Iowa Football

Game Report, Iowa at Minnesota: Grades, numbers, notes and more

Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson rushes for a touchdown on a fake field goal against Minnesota defensive back Chris Williamson in the first half Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson rushes for a touchdown on a fake field goal against Minnesota defensive back Chris Williamson in the first half Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A look at Iowa’s 48-31 win Saturday over Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium.

Play of the game

The Set Up

Iowa held a 14-7 lead over Minnesota late in the second quarter. The Hawkeyes had a drive stall at the Minnesota 4-yard line and senior Miguel Recinos came in to sink the putt and give Iowa a two-score lead.

Remember the “Polecat” from last year? Remember how special teams coordinator LeVar Woods said after Iowa executed that fake field goal against Ohio State last year? Woods had to convince head coach Kirk Ferentz that it would work.

Similar deal.

“They convinced me and it was however many guys we have on our staff vs. one,” Ferentz said. “That’s one vote I did lose.”

What Happened

Punter/holder Colten Rastetter put everyone in place. His calls sent seven Hawkeyes to the right hash, three aligned with the ball and another lined up wide on wide.

Longsnapper Jackson Subbert, a Williamsburg grad, winged the snap to the right about 6 or 7 yards. Like a line drive.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson lined up on the wing of the offset line of scrimmage. He pivoted out to give Subbert a target. Subbert put it between the numbers.

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The Result

Let the record show that defensive tackle Sam Brincks made the block that sealed this. He lined up as the tackle on the end of the line and got enough of a block to spring Hockenson for a 4-yard TD and a 21-7 lead with 5:57 left in the first half.

When was the last time Hockenson carried a ball?

“It’s been a minute,” he said. “Probably since high school.”

Oh, since special teams trick plays seem to need a nickname, this one was called “Herky.”

— Marc Morehouse

Grades

Marc Morehouse: B

You were entertained and you probably had sweaty arm pits.

Mike Hlas: B

It could have been a road rout, but at least there was no reason for road rage.

Notes

— First-year freshmen Riley Moss and Julius Brents started at cornerback.

Moss got worked on the Gophers’ third possession, getting beat in 1-on-1 coverage on a 34-yard pass from Zack Annexstad to Chris Autman-Bell, and then on a 3-yard TD toss from Annexstad to Rashod Bateman. All three Gophers mentioned in this paragraph are freshmen.

But Moss rebounded with a second-quarter interception in the end zone on single-coverage against Autman-Bell, then added another pick and a 36-yard return of it in the fourth quarter.

» Read More: Youth serves Iowa with impact at Minnesota

Early in the fourth quarter, Brents picked off a long pass.

Moss and Brents became the 23rd and 24th true freshmen to start games in Kirk Ferentz’s 20 seasons as Iowa’s coach.

— Four different Hawkeye receivers caught touchdown passes. Hockenson and wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette scored their first TDs of the season on first-quarter passes from Nate Stanley. In the second frame, Hockenson scored on his first collegiate rush, 4 yards on a trick play on 4th-and-goal.

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Tight end Noah Fant also got one, his fifth TD catch of the season and 17th of his career, tying him for fourth on Iowa’s all-time touchdown-receptions list.

Fant had 80 percent of Iowa’s touchdown catches entering the game. He now has a mere 55.6 percent.

— Minnesota had about as short of a pair of touchdown drives as a team will have in a game. It had a 6-yard touchdown “drive” late in the second quarter and one for 3 yards in the third quarter. A poor decision of a pass by Stanley was picked off to set up the first one, and a strip-sack of Stanley by defensive end Carter Coughlin led to the other.

— Iowa linebacker Amani Jones was penalized for targeting late in the game and will have to miss the first half of Iowa’s next game, at Indiana.

By the numbers

Minus-1: Minnesota’s first two drives both went for minus-1 yards.

1: Iowa scored on its first possession for the first time this season.

3: Hawkeye defensive end Anthony Nelson had three sacks in the game’s first 18 minutes.

5: Stanley completed five passes on Iowa’s first possession, a 53-yard touchdown drive. Five different players had catches on the drive.

6: Barrington Wade became the sixth different starting linebacker for Iowa this season.

7: Minnesota started seven freshmen.

8: Eight different Hawkeyes had rushing plays, including two tight ends.

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8: Iowa fullback Brady Ross had one carry for 5 yards and a first down. He has six rushes and three receptions this season, and eight of the nine touches were for first downs.

9: This was Iowa’s ninth win in 38 October games against the Gophers.

17: Minnesota scored 17 second-quarter points against Iowa after the Hawkeyes had allowed just seven over their first four games.

100: This was Minnesota’s 100th Homecoming game.

Injury report

Iowa first-team cornerback Matt Hankins was held out of the game because of injury issues, and was replaced in the starting lineup by Brents. Hankins had his left hand in a cast.

Cornerback Michael Ojemudia had injury issues after the Wisconsin-Iowa game two weeks earlier, but returned to practice early in the week leading up to the Minnesota game. He played in Saturday’s game, but Moss took his place in the starting lineup.

Hawkeye middle linebacker Jack Hockaday left the game and went to the locker room in the second quarter after a left knee injury. He was on crutches later. He will have an MRI Sunday. Hockaday had a team-high five tackles in the first half. He was replaced by Jones, Iowa’s Game 1 starter at that position.

Fant was shaken up after he got the ball on a jet sweep early in the fourth quarter. He was taken to the locker room, but returned to the sideline to watch the rest of the game.

Up next

Iowa returns to the road for an 11 a.m. (Central time) game at Indiana Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Hoosiers (4-2 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) lost at Ohio State Saturday, 49-26.

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