Reversal of Fortunes: Hawks Benefit from Turnovers

<p>Iowa benefited from five Minnesota turnovers and beat the Golden Gophers 40-22 on Saturday. The Iowa seniors went out in style, scoring 34 of Iowa's 40 points as the Hawkeyes blew out the Minnesota Golden Gophers 40-22 on Senior Day in Iowa City. Iowa led 40-6 with less than five minutes to go in the game and Minnesota's starters added two touchdowns on Iowa's reserves.


Bob Sanders ended his home career the same way that he started it, with 16 tackles. In Sanders' first start against Wisconsin as a freshman, he recorded 16 tackles.

Minnesota came into this game averaging more than 300 rushing yards per game. Iowa held the Golden Gophers to 176 yards on 51 carries.

Iowa benefited from five Gopher turnovers, including one crucial fumble near the goal line in the fist half.

Iowa was leading 14-6 when Minnesota's Laurence Maroney fumbled inside the one yard line. Sanders knocked the ball free before it crossed the plane of the goal line, saving a touchdown.

Sanders would force another fumble in the first half coming off of a blitz and a sack.

Iowa has been snake bitten on the road this year, killing themselves with turnovers and not taking advantage of opportunities.

On this day, Minnesota inherited Iowa's road woes and the Hawkeyes would not let up.

Iowa led 40-6 before Minnesota added two touchdowns against Hawkeye reserves in the last five minutes of the game.

Nathan Chandler was 17 of 28 for 210 yard and one touchdown. Jermelle Lewis rushed the ball nine times for 63 yards. Fred Russell had eight carries for just 21 yards. Chandler added 29 yards on the ground on six attempts, including a power touchdown run in the first half.

Ramon Ochoa caught a touchdown pass and finished with eight receptions for 91 yards. Ochoa also had a 41-yard punt return in the second half to set up an Iowa score.

ESPN's box score says that the Gophers ran 97 offensive plays for 563 yards of offense compared to Iowa's 59 plays for 344 yards.

Nate Kaeding tied his own school record by making four field goals on the day, including a career-best tying 55 yarder with two seconds left in the first half.

Tyler Leubke played a solid game and his sack forced another Minnesota fumble deep in Iowa territory that Matt Roth recovered.

Notes & Quotes

The Hawkeyes have started on offense 51 of its last 53 games and 53 of 59 times under Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has won third straight games over Minnesota and has improved its record to 39-28-2 when playing for Floyd of Rosedale. Coach Kirk Ferentz improved his Iowa record to 30-29. Iowa improves to 3-2 against ranked opponents this year, with the three victories coming in Kinnick Stadium, and the two losses on the road.

Fred Russell's 46-yard opening kickoff return was Iowa's longest of the season. The previous long was 38 yards by Ramon Ochoa at Iowa State (9/13). The 46-yard return also marked the longest kickoff return of Russell's career. He had a 32-yard return vs. Indiana in 2001.

PK Nate Kaeding tied his own school records for kicking points in a game (16), field goals in a game (4) and longest field goal made (55). Kaeding's 55-yard field goal in the second quarter ties as the third longest made in school history. He converted a 55-yard field goal at Penn State in 2002. Today marked the fourth time in his career and second time this season that Kaeding has made four field goals in a single game. Kaeding also scored 16 points at Iowa State (9/13) this year. He has made 62-75 career FG attempts and 159-162 PATs. He is Iowa's career scoring leader with 335 points, including 345 kicking points. His 16 points today moved him past Dan Stultz of Ohio State for third in career kick scoring in the Big Ten Conference.

Robert Gallery has started in 42 consecutive games, the best among offensive linemen in the Big Ten.

Iowa scored first for the first time since it scored a touchdown on its opening drive vs. Illinois. The Hawkeyes have scored on their opening possession in four of 11 contests, including touchdown drives vs. Buffalo and Illinois and field goals vs. Iowa State and Minnesota. Iowa won all four contests when it scored on its opening drive.

DT Jared Clauss and LB Grant Steen both returned to action on defense after they were both injured in Iowa's victory over Penn State (10/25).

David Bradley's 75-yard punt in the second quarter is a career long and ties as the fifth longest in school history tying, Nick Gallery's 75-yard punt vs. Indiana (10/14/95).

Today's game marks the fourth straight sellout and fifth of the year. Iowa finished the 2003-04 season with an attendance average of 65,798, its best home attendance average since 1998 (68,330).

Iowa outscored Minnesota 17-0 in the second quarter and 13-0 in the third quarter. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents 108-15 in the second quarter and 94-28 in the third quarter this year. Minnesota failed to score any points in the second quarter for the first time in 16 quarters.

