Iowa Football

Fun Facts, Iowa-Minnesota: Battle for a pig and America's soul

So many gophers, so little time

Not Floyd of Rosedale
Not Floyd of Rosedale

Interstate 35 stretches from Duluth to the Mexican-American border in Laredo. But today we’re only interested in the Minnesota and Iowa portions of the 1,568-mile-long road.

There will be no overheated discussions here about building a wall, unless it’s at Albert Lea. On with this week’s Fun Facts!

1. Minnesota scored 86 points against Iowa in 2014-15. It scored 17 against Iowa in 2016-17.

2. This will be the Hawkeyes’ first true road game in 316 days.

3. This is Minnesota’s 100th Homecoming game. This is the 14th time Iowa will be the Gophers’ Homecoming opponent. Minnesota won 10 of the first 13 such meetings.

4. Like Iowa, Minnesota has four trophy games. One is against Penn State (Governor’s Victory Bell), though the Gophers and Nittany Lions don’t meet this year, nor will they in 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024.

5. The Hawkeyes led FBS with 21 interceptions last season. They have two through four games this year. But their scoring defense, tied for fifth nationally at 13.0 points allowed per game, certainly hasn’t suffered.

6. Minnesota is 6-0 in nonconference games under P.J. Fleck, 2-8 in Big Ten games.

7. Last year, Iowa tight end Noah Fant averaged 16.5 yards per catch and tight end T.J. Hockenson averaged 13.3. This season, with both players owning 15 receptions, Hockenson averages 15.9 yards, Fant 11.3. Hockenson is seventh nationally in receiving yards by a tight end with 238.

8. Despite both teams allowing 415 and 432 yards, respectively, in their most recent games, Iowa is third nationally in total defense with 260.5 yards allowed per game, and Minnesota is 14th at 300.3.

9. There were 18 punts in last year’s Minnesota-Iowa game. The NCAA record is 77, in the 0-0 Texas Tech-Centenary game of 1939. The game was played in a rainstorm, and, well, it wasn’t good football.

10. Eight different Hawkeyes have quarterback sacks. Thirty-nine teams don’t have eight sacks total, and some have played one more game than Iowa.

11. With 52.2 percent, Minnesota has a higher percentage of freshmen on its roster than any FBS team.

12. Minnesota hasn’t been ranked in Associated Press’ top 10 since it closed the 1962 regular season at No. 10.

13. Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta was born in Minneapolis.

14. Minnesota freshman defensive back Benny Sapp III is the son of former Iowa and Northern Iowa defensive back Benny Sapp II, who played in the NFL from 2004 to 2011.

15. No Gophers quarterback has been an NFL draft pick since Craig Curry was an eighth-rounder in 1972.

16. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley is from Menomonie, Wis., 70 miles from Minneapolis. Gophers quarterback Zack Annexstad is from Norseland, Minn., 77 miles from Minneapolis.

17. In the Gophers’ last two Big Ten home games, they scored 54 points against Nebraska and 0 points against Wisconsin.

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18. Minnesota has MLB, NFL, MLS, NHL and NBA franchises. Iowa has teams in the PCL, IFL, PDL, AHL and NBA G-League.

19. The last time the U.S. won the Ryder Cup, it was held in Minnesota.

20. Among the variety of gophers are the Texas Pocket Gopher, the Nicaraguan Pocket Gopher, and Cherrie’s Pocket Gopher.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.