Iowa played its best overall game of the season on Saturday, beating Minnesota 52-28 in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate, and Iowa's seniors came up big on both sides of the ball.
Iowa led 45-7 until there was 11:29 remaining in the game. Minnesota's lone score to that point was an interception returned for a touchdown.
Minnesota came into the game as the nation's leading rushing team, averaging 295 yards per game. After three quarters, the Gophers had managed just 83 yards on the ground. Lawrence Maroney would leave the game for good after seven carries for 10 yards. But his backup, Gary Russell, is also a 1,000 yard rusher and their third string back ran for 206 yards last week against Michigan State.
The point; Iowa's front seven totally dominated the football game when the bullets were flying. This effort might be more impressive than holding Wisconsin to 31 rushing yards one week ago.
Senior Abdul Hodge had 12 tackles by halftime with 10 of them being solos. Chad Greenway had a nifty one handed interception on the day. Senior Jovon Johnson intercepted a pass to move to within one of Nile Kinnick and Devon Mitchell's school record of 18 for a career. Senior Ed Hinkel caught seven passes for 151 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Clinton Solomon threw a 26 yard touchdown pass on a reverse.
The home crowd chanted ‘ED-DIE!' after his final touchdown grab in the fourth quarter.
Iowa's offensive line paved the way for 613 total yards on the day; 377 through the air and 236 on the ground. Damien Sims (104) and Albert Young (103) both went over the 100-yard mark and Drew Tate threw for 351 yards and four scores.
Greenway and Hodge trotted off the field together holding hands, as did Antwan Allen and Jovon Johnson on a later play late in the game. The fans gave them a boisterous ovation.
The fifth year seniors committed to Iowa after the Hawkeyes were coming off of 1-10 and 3-9 seasons. They saw something in the Iowa coaching staff that many could not see.
Their efforts through the years have brought hundreds of thousands of Iowa fans so much joy and so many memories.
They showed great heart and character in winning these final two games after losing back to back games against Michigan and Northwestern, and all of the things they thought they would be playing for during the offseason had fallen by the wayside.
They say that character is revealed under the duress of adversity; these Hawks are prepared to succeed in the game of life.
Today's victory is Iowa's fifth-straight over Minnesota. The Hawkeyes also retained possession of Floyd of Rosedale. Iowa has scored 40 points or more against the Golden Gophers four of the last five meetings. The Hawkeyes have averaged 41.6 points per game the last five meetings.
The Hawkeyes have finished in the Big Ten upper division the last five years, including sharing two conference titles. The Hawkeyes will finish no lower than fifth place.
Iowa's senior class has amassed 38 wins over the last four years, a total that matches the 2001-04 Hawkeye teams for the most in school history over a four-year span. Additionally, the 2002-05 Hawkeye senior class has accumulated 25 conference victories, a total that equals Iowa's 1982-85 and 2001-04 squads for the most league wins over a four-year span.
WR Ed Hinkel posted career highs in receptions (7), receiving yards (151) and touchdowns (4). The four touchdown receptions are a Kinnick Stadium record and tie a school record previously set by Quinn Early vs. Northwestern (11/7/87). The four touchdowns surpasses the three scores posted by Erwin Prasse (10/7/39), Emlen Tunnel (10/11/47), Bill Happel (9/21/85) and Jim Mauro (9/13/86) in Kinnick Stadium.
Today marked only the second time in Hinkel's career that the he eclipsed 100 yards receiving. The senior caught five passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns at Illinois (10/30/05). Today marked the fourth game of his career that he scored two touchdowns or more in a game (at Michigan in 2004, at Illinois in 2004, vs. Illinois in 2005 and vs. Minnesota in 2005).
Iowa scored 52 points today, including 38 in the first half. Prior to today's game, the previous highest scoring output by a Minnesota opponent was 31 by Ohio State (9/24/05). The 80 combined points today is the most in a game played between Iowa and Minnesota since 91 points were scored in a 49-42 Iowa win at Minnesota on Nov. 19, 1994. The 52 points scored by Iowa are the second-most in the series. Iowa recorded 61 points in a 61-10 triumph in Iowa City on Oct. 19, 1983.
