Sept. 28, 2013
The Hawkeyes pushed their winning streak to four games in improving to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten Conference play; Minnesota is 4-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Iowa's win was the first in three chances at TCF Bank Stadium.
"You get what you deserve, and the last two times up here, we ended up with what we deserved," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "You have to play the full 60 minutes, and today, we certainly did.
"There were some peaks and valleys, but our guys did a good job of weathering the tough times and came through in the end."
Iowa dominated the Gophers, holding a 464-165 advantage in total offense. The Hawkeyes rushed for 246 yards -- their fifth-straight 200-yard rushing games -- and had 218 yards through the air. Iowa converted 8-of-14 third downs and had a 12-minute advantage in time of possession (36:01-23:59).
Iowa's defense limited Minnesota's rushing attack, which ranked 13th nationally with a 282.3 per game average entering the game, to 30 yards on 27 carries. The Hawkeyes forced two turnovers and had a season-best four sacks.
"It was a big challenge for us coming in," said Ferentz. "These guys have done an excellent job rushing the football. It was a big challenge and our guys really rose to the occasion.
"It was strength on strength up front and our linebackers did what they were supposed to do."
"Things were clicking on defense, especially in the first half, I thought we played pretty well," said Morris.
Junior Mark Weisman rushed 24 times for 147 yards -- his fourth 100-yard game this season. Redshirt sophomore Jake Rudock was 15-of-25 for 218 yards with a touchdown, and junior Kevonte Martin-Manley had six catches for 56 yards. Junior Damond Powell had one catch -- a 74-yard touchdown reception.
After leading 17-0 at the half, the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 20-0 on their second possession of the second half, courtesy of a 15-play, 75-yard drive. Iowa converted three third-and longs on the drive -- a 14-yard completion to Jacob Hillyer on third-and-9 from the Iowa 21, an 8-yard toss to Martin-Manley on third-and-8 from the 37, and a 22-yard scramble by Rudock on third-and-9 from midfield.
On first-and-10 from the Minnesota 32, Weisman rushed for 7 and 18 yards on consecutive carries down to the 7. After a holding penalty pushed Iowa back to the 17, Rudock connected with Martin-Manley on a swing pass for 14 yards to the 5. Iowa couldn't punch it into the end zone, but place kicker Mike Meyer made a 23-yard chip shot to make the score 20-0.
Minnesota got a kick of energy when Marcus Jones returned the ensuing kickoff from two yards deep in his own end zone 66 yards to the Iowa 34. On the fourth play of the drive, Philip Nelson found Derrick Engel for a 23-yard touchdown strike, cutting the Hawkeye advantage to 20-7.
Despite giving up an eight-play, 54-yard drive to the Hawkeyes on their next possession, Minnesota kept the momentum when it forced a Rudock interception in the end zone. Iowa's drive moved to the Gopher 13 yard line before Brock Vereen picked off an attempt in Tevaun Smith's direction to give Minnesota the ball back with 13:58 to play.
Iowa's defense surrendered two first downs, and just 23 yards before the Iowa offense used an 11-play, 62-yard drive to extend its lead. Eight of the plays were rushing attempts -- five to Weisman -- and an 18-yard pitch-and-catch to Martin-Manley on third-and-9 moved the chains. After the drive stalled at the Minnesota 28, Meyer connected on a 46-yard field goal to extend Iowa's lead to 23-7.
Minnesota used a second strong kick return of 53 yards by Antonio Johnson to start the ensuing drive in Iowa territory. On fourth-and-5, Morris sealed the Hawkeye win when he picked off Nelson at midfield.
Iowa scored the game's first points, moving 27 yards over six plays on its second drive. After taking over at its own 42, the Hawkeyes got a 19-yard run from Weisman on a draw up the middle to move to the Minnesota 39. Following two runs and a swing pass to Bullock, Meyer drilled a 49-yard field goal to give Iowa a 3-0 advantage.
Iowa made the score 10-0 with an eight-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter. Weisman opened the drive with three rushes for 18 yards to the 38 before Rudock connected with fullback Adam Cox for a 35 yard gain on third-and-3 off play action to the Minnesota 27.
Two plays later, the Gophers' Eric Murray was whistled for pass interference on an attempt to Martin-Manley in the end zone, setting up first and goal from the 8. Following two Weisman rushes, Rudock found the end zone for the fifth time this season when he scrambled in a five-wide formation for the score.
On the first play of Minnesota's next offensive possession, Iowa's defense forced its first turnover of the game. Nelson threw the ball behind tight end Drew Goodger on a screen attempt, where it deflected in the air. Senior Christian Kirksey snatched the ball for an interception to give Iowa the ball at the Minnesota 23. Iowa's offense couldn't capitalize, and the Hawkeyes came away empty when Meyer's 39-yard field goal attempt hit the up right.
Iowa pushed the margin to 17-0 on its next possession, courtesy of the big play. Following an 11-yard completion to Smith on first down, the Hawkeyes executed perfectly on a bubble screen to junior Damond Powell on the next play. Powell took the pass from Rudock, before cutting to the inside behind a wall of blockers and dashing 74 yards untouched for the touchdown. The play was the longest from the line of scrimmage for the team this season and the 23rd-longest touchdown in Iowa history.
The Hawkeyes return to action Oct. 5, hosting Michigan State on Homecoming at 11 a.m. (CT).