IOWA CITY (AP) — There wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about Saturday evening in Kinnick Stadium.
Nate Stanley threw for 190 yards in Iowa’s 17-10 win over Minnesota, its eighth-straight in Iowa City over the Gophers.
After missing the last game against Northwestern, linebacker Josey Jewell made his return for the Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten) and led the defense with 11 tackles — six of them solo.
Each team converted just 15 first downs and committed three turnovers. Iowa and Minnesota combined to be 7-of-30 on 3rd downs.
Rodney Smith led the way on offense for Minnesota (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten), rushing for 82 yards on 15 attempts, although his efforts did not prove enough to push the Gophers to their first win at Iowa since 1999 — Kirk Ferentz’s first year at the helm for the Hawkeyes.
The pass game was not there for the Gophers. Demry Croft completed just nine passes throughout the game, five in the second half.
“Offensively, I thought we ran the ball well,” P.J. Fleck said. “However, we didn’t execute well enough. It came down to execution. We had guys open down the field, open for big plays, but dropped the ball or overthrew it. The plays were there to be made, we just didn’t make them.”
The Hawkeyes’ only touchdowns came on their first drive of each half, which combined to be 10 total plays for 147 of Iowa’s 315 yards.
“It was clean. That’s a good thing certainly,” Ferentz said about the first drive of the game. “Same thing with the second half. That wasn’t scripted. But we talk about it. We always gather thoughts at halftime, what do we think might be good, what do we need to toss out, that type of thing.”
Iowa: The Hawkeyes are now just a win away from being bowl eligible, but have a tough slate ahead as Ohio State will head into Iowa City with momentum after beating Penn State. Iowa will then take a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin to face the so-far undefeated Badgers. However, Iowa’s last two games of the season will consist of struggling Purdue and Nebraska teams.
Minnesota: While Iowa is just one win away from packing its bags for a bowl game, the Gophers could very well be staying home. Minnesota has a tall task ahead of it with upcoming games against Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Wisconsin.
The Little Piggy Stayed Home
Floyd of Rosedale will stay in Iowa City for the third straight year. During Ferentz’s tenure with Iowa, the Hawkeyes have had a firm hold on the trophy — Iowa has beaten Minnesota 13 times over the past 19 seasons.
Croft racked up 139 yards to average 15.4 yards per completion. Croft threw to six targets, including Iowa’s Jake Gervase, who picked up the first interception of his career. . James Butler played for the first time since his injury in Week 3 and rushed for 28 yards. . Josh Jackson added 4 pass breakups to his resume, putting him atop the NCAA in passes defended.
He Said It
“I mean it hurts. It’s always going to hurt. Just growing up always wanting to get that pig and hold it for myself,” Thomas Barber said. “I always feel bad for the seniors and not having the pig for their last year. We are just going to come back next week and worry about Floyd next year.”
Iowa hosts Ohio State next Saturday, which is coming off of a 39-38 win over the No. 2 Nittany Lions.