Today's sellout crowd of 70,585 is Iowa's 17th straight Kinnick Stadium sellout dating back to the 2003 season. The last Iowa game not a sellout was vs. Buffalo (9/6/03). Today was the 400th contest in Kinnick Stadium and the final game for the Iowa press box (1958-2005). Iowa established a new home attendance average (70,585) record this season, besting the previous mark of 70,397 set in 2004.
Today was the final home game for 24 Hawkeye seniors: DB Antwan Allen, TE C.J. Barkema, LB Bret Chinander, OL Ben Cronin, OL Brian Ferentz, DL Mike Follett, P John Gallery, OL Ben Gates, LB Chad Greenway, WR Ed Hinkel, LB Abdul Hodge, DB Jovon Johnson, LS Kyle Kesselring, WR Matt Melloy, QB Cy Phillips, DL Nate Roos, RB Marcus Schnoor, RB Adolphus Shelton, FB Kevin Sherlock, RB Marques Simmons, WR Clinton Solomon, OL David Walker, DB Richie Williams and FB Paul Wilson.
Running backs Albert Young and Damian Sims both rushed for over 100 yards, marking the first time two running backs ran for 100 yards or more in a single game since Fred Russell and Jermelle Lewis accomplished the feat in a 45-21 triumph at Minnesota (11/16/02). Young collected 103 yards and one touchdown on 21 attempts, while Sims recorded 104 yards and one score on eight carries today. The 104 yards is a career-high for Sims. Russell carried the ball 17 times for 194 yards and one touchdown, while Lewis rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts. Both Russell and Lewis also rushed over 100 yards vs. Akron in the 2002 season opener.
QB Drew Tate completed 19-32 passes for 351 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Tate completed three touchdowns at Purdue (2005), vs. Ohio State (2005) and vs. Wisconsin (2005). Today marked the second time this season (357 yards at Purdue) and the fifth time in his career that the junior topped 300 yards passing. The 351 yards passing ranks 15th most in a single game at Iowa. Today is the 34th time an Iowa QB has thrown for 300 yards or more. Tate was a perfect 7-7 for 130 yards on Iowa's first three touchdown drives.
Tate has 40 career touchdown passes, which ranks fourth on Iowa's all-time QB list. His is one touchdown pass from tying Matt Rodgers (41) for third. The junior ranks fifth in both career passing yards and total yards. The native of Baytown, TX, has thrown two touchdown passes or more in eight of 11 games this season. He has thrown two touchdown passes or more in 16 career games, including 13 of his last 16 games dating back to last year.
RB Albert Young carried the ball 26 times for 127 yards, increasing his season total to 1,300 yards. His rushing total ranks fourth best in a single season at Iowa. He surpassed 100 rushing yards for the seventh straight game and eighth time (Iowa State, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota) this season. Young has eight rushing touchdowns on the season and his career rushing total is now 1,392 yards.
Iowa's most recent 1,000-yard rusher was Fred Russell in 2003 (282-1,355 yards). Young is the 11th Iowa running back to surpass 1,000 yards and the fourth Iowa player to surpass 1,000 yards in a season as a sophomore. That was also accomplished by Tony Stewart in 1988, Sedrick Shaw in 1994 and Fred Russell in 2002.
Minnesota won the toss and elected to receive. The Hawkeyes have started on offense in 71 of their last 78 games. Iowa has started on offense in 73-of-84 contests under Kirk Ferentz. Iowa started on offense in eight of the 11 regular season contests this year. Purdue (10/8/05), Michigan (10/22/05) and Minnesota (11/19/05) are the only Hawkeye opponents to start on offense this season.
