D-Line `Underdogs' Show Bite against Gophers
Sept. 29, 2012
That left the Hawkeye D-linemen with fresh legs to race to the opposing sideline and wrestle traveling trophy Floyd of Rosedale back to the home locker room.
Against the previously undefeated Golden Gophers, the UI front line combined for 23 tackles, a forced fumble, a quarterback hurry, and a tackle for loss. The highlight for senior Joe Gaglione?
"Running over there and getting Floyd back," Gaglione said. "The last two years he has been up there and that's not what we're looking for. It's great having him back and it's great seeing how happy everybody is."
Entering Saturday's Big Ten opener, it was the Golden Gopher defensive line receiving most of the accolades; UI defensive right tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat said the Hawkeye defensive linemen are still underdogs...and they still have a chip on their shoulder.
"Coach (Reese) Morgan keeps us motivated and we went out hungry and ready to play," Trinca-Pasat said. "We made some plays, but we're not there yet. Coach Morgan stresses that we can never be complacent. We're always hungry, and we want to keep building."
Minnesota entered the game averaging 183.8 rushing yards a game with six touchdowns on the ground. Against Iowa, the Golden Gophers gained 102 net yards rushing (3.2 yards per carry), with no rushing touchdowns.
Putting the rushing numbers in perspective, UI running back Mark Weisman gained one more yard in the first quarter (103) than Minnesota did during the entire 60 minutes. Iowa also recorded two sacks; Minnesota had zero.
"We came out and made contact and felt as though we could get a push," Cooper said. "The game is won on the line of scrimmage, so we wanted to set the tone early."
On the first series for the Gophers, they carried the ball twice for four yards; the second series they rushed once for four yards. In the first period, Minnesota gained 18 rushing yards on five attempts.
"Everybody understood what we needed to do to get a W," Cooper said. "We went out and worked hard and stayed tenacious."
The Hawkeye defensive line is, as head coach Kirk Ferentz emphasized once again postgame, a young and hard-working group.
"All those guys are working hard, it is good to see," Ferentz said. "They had some success today and hopefully we can build on that now."
"Coach Morgan says if he feels comfortable with you, he will put you in the game," Gaglione said.
The Hawkeyes have two weeks to prepare for Michigan State on Oct. 13 in East Lansing. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (CT).