Iowa Football

Game Report: Iowa Hawkeyes 35, Minnesota Golden Gophers 7

Iowa offensive lineman Justin Britt (63) lifts running back Tyler Goodson (15) in celebration after Goodson scored a tou
Iowa offensive lineman Justin Britt (63) lifts running back Tyler Goodson (15) in celebration after Goodson scored a touchdown against Minnesota during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

A closer look at Iowa’s 35-7 win over Minnesota on Friday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Turning point

A second-quarter play that got nothing for the Hawkeyes may have turned on a light switch for Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz long enough for the Hawkeyes to do the right thing. Which was, simply, stop passing.

Leading 7-0 with a first down at the Minnesota 45 and the Gophers showing little inclination of stopping Iowa’s running game, Ferentz called a flea flicker. Spencer Petras, who had already been intercepted once, threw a bomb that overshot Nico Ragaini. No harm, but no gain.

Iowa’s response to the incompletion was to was to run the ball on its next eight plays for those 45 yards. Tyler Goodson scored from the Minnesota 7 out of the Wildcat formation with 8:31 left in the half. Goodson had 23 of the yards in that time, Mekhi Sargent 22.

The Hawkeyes had 123 rushing yards in the first half, 87 by Goodson, who finished with a career-high 145. Iowa finished with 236, and averaged 6.7 yards per carry.

Of Iowa’s 53 plays, 35 were rushes. Running was the way to go against the Big Ten’s worst rushing defense. Everyone knew it going in, everyone knew it going out.



What had been a methodical Minnesota possession that was a bit of a nightmare for Iowa ended in Hawkeye happiness.


Starting at their 5, the Gophers had a third-quarter drive that went to Iowa’s 21 and consumed a whopping 10 minutes and 56 seconds. For some reason, Minnesota Coach P.J. Fleck opted to go for a 39-yard field goal when the drive reached fourth-and-7 at the Iowa 21. It was blocked.

You kind of knew then that the Gophers were toast. You really kind of knew it on Iowa’s first subsequent play, a 45-yard run by Goodson. Four players later, Spencer Petras hit Ihmir Smith-Marsette for an 8-yard TD pass, and it was 20-0.

Its defense should get the game ball for holding Minnesota’s thought-to-be efficient offense to seven very late points, no matter how well Iowa’s offensive line and running back played. Defensive backs Jack Koerner and Riley Moss had interceptions. Linebackers Seth Benson, Jack Campbell and Nick Niemann all played very well.

But let’s hear it for senior end Zach VanValkenburg, who was playing Division II ball in Michigan two years ago. He had three tackles for loss, totaling 15 yards. One was a fourth-quarter sack of Gophers quarterback of Tanner Morgan.

Like everything else in the first half, targeting calls went Iowa’s way. Minnesota linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin was ejected in the second quarter after a ruling from a video review said he was guilty of that offense.

Later in the quarter, the targeting penalty on Koerner was overturned by a review. That was a good thing for the Hawkeyes, because Koerner went on to record Iowa’s first blocked field goal since Anthony Nelson against Penn State in 2017.

On Iowa’s radio pregame show, commentator Ed Podolak said Hawkeye punter Tory Taylor “hasn’t kicked a stone before.”

Podolak was referring to the freshman Australian not having played in weather this cold. Taylor seemed unaffected by the chill. His first punt traveled 54 yards to the Minnesota 7. His first punt of the second half went 55 yards to the Minnesota 5. Maybe he had kicked a stone before.


Wide receiver Nico Ragaini of Iowa had his first career rushing touchdown, a 1-yarder on a jet sweep for the game’s first points. It was just Ragaini’s second career carry.

Minneapolis had 4.8 inches of snow Tuesday. The seats where players’ family members sat were cleared. The other 50,000 or so were not.

Iowa was a 3-point favorite at kickoff. The line was 3.5 points most of the week. The half-point didn’t matter.

Social summaries

From Twitter

“Run, Punt, Do It Right!!” — @milleryep77

“The Gophers have gone vegetarian,” — @Ballou86GoHawks

“Woe the boat,” — @RogerKuznia

“In the immortal words of Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher.’ ”— @kevinstuder

By the numbers

3 — Koerner got his third interception of the season. Last year, Michael Ojemudia led the Hawkeyes in INTs with three, over 13 games.

3 — Minnesota has three losses in four games. Last year, it lost just twice in 13 games.

4 — Iowa hasn’t trailed in any of its last four games against the Gophers.


6 — Iowa has won its last six games against Minnesota, its longest win streak in the 114-game series. This will be the longest the Floyd of Rosedale trophy ever went without changing mailing addresses.

8 Iowa has led at halftime in each of its last eight games.

8 — The Hawkeyes have won eight of the nine times they have played on FS1.

11 — Iowa had two interceptions, and has interceptions in its last 11 games. Koerner got one in the second quarter, his third of the season. Riley Moss got the second, in the fourth quarter.

33 — The game-time temperature was 33 degrees and the windchill 24 at kickoff. The temperature at Iowa’s last three regular-season games in 2019 began at either 36, 37 or 38 degrees.

86 — Iowa has scored 86 points over its four first halves this season, an average of 21.5 per game.

142 — Hawkeye sophomore running back Tyler Goodson had a career-high 142 rushing yards.

Injury report

Iowa played without defensive end John Waggoner, who was on the field for 41 snaps the game before against Michigan State.


Jack Campbell, a first-teamer heading into the season, made his season debut for Iowa and started the second half at middle linebacker.

Offensive linemen Coy Cronk and Kyler Schott missed their second-straight games after each had started twice. Cody Ince and Cole Banwart were again the starting guards.

Smith-Marsette wasn’t injured, but did miss the Michigan State game to suspension. He returned Friday, and got his first touchdown of 2020.

Next up

Iowa plays Penn State next Saturday at either 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. The starting time will be announced after all of this weekend’s results are in. Penn State brings an 0-3 record to its game at Nebraska Saturday, the first time it has started the year with three losses since 2001.

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