Iowa scored on its opening possession for the seventh time in 11 games. The Hawkeyes scored touchdowns on their first possession in games against Ball State, Northern Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan, Northwestern and Minnesota. WR Ed Hinkel caught a 46-yard touchdown reception on the sixth play of Iowa's opening drive. The 46-yard reception is the longest of Hinkel's career, besting his previous best of 43 yards set vs. Michigan State in 2004 and Purdue in 2005. The senior has recorded 15 touchdowns in his career (13 receiving, 1 rushing and 1 punt return).
Minnesota failed to score on its first possession. Only two Iowa opponents scored (both touchdowns) on their opening possession this season (Purdue and Ohio State).
Iowa out-scored Minnesota 14-0 in the first quarter and has outscored its opponents 119-30 in the first period this year. The Hawkeyes boasted a 91-0 advantage in its six home games this season.
RB Damian Sims scored Iowa's third touchdown in as many possessions on a career-long 71-yard run in the second quarter. Sims has posted Iowa's three longest runs of the season (71 vs. Minnesota, 66 vs. Illinois and 39 vs. Northern Iowa - all resulting in touchdowns).
Iowa scored the game's first 35 points and has scored 20-straight points or more the last two games. The Hawkeyes also tallied the final 20 points at Wisconsin. Iowa also scored 21-consecutive points vs. Northern Iowa (9/17/05).
WR Clinton Solomon threw his first career pass and completed the pass to WR Ed Hinkel for a 26-yard touchdown. The touchdown reception was the second of the game for Hinkel.
Iowa started the game completing its first eight passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Tate completed 7-7 for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while WR Clinton Solomon completed 1-1 for 26 yards and one score during the streak.
Iowa posted scoring drives of one, three, four, five, six (2), seven and 10 plays today. The Hawkeyes also racked-up a season-high 613 total yards offense today. The 613 yards are the most in a single game since Iowa amassed 602 yards vs. Northwestern on Nov. 10, 2001.
RB Albert Young scored his team-leading eighth touchdown on a five-yard run following a 16-yard interception return by senior LB Chad Greenway. The interception is the fourth theft of Greenway's career.
Iowa scored touchdowns on its first five offensive possessions, matching its five-possession touchdown scoring streak vs. Ball State (9/3/05). The Hawkeyes scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, fumbled on their third, and then posted five-consecutive touchdown drives against the Cardinals. Iowa scored touchdowns on its first six possessions of the first half and eight of its first nine vs. Buffalo (9/6/03).
Iowa improves to 15-8 in November games during Kirk Ferentz's tenure, including 11-2 since the 2002 season.
Iowa improves to 33-3 when leading at the half and 37-2 when leading after three periods the last four seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 30 of their last 33 contests in Kinnick Stadium, dating back to the end of the 2000 season. Iowa's three losses came against Iowa State (36-31 in 2002) and Michigan (32-26 in 2001 and 23-20 in overtime in 2005).
DB Jovon Johnson intercepted his third pass of the season and 17th of his career today. Johnson, who is the NCAA active career interception leader, is now only one theft from matching the school record established by Devon Mitchell (18) and Nile Kinnick (18).
PK Kyle Schlicher scored eight points today (1-1 FG, 7-7 PATs). The junior has amassed 27 points against the Golden Gophers the last two years. Schlicher kicked a school-record 17 points (5-5 FG, 2-2 PATs) last year at Minnesota. The native of Ankeny, IA, increased his career point total to 183. He ranks 10th on Iowa's career scoring list.
Minnesota returned an interception 60 yards in the second quarter, becoming the first Hawkeye opponent to return a pick since Iowa State returned a 28-yard theft on Sept. 9, 2005. Instant replay was used once, with a Minnesota interception being overruled to an incomplete pass by Iowa.
LB Chad Greenway, with 15 tackles (10 solo) today, gives his 407 career stops. He ranks fifth on Iowa's career tackle list. Greenway has posted double digit tackles 25 times in his career, including 10 times this year.
LB Abdul Hodge had a game-high 19 tackles (13 solo) today to raise his career total to 434. He ranks fourth on Iowa's career tackle chart, one tackle behind Brad Quast (435) for third. Hodge has recorded double digit tackles 21 times in his career and seven times in 2005.