Game Preview: Iowa vs Minnesota

Minnesota has lost eight of the last nine meetings against Iowa and has been shut out the last two (55-0 in the final game in the Metrodome in 2008 and 12-0 in Iowa City last season.

GAME SNAPSHOT

KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET

GAMEDATE: 11/27/10

SITE: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.

SURFACE: FieldTurf

TV: Big Ten Network

SERIES: Minnesota leads 59-42-2 (last meeting, 2009, Iowa 12-0)

RECORDS: Iowa 7-4, 4-3; Minnestoa 2-9, 1-6

POLLS: Iowa (24 AP, 24 USA Today)

PREDICTION: Iowa 31-20

KEYS TO THE GAME:

-- For Iowa: Take advantage of Minnesota's porous defense. The Hawkeyes' struggling offense should get well against the Gophers, who are allowing 33.8 ppg. Defending Gophers QB Adam Weber is the key on defense as the four-year starter has thrown for 10,753 yards.

-- For Minnesota: Continue to put up points. The defense needs to take advantage of Iowa's inconsistent offense. The Gophers could use some big plays on special teams from KR Troy Stoudermire.

FAST FACTS:

Hawkeyes: With Floyd of Rosedale at stake, Iowa is playing its third "trophy" game this season. The Hawkeyes beat Iowa State for the Cy-Hawk Trophy and lost to Wisconsin in the battle for the Heartland Trophy. Floyd of Rosdale dates back to 1935 and is a bronze pig. ... QB Ricky Stanzi is one of five finalists for the Unitas Award, which is annually rewarded to the nation's top senior quarterback.

Stanzi ranks sixth in the nation in passing efficiency. ... Ryan Donahue is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award. He is the first Iowa punter to be a finalist for the award. Donahue is averaging 44.3 ypp. ... Iowa is second in the nation in turnover margin at plus-1.27 per game. ... Iowa has lost only seven turnovers all season and only three in seven Big Ten games. ... WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos ranks first in Iowa career receiving yards (2,582) and receptions (170) and is tied for third in touchdowns (16).

Gophers: Minnesota has lost eight of the last nine meetings against Iowa and has been shut out the last two (55-0 in the final game in the Metrodome in 2008 and 12-0 in Iowa City last season. ... Minnesota ended its nine-game losing streak in its last outing by beating Illinois two weeks ago. The Gophers avoided tying a school record for consecutive losses in a season. The record of 10 was set in 2007, the first season under former head coach Tim Brewster, who was fired in October.

The Gophers have allowed only 1.5 sacks per game, 35th nationally in the category. That's a big improvement over last year, when they gave up 3.15 per game (113th nationally). ... TB Donnell Kirkwood's season is over, and he will get a redshirt year. The freshman, who has had hamstring and calf injuries, played in four games and gained 112 yards on 27 carries. ... CB Michael Carter and DT Ra'Shede Hageman are suspended for the remainder of the season to concentrate on academics.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Hawkeyes:
RB Marcus Coker -- Coker will see a lot of the football with Adam Robinson sidelined. Coker had 129 yards rushing against Indiana in his lone start of the season and impressed last Saturday with 70 yards on nine carries against Ohio State.

DE Christian Ballard -- Ballard had a big performance against Minnesota a year ago with nine tackles. He had 2.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks.

DE Broderick Binns -- Binns has 24 tackles and an interception this season and would like to have a happy homecoming against Minnesota. He's a native of St. Paul.

Gophers:
QB Adam Weber -- The senior is playing the final game of a standout career in a Gophers uniform. Weber became the fifth Big Ten quarterback to pass for 10,000 career yards earlier this season. He has played well despite all the problems around him, completing 56 percent of his passes while throwing for 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

CB/KR Troy Stoudermire -- He has been a hit since returning from his early-season suspension and moving from wide receiver to defense. Stoudermire is seventh on the team in tackles with 33 and picked up his first career interception to seal the Illinois win. His 90-yard kickoff return with the Gophers down by 10 in the fourth quarter may have been the biggest play of the game.

S Kyle Theret -- Theret is another senior who will be playing his last game. Despite being suspended for the first two games, he's second on the team with 68 tackles. Theret also has one interception, a forced fumble and two tackles for a loss of yardage. He's been a mainstay of a defense that has struggled all season.

INJURY WATCH:

Hawkeyes:
RB Adam Robinson (concussion, out), LB Jeff Tarpinian (stinger, out), G Adam Gettis (ankle, questionable)

Gophers:
OG Matt Carufel (knee, questionable)


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