout.
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• Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz won his 95th Big Ten Conference game Saturday, placing him in a tie with Penn State legend Joe Paterno for fifth all-time in league history. Ferentz’s predecessor at Iowa, Hayden Fry, is fourth with 96 Big Ten victories.
• Goodson made his first career start for Iowa, scoring a touchdown on a 10-yard run in the first quarter. Goodson is the fourth true freshman to start this season for Iowa (defensive back Dane Belton, tight end Sam LaPorta and linebacker Jack Campbell are the others). He is the fourth true freshman running back to get a start in the Ferentz era, following Greg Garmon in 2012, Jordan Canzeri in 2011, Marcus Coker in 2010 and Brandon Wegher in 2009.
“Just thought he might be the best answer for today’s game,” Ferentz said. “We’ll continue to evaluate (that position) as we go.”
“I was speechless when (running backs coach Derrick Foster) first told me,” Goodson told Iowa’s sports information department. “For me, I didn’t focus on the fact I was starting, but focused on the next play and tried to make an impact that would help our team win the game.”
• Mike Reilly was Iowa’s honorary captain for Saturday’s game. The former Hawkeye offensive guard and linebacker played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, then returned to his native Dubuque to be a banker. He did radio broadcasts of Iowa games for 17 years with Ron Gonder. Reilly passed away Oct. 18 at the age of 77.
• Iowa wore special uniforms and helmet decals to honor the military and Veterans Day. The Hawkeyes wore black pants with gold stripes on the sides to go with their traditional black jersey tops. Their black helmets had Iowa’s traditional Tigerhawk on the right temple, though in red, white and blue. The left side of the Hawkeyes helmets were logo-less, left blank in honor of military members who did not return home as a result of their service.
• Representatives of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals were in the press box. The lone bowl representative was Shawn DeVries of the Gator Bowl.
• Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s football team used Iowa’s indoor practice facility this past week because of snow and bitter cold temperatures that prevented it from using its field at the school. Two former Kennedy players are on Iowa’s roster: tight end Shaun Beyer and defensive lineman Dalles Jacobus.
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Kristian Welch got the start at middle linebacker after missing the previous three games with an injury incurred against Penn State on Oct. 12.
Tight end Nate Wieting also returned for Iowa after missing the previous three games. He had a reception in the first half for 11 yards.
Cornerback Michael Ojemudia was not in uniform for the game because of an injury he suffered last week against Wisconsin. Riley Moss took his place at right corner, his first start of the season.
Wide receiver Brandon Smith continued to be unavailable, though he did go through pregame warmups and got in on one play in the second half. He suffered an ankle injury in the Oct. 19 game against Purdue.
Iowa plays its home finale next weekend. Illinois is the opponent. The resurgent Illini are 6-4 and bowl eligible. They had Saturday off. Opening kickoff is 11 a.m., with the game televised by the Big Ten Network.
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