QB Nathan Chandler completed 17-28 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown, and he also scored on a two-yard run. Chandler has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 10 of Iowa's 11 games. His season total of 1,804 passing yards ranks 15th-best for a single season at Iowa, while his 1,925 yards of total offense rank 14th-best in a single season. He has passed for over 200 yards in three straight games.

RB Fred Russell finished the game with 23 yards rushing on eight attempts. For the season, he has rushed 242 times for 1,068 yards, becoming only the third Hawkeye running back to rush for 1,000 yards or more in more than one season. His career totals include 475 carries for 2,473 yards and 15 touchdowns. He ranks sixth in career rushing yards and his 1,068 yards this year ranks ninth-best for a single season.

RB Jermelle Lewis scored a 34-yard touchdown, his first rushing touchdown of the season. Lewis finished the game as Iowa's leading rusher (9 attempts, 63 yards). His first touchdown of the season came on a pass reception at Purdue.

DB Jovon Johnson collected his fourth interception this season and the eighth of his career. Johnson's interception was Iowa's first pick since its 30-27 win over Michigan (10/4). Johnson also had an interception in Iowa's win at Minnesota last year. Minnesota's five turnovers (4 fumbles, 1 interception) is a season high by Iowa's defense. Iowa had four interceptions in its 21-3 win over Miami, OH (8/30). Entering today's game, Minnesota had 11 turnovers (6 interceptions, 5 fumbles) for the season.

Iowa finished its season undefeated at home, marking its first undefeated home season since finishing 6-0 in 1997. This year marks the first time the Hawkeyes finished with a 7-0 home record. Iowa has won 12 straight home games, which is a new Kinnick Stadium record. The Hawkeyes also extended their conference winning streak to nine games, which is also a stadium record. In addition, Iowa has won 20 of its last 22 games in Kinnick Stadium.

Iowa had four defensive players post double figures in tackles: SS Bob Sanders (16), LB Abdul Hodge (16), LB Howard Hodges (12) and LB Chad Greenway (10). Hodge's 16 tackles (9 solo) matches a career high.

He registered 16 tackles at Ohio State (10/18). In addition to his season-high 17 tackles (10 solo), Sanders forced a career high three fumbles, recovered one fumble and had one QB sack. Sanders currently leads the Big Ten in forced fumbles this year with six.

Iowa's senior class was responsible for 34 of the 40 points. WR Ramon Ochoa posted career highs in receptions (8) and receiving yards (92). He also caught a six-yard touchdown, his team-leading fifth touchdown reception of the year.

Minnesota Coach Glen Mason:

"So much for statistics. With those statistics, you wouldn't think the score would have been what it is, except for the final score and turnovers. That 5-1 in turnovers really hurts. Actually, it could have been worse if our defense hadn't held at some key times. We started off bad and gave ‘em good field position. After that it seemed we were our own worst enemy."

But face it, Iowa has a tremendous defense. Obviously, it's the best we've faced this year. Two of those fumbles (by quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq) were protection problems. Marion Barber started off great, and then he pulled a muscle. Not real bad, but enough so he couldn't go back in the game."

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz:

"We are very, very pleased with our team. Minnesota is an outstanding football team. When the bell rang, the guys really stepped up, which really says a lot about the character of our team. The seniors had great leadership, but they are not done yet. They did a great job today and they have really pulled together over the past four years.

"When Nate (Kaeding) knocked that field goal through, it gave us a great boost. It really ignited the crowd. We were a lot more active with Bob (Sanders) today. We know that if we send him something is going to happen."

"Turnovers were a factor, especially when we are getting points off of them. Today was very representative of how the team is now. We played well offensively, defensively and the special teams played like our special teams."

WR Ramon Ochoa:

"It was emotional for me every game this season in Kinnick Stadium. It was especially special today with my family being here and it being my last time out at home. It was nice to end up my career at home with a good performance."

OT Robert Gallery:

"You think this day will never come, and then you are finally here and it almost feels unbelievable. It will probably set in a little more tomorrow when I wake up and realize I will never be playing here again. It was a fun day and a great finish to my career at Kinnick, and I look forward to finishing up another great season."

DE Howard Hodges:

"Bob had all kinds of big play for us today. He had three forced fumbles and it seemed like every time we needed a boost on defense he stepped up. Then you had Jermelle who did a wonderful job, it seemed like every time he got the ball, it seemed like he was going to score. Every time we were on the sidelines trying to get some water and rest it seemed like we had already scored and we had to go back in, but when you have players like that good things are going to happen."

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