It seems that each and every week, this Iowa football team finds a new way to overcome adversity the likes of which has not been seen in major college football, and comes out on top.
Already down to it's fifth string running back, Sam Brownlee goes down with an ankle injury early in the football game. That meant that Iowa was down to its last tailback remaining on the team in true freshman Damien Sims.
But as it has had to do during the entire Big Ten season, the Hawkeyes went to the air early and often.
Drew Tate was 24 of 39 for 333 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions. Iowa did not turn the ball over in this ballgame, while the Hawkeye defense forced four turnovers against a Minnesota team that had coughed it up just six times all season.
Clinton Solomon was Tate's favorite target, finding him nine times for 157 yards, including a well-executed wide receiver screen play in the first quarter.
Solomon was lined out wide left, and Tate hit him quick; Ben Gates through a good block on the cornerback and Mike Jones came out and impeded the safety. 41-yards later, Solomon was in the endzone.
Tate also hooked up with James Townsend for a 60-yard touchdown play in the first half on a drive that immediately followed Minnesota running back Lawrence Maroney's 79-yard touchdown run.
Iowa managed just six yards rushing on the day, compared to 337 rushing yards for Minnesota. Iowa entered the game allowing fewer than 70 rushing yards per game.
When your opponent outgain's you by more than 330-yards on the ground, you will lose the football game nine times out of 10.
Today was the lone exception.
Another huge story on this day was Kyle Schlicher's five field goals, which broke a school record. His most important came in the fourth quarter, when he drilled a 49-yarder to put Iowa up by nine.
After the Iowa offense was unable to save the day this week, the Gophers lined up for a 51-yard field goal attempt with :32 seconds to play. There was a bad snap on the play, and the field goal was wide left.
One of the plays of the game came two plays before the missed field goal. Minnesota had momentum and the ball at the Iowa 32 in a 2nd and nine situation. Chad Greenway shot a gap and dropped the Minnesota ball carrier for a four a four yard loss, making the eventual field goal attempt all the more difficult.
The game was still not over, as Minnesota had three timeouts and used them all as Iowa was in a third and three with :17 seconds to go and the Hawkeyes looking at a punting situation if they could not convert on third down.
For the third time this season, Tate drew the opponent offsides with a hard count in a crucial situation, and the game was over.
With the win, Iowa all but guaranteed a return trip to a New Year's Day bowl game regardless of what the other teams in the Big Ten do the rest of the way.
Iowa moved moved to 8-2 overall and 6-1 in league play.
The Hawkeyes are now 19-4 in league play over the last three seasons combined.
QUOTE TO NOTE: In the post game, Gary Dolphin said they noticed some droppings on the Iowa sideline, and asked Kirk Ferentz if those came from Floyd. "I am not sure if those came from Floyd or me, we'll have to check on that."
ESPN's Gameday crew will likely broadcast from Iowa City next week in the highly anticipated Iowa-Wisconsin season finale that may have Big Ten and National Championship implications, depending on how Wisconsin fares against Michigan State today.
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