Hawks Hold Off Minnesota in 21-16 Win

If you take the last two quarters of Iowa's win against Northwestern and the first two quarters of their win against Minnesota, you could say that the Hawks put four good quarters together for the first time since the Syracuse game. But football doesn't work that way, and as it turned out, a young Iowa offense got another lesson on Saturday. Thankfully it wasn't a lesson that wound up in a loss.

Iowa's 21 first half points and some stingy defense were enough to beat Minnesota 21-16 on Saturday and bring Floyd of Rosedale back to Iowa City.

Iowa put up 228 yards in the first half, but less than second in the second half.

Jake Christensen was 9 of 13 in the first half, 5 of 12 in the second half.

Iowa had three or four dropped passes on the day, three or four bad throws, three or four missed receivers (two that were significant), a few bad reads and four or five offensive linemen that got blown up in one on one situations.

Iowa's kicking game saw a drop off today as well.

It was a collectively ugly effort in the second half, to be sure.

But years from now, the score will read 21-16, a win for Iowa, and a game that moved them one step closer to a bowl bid in a season where the Hawks had been left for dead when they were 2-4 leaving Happy Valley.

It was also another growing experience for the offense. In the previous two weeks, they learned that they could come from behind to win games, as long as they stayed with the plan. This week, they will get instruction by the coaching staff on the importance of finishing, and taking intensity and focus to the field for four quarters.

The fact that Iowa failed to crack the 300 yard barrier against the worst defense in the nation is an indication that the offense has hardly arrived. They have not.

The Iowa defense turned in another great performance on the day, as Minnesota's strength is on offense. The Gophers managed 315 yards of offense, with 96 of those yards coming on their last drive when they were in a desperate situation and throwing the ball on each down. The drive was 15 plays and ate up 6:44 on the clock.

Bradley Fletcher recorded his second interception in as many games and Bret Greenwood continues to improve. Senior cornerback Charles Godfrey also turned in a strong performance.

Still, it came down to an onside kick with a minute and a half left in the game and James Cleveland fell on the ball to preserve the win.

Iowa moves to 6-5 with the win and will finish with a 4-4 record in the Big Ten. A win next week against Western Michigan will get Iowa to the 7-5 mark, which should be good enough to send Iowa to its seventh consecutive bowl game.


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