MN Gophers (6-3) travel to face #19 IA Hawkeyes (7-2) for Floyd of Rosedale & Big 10 West lead
Rivalry week is upon us! The battle for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy starts this Saturday at 2:30pm in Iowa City. Iowa has had the upper hand as of late in this rivalry series; winning the last 6 meetings, 8 of the last 9 meetings, and haven't lost to Minnesota in Iowa City since 1999. Minnesota is going to have to bring their 'A' game in this one if they are going to come out of the game with Floyd. Here are a few games that show some comparison against the same opponents:
Maryland: MN won 34-16, IA won 51-14
Purdue: MN won 20-13, IA lost 24-7
Northwestern: MN won 41-14, IA won 17-12
Every game and every matchup does have separate circumstances, but the Gophers have looked better against the same teams that Iowa has also faced so far. Minnesota leads the all time series at 62-50-2. I do think this game is going to be close right into the 4th quarter.
IOWA HAWKEYES: Iowa's magical season came to a halt after they started the season 6-0 and found themselves ranked at #2 in the polls. They quickly lost back-to-back games against Purdue and Wisconsin and only managed to score 14 total points in the 2 games. Last week they only beat Northwestern 17-12 in a somewhat disappointing win (I know a win is a win, but NW is really bad). Iowa's Head Coach, Kirk Ferentz, always seems to get his team ready to play Minnesota so I know this game will be no different. Injuries are going to play a big part in this game as 2 of Iowa's top cornerbacks will be out (hopefully opening up MN's passing game) and they have a QB making his first career start, Alex Padilla. The games that Iowa has dominated the defense was able to force 3+ turnovers: 3 against Indiana, 4 against Iowa City, 7 against Maryland, and 4 against Penn State. When they don't force turnovers, they don't score very many points. This should be a tough game for Iowa as well.
MINNESOTA GOPHERS: Minnesota was riding high on a 4-game winning streak before Illinois beat them in MPLS 14-6 last week. Hopefully this will work as another wake up call to the Gophers team and have them coming out angry and ready to play this week. Iowa has a heck of a rushing defense, so QB Tanner Morgan is going to have to be on point this Saturday. He should have all of his weapons at WR and, as I mentioned earlier, Iowa will be without 2 of their top CBs. Running the ball won't come easy but we still need to utilize the young RBs in the run and passing game as they have proven to be very electric playmakers. The defense has been very solid this year, but similar to Illinois, Iowa has a very solid RB and OL that they are going to lean on on offense considering their QB will be making his first start. The main keys to the game for the Gophers are as follows:
Gophers offense can't turn the ball over, and the Gophers NEED to win the turnover battle.
The Gophers defense needs to stop the run and get to IA's QB.
Fleck needs to take points (field goals) when we are in range, can't keep leaving points on the board early in the game.
Tanner Morgan needs to bring his 'A' game on passing plays, like in 2019.
Even though the Gophers haven't beaten Iowa with Fleck or in Iowa City since 1999, I do think the Gophers will be able to break through and win this game. The Gophers have had plenty of ups and downs this season, but they are legitimately a solid team. As long as they come out hungry and focused like we have seen them play this year, they can 100% win this game. The current over/under for this game is 37 points and Iowa is sitting at 5 point favorites. With that being said, I think the Gophers outplay Iowa and beat them on their own turf 24-13 and celebrate with the Floyd of Rosedale for the first time in 7 years! Let's go, Gophers! BEAT IOWA!