Defense Much Better
It was refreshing to see Iowa get back to playing excellent defense. A big key coming in was slowing down their dynamic running backs, which they did a good job of. Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith combined for 21 carries and 99 yards. Brooks got loose a couple of times, but there wasn't anything glaring as far as big runs from the Gophers.
The pass defense was also very good. Minnesota's QB, Mitch Leidner did not complete a pass until about midway through the second quarter. He looked off a bit, but I think Iowa's defense had a lot to do with it. They gave up just 268 total yards, which is going to work for you just about every time. Iowa is going to need their defense to be this good for the rest of season.
Iowa Won the Line of Scrimmage
This hasn't been the case in the games Iowa has lost. But they did a good job on both sides of the ball controlling the line of scrimmage. Yes, there were times when they got pushed around a bit, but that is going to happen from time to time over the course of a football game. I thought they did a good job with the offensive line shuffling around a bit. Myers was bumped to left tackle, Ike Boettger to left guard and Cole Croston was at right tackle. I thought the group was solid all day and much better than they were last week against Northwestern.
On the other side, Jaleel Johnson was in the backfield quite a bit. He was the culprit when Brandon Snyder intercepted Leidner late as Johnson had pressure coming right down main street towards Leidner. This caused him to get rid of it earlier than he would have liked and Snyder wound up with the ball in his lap.
Iowa did a good job of keeping Minnesota's backs inside as well. They set the edge and forced either Brooks or Smith back to the middle where many white jerseys were waiting.
Offense Still Has Problems
It's been going on for a couple weeks now, but this offense definitely still has problems. The biggest one today was catching the football. I believe I counted four dropped passes total and three of them were on the same drive. Ronald Nash, Riley McCarron, and Noah Fant all dropped passes on the same drive, which was a killer for Iowa. For McCarron, he had a couple drops and then also fumbled one of the balls he did catch to give it back to the Gophers in the second half.
Beathard still doesn't look comfortable in the pocket and made some silly mistakes like the interception he threw late in the game. I'm not sure if it's his timing with receivers, the fact that he hasn't gotten much time to throw the ball, or the fact that his receivers sometimes struggle getting open. It's probably a combination of the three along with some other factors, but it needs cleaned up before Iowa meets Wisconsin in a few weeks.
The offensive line and the running game were both stout, but if the pass doesn't come along it's going to be tough to win some of the games remaining on the schedule.