Minneapolis, Minnesota– Coming off of two seasons where Iowa only took home one rivalry trophy, the Hawkeyes retain the Floyd of Rosedale with a 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“It was a great win. Everybody played good. Our defense played awesome, the offense did great, and we held them throughout the game,” Senior Kicker Mike Meyer said. “It’s good to win those trophy games”
Sophomore Quarterback Jake Rudock was directly involved with both of Iowa’s touchdowns for the afternoon. The first was a 4-yard scramble into the end zone, his 5th rushing touchdown of the season, which put Iowa up 10-0. The second was a 74-yard bubble screen to Damond Powell, who used his speed to break away and put Iowa up 17-0. Rudock was limited to one interception and continues to grow more comfortable as the starting quarterback.
“He [Rudock] does a lot of things subtly that you don’t notice he is doing,” Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He is getting us where we want to be, we are lucky to have a smart quarterback.”
After carrying 21 times for 177 yards and a touchdown last season against Minnesota, Junior Running Back Mark Weisman carried 24 times for a 150 yard. Damon Bullock also carried 11 times for 50 yards. The offensive line really dominated the Minnesota defensive line and created a lot of space for the running backs.
“We knew this game would not be easy and there’s nothing easy about putting together a successful run game,” Ferentz said. “But our concentration and determination made every play possible.”
Iowa’s defense had a huge game. They secured two turnovers, held Minnesota to only 30 rushing yards, and did not let Minnesota get on the board until midway through the 3rd quarter.
“None of us foresaw us holding Minnesota to 30 rushing yards,” Ferentz said. “There was not guarantee that we could stop them but our defense stepped up and made some big plays.”
After only having only two road wins in the previous two seasons, Iowa already has two wins on the road this season, both of which were rivalry games. Though Rudock claims the wins are more important than any claim to a rivalry win.
“Wins on the road adds confidence,” Rudock said. “Each game is a little different. Having the ability today to mix it up was a big help.”
The game was not as close as the score would indicate. Iowa outgained Minnesota in total yards 464-165, but could not score touchdowns when inside the red zone and having to settle for field goals. The biggest example of this was in the 2nd quarter when Senior Linebacker Christian Kirksey intercepted Minnesota Quarterback Philip Nelson at the Minnesota 23 and Meyer hit the left upright, leaving Iowa with no points off the turnover. It is going to be a weekly struggle to improve but the players definitely see themselves taking positive steps forward.
“We’re continuing to make strides. We’re not where we want to be, we all have our flaws that we want to improve on,” Senior Offensive Lineman Brett Van Sloten said. “That’s what our daily task is, to improve each day, and right now we’re just going to enjoy this win.”
Iowa will return to action next week when they host the Michigan State Spartans at Kinnick next Saturday at 11 a.m. in Iowa City and have the chance to improve to 2-0 in Big Ten play.