MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Up here at TCF Bank Stadium, the visiting postgame is held in a hallway where there is a lot of traffic.
So surrounded by Hawkeyes, the poor Minnesota stadium beverage guy got stuck in the middle of Hawkeye tight end T.J. Hockenson telling everyone that the fake field goal was called “Herky.”
The poor dude had to honk the horn or he still might be there in the middle of Hawkeyes with four or five kegs of beer.
But it was OK. The Hawkeyes worked around that, too. Iowa (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) worked around everything Minnesota (3-2, 0-2) in a 48-31 victory Saturday before 48,199 fans, taking the Floyd of Rosedale pig trophy back to Iowa City for the fourth straight year.
“Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep,” wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette said.
For Smith-Marsette, it was “beep beep” as in the Roadrunner from cartoons. He had a 60-yard TD reception and, when the Gophers pulled within 31-24 midway through the third quarter, he ripped off a 49-yard kick return that Iowa eventually turned into a touchdown.
Smith-Marsette had one guy to beat. It wasn’t the kicker, for the record.
“It wasn’t the kicker,” Smith-Marsette said.
Quarterback Nate Stanley’s beeps came from hitting target after target, like shooting free throws at a fair or something. Yes, there was a painfully bad interception that led to a Minnesota TD right before half, but there also was Stanley’s third career 300-yard game (314 yards). He threw four TDs to just that one pick.
The Hawkeyes needed him to be sharp. Minnesota stacked eight defenders on the line of scrimmage and held Iowa to 2.7 yards per rush on 40 carries. Stanley hit 23 of 39, a season-high for attempts.
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“We wanted to be even,” said Stanley, who put together his third consecutive multi-TD game. “We just got the passing game going early. We saw somethings we liked and we just continued to take advantage of them.”
Iowa finished with 420 yards. It was the Hawkeyes' third consecutive game with 400-plus yards. That’s the first time the offense has done that since 2014.
For freshman cornerback Riley Moss, it was beeps like one of those Life Alert commercials, you know, the one where the person falls and can’t get up. Minnesota targeted the true freshman making his first start.
“We kind of knew they were going to attack him, a true freshman guy out there,” safety Jake Gervase said. “I was his roommate last night. I told him, ‘We have confidence in you. We trust your play. Go out there, play loose and play confidently.’ He did fine.”
Moss’ first day on the job also was against a pair of terrific receivers in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Batemen. They put up numbers, with Johnson hauling in six passes for 107 yards and a TD and Batemen with seven for 65 yards and two TDs.
Moss’s first day on the job also ended in two interceptions, including one in Iowa’s end zone. Mixed bag, but last man standing.
“Definitely the speed of the game,” Moss said of the biggest challenge. “Then, building confidence, like I can do this. I’m meant to be here. I’m here for a reason. It was mostly mental. Once that mental barrier was overcome, the game went a little bit better.”
Maybe the beeps for the defense were an alarm. Minnesota found some rhythm with QB Zack Annexstad, but he also treated the ball like Halloween candy, tossing three interceptions to the Hawkeyes. Iowa finished with four interceptions, its first four-interception game since Ohio State last year.
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Then again, maybe the beeps were to alarm Minnesota that defensive end Anthony Nelson was coming. He had three sacks in the first half and Iowa finished with five. The Hawkeyes also held Minnesota to 86 rushing yards.
By the way, Iowa’s sacks record in a game is five. Nelson didn’t know about the record, but defensive linemen are greedy when it comes to sacks.
“I mean, yeah,” Nelson said with a laugh when asked about getting more. “As a defensive lineman, we always want more sacks. Getting three is the accumulation of everyone doing their job. We had great coverage.”
The Gophers twice pulled within a TD. After they made it 14-7, Iowa faced a fourth down at UM’s 4 and lined up for a field goal.
You knew it was going to be fun when before the snap seven guys lined up on the left. Holder Colten Rastetter was behind longsnapper Jackson Subbert. Maybe a pass? No. Subbert snapped the ball ... no, he pitched the ball from the snap to tight end T.J. Hockenson, who peeled off the end of the seven blockers and took off around the right end.
They called it “Herky.”
Beep, beep, beep, big shift and beep, beep, beep Hockenson had a 4-yard TD on his first career carry.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Subbert said.
It all was.
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