Iowa-Minnesota Preview

Minnesota brings their power running attack into Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for the annual battle for Floyd of Rosedale. It's the 99th meeting between the two rivals, and though Floyd has not been around that long, he has been around for quite some time. He has been munching on Iowa corn the last four years and is looking healthier than ever. Will he remain within the boundaries of the Hawkeye State, or will the invaders from the north be able to smuggle him out of Kinnick Stadium?

If you live in Des Moines and do not have tickets for the game, be sure to stop by Tonic Bar, just west of I-35 and the Super Target off of Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines. HawkeyeNation.com's Jon Miller will be there, and there will be free Happy Joe's pizza for all at half time.

TIME & PLACE – 11:03 a.m. (CST), Saturday, Kinnick Stadium (70,585), Iowa City, IA.

TELEVISION – ESPN2 will televise the game to a national cable audience. Announcers are Pam Ward, David Norrie and sideline reporter Jimmy Dykes.

THE SERIES – This is the 99th meeting between the two schools in football. Minnesota leads the all-time series 58-38-2. Minnesota won the first 12 games in a series that began in 1891. The Hawkeyes have won the last four and nine of the last 12 in the series. Iowa won last year's game (29-27) in Minneapolis. Iowa has won six of the last seven games against Minnesota in Iowa City. The last Gopher win in Iowa City came in 1999 (25-21). Iowa leads the all-time series in Iowa City, 24-23-1.

MINNESOTA'S LAST GAME: Minnesota eclipsed 300 rushing yards for the seventh time this season with 327 yards on 63 rushing attempts. The Golden Gophers snapped a two-game losing streak to Michigan State and won their seventh game of the season, 41-18 over the Spartans in the H.H.H. Metrodome. The 41 points are the most the Golden Gophers have ever scored against Michigan State. Minnesota was led by Amir Pinnix, who had a career-high 206 yards on 32 carries. Gary Russell collected 177 all-purpose yards, including 85 rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Minnesota QB Bryan Cupito completed 8-13 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. The Golden Gophers scored six touchdowns on only eight offensive possessions. Minnesota converted 14-of-17 third downs and had three drives kill six minutes or more off the clock. The Golden Gophers maintained possession for 36:24, compared to the Spartans' 23:36.

FINAL NOTES FROM WISCONSIN:

• The win was Iowa's first road win over a ranked opponent since the Hawkeyes scored a 27-21 win in Madison (Nov. 22, 2003). This win also marks the first time Iowa has won a game after trailing at halftime, since that 2003 win at Wisconsin.
• Iowa's 14 third-quarter points equaled its highest scoring output in the third period this season. Iowa also tallied 14 third-quarter points in a win over Illinois (Oct. 1). Iowa had not scored a second half touchdown in its previous two contests.
• RB Albert Young increased his season rushing totals to 215 attempts and 1,197 yards. His rushing total ranks sixth best in a single season at Iowa. He surpassed 100 rushing yards for the sixth straight game and the seventh time (Iowa State, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin) this season.
• LB Chad Greenway amassed a game-high 12 tackles to increase season total to 132, which matches his season total from 13 games in 2003.
• Iowa's lost fumble in the final period marked only the second time this season Iowa failed to score points after reaching the red zone. The previous non-score came vs. Northern Iowa (Sept. 17) when the Hawkeyes failed to score on four plays late in the 45-21 victory.
• PK Kyle Schlicher scored eight points (2 FGs, 2 PATs) to increase his career point total to 173. Schlicher moved into 10th place on Iowa's career scoring chart.

IOWA VS MINNESOTA NOTES

• Saturday's game will feature two of the nation's most prolific running backs. Minnesota's Laurence Maroney ranks third nationally (149.4) in rushing yards per game, while Iowa's Albert Young ranks fifth (119.7). Maroney also ranks fifth in the nation in all-purpose yardage (177.67), while Young ranks 10th (161.1).
• Iowa QB Drew Tate is only 46 yards from reaching 5,000 career total yards and 28 passing yards from reaching 5,000 career passing yards.
• Minnesota boasts the nation's top rushing offense (295.0), while Iowa's rushing defense ranks 28th nationally.
• Minnesota offensive linemen Greg Eslinger and Mark Setterstrom have started 48 consecutive games, which ties for the longest active streak in the nation. • PK Kyle Schlicher established an Iowa single-game record for field goals (5) and kicking points (17) in Iowa's 29-27 triumph at Minnesota last season, making all five field goal attempts and both PAT attempts. The five field goals also matched a Big Ten record.
• Starting fullback Tom Busch is the only player on the Iowa roster from the state of Minnesota. Freshman Chris Mensen (Solon) is the only Iowan on the Golden Gopher roster.

FACTS & FIGURES

SENIOR SUCCESS: Iowa has won 37 games over the last four years, a total that ties the 1984-87 teams as the second-most wins over any four-year span in Hawkeye history. The record of 38 was set from 2001-04. Additionally, Iowa has won 24 conference games over the last four years, a total that ties Iowa's 1983-86 teams for the third-most over any four year span. Iowa's 1982-85 and 2001-04 squads collected 25. Should Iowa defeat Minnesota on Saturday and win its bowl game, this group of seniors would have the most wins over a four year span in school history.

Jovon Johnson leads the Big Ten in punt return average and is fourth in the nation. Chad Greenway leads the Big Ten in tackles per game and is 3rd in the nation, while Abdul Hodge is third in the Big Ten in tackles and 12th in the nation. Greenway needs eight tackles to top the 400 tackle mark on his career. Hodge has 415. Albert Young is the 5th leading rusher in the nation and 10th in the nation in all purpose yards per game.

Iowa leads the Big Ten in kickoff coverage, Red Zone Offense and Red Zone Defense. They are third in the league against the run and third in points allowed per game.

Fifty-one of Iowa's opponents' 127 offensive drives have started inside the 20-yard line (40.2%).
Iowa has scored 31 points off of turnovers it has created while its opponents have scored 40 points on Iowa turnovers.
Captains this week are Chad Greenway, Abdul Hodge, Ed Hinkel and Brian Ferentz. They were also the captains for the season opening game.
Iowa's depth chart includes 16 seniors, 15 juniors, nine sophomores, seven redshirt freshmen and five true freshmen. These numbers do not include return specialists.

JON MILLER'S PREDICTION: Of Iowa's final three game, I felt that the Minnesota game would be the biggest challenge, and I still do. Their offensive line is as good as it gets, just as efficient as Iowa's line it 2002. This truly will be a game where you hope to contain their rushing offense, because you will not stop it outright. Iowa's front seven, a group that has played outstanding football over the course of the last several weeks, will be called on to be fundamentally sound. Sure tackling in the secondary will be a must, as the safeties and corners are going to have to do some hitting on the day. Holding Minnesota to field goals will be of utmost importance.

Iowa's offense will need to be the aggressor; yes, you want to establish the ground game, but the defense will need the offense to help them out when they fall short. That means Iowa needs to exact some punishment where Minnesota has been weakest, and that is against the pass; they are 78th in the nation in that category. Iowa has the players to exploit that weakness.

When the smoke has cleared, I expect the Iowa seniors to walk off of the Kinnick Stadium turf victorious, something they have done all but two times during their Hawkeye careers. Floyd feeds on Iowa corn for another year. Iowa 27, Minnesota 21.


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories