Weber, Seniors Sent Out in Style

MINNEAPOLIS -- On Saturday, the Gophers played up to their potential, beating rival Iowa to take Floyd of Rosedale back from the Hawkeyes. Minnesota looked like the team they could have been all season, overpowering Iowa on Senior Day. The three stars of the game reflect an entire team effort in the Gophers' first win over Iowa since 2006.

The first star of the game was senior quarterback Adam Weber. Weber did not have an amazing game statistically but was the leader on the field for the Gophers. He ended the day with 13 completions on 25 attempts for 164 yards. Weber was quite the distributor on Saturday, finding eight different receivers during the game.

Weber also had 23 yards on the ground including a 13-yard scamper on third-and-12 that kept the drive alive in the second quarter where the Gophers went on to kick a key field goal. Weber's drive and leadership kept the team calm and in the game. Weber had to wait his entire career before finally taking home a trophy in a rivalry game was euphoric afterwards.

At the post-game press conference he said, "You only can dream and imagine things like that. I've seen it before. I've seen it on TV, but to finally be a part of it is really something special. I'm still kind of floating right now."

The second star of the game was the Gophers' entire defense. Throughout this season, the Gophers have been very inconsistent on defense. Statistically one of the worst defenses in the conference, Minnesota came to play on Saturday evening.

Against a very solid Hawkeye team, Minnesota only gave up 91 yards on the ground and 127 yards passing for 218 for the game. Part of the reason for the dominance was the ability of the defense to get into the backfield and make plays. Defensive tackle Jewhan Edwards had four tackles including a sack and two tackles for a loss. Ryan Collado had three tackles and also had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Collado explained that defense played well because all 11 players were trying to get to the ball carrier. "That's one thing the coaches always preach is pursuit. If they make one guy miss, we need pursuit. 11 guys to the football, that's what they preach everyday and it paid off today," said Collado.

Turnovers also played a big part for the Gophers. Troy Stoudermire had two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in the game. The second fumble, which was recovered by Collado, was one of the most important plays of the game. Iowa had just gotten the ball with 4:31 left in the game and the Gophers up by three.

Stoudermire said of the fumble, "Oh man, I was already down the field celebrating. I saw him [Ryan Collado] jump on the ball. I just started celebrating because I knew we had it." The Gophers' entire defense stifled the Hawkeyes and gave the Gophers the win on Saturday. The last star of the game was the Gophers' offensive line. Heading into the game, Iowa's defense had given up an average of just 93.3 yards per game on the ground. Saturday was a different story with the Gophers racking up 216 rushing yards, the most given up by the Hawkeyes all season.

DeLeon Eskridge had 95 yards and a touchdown, Duane Bennett had 63 yards and a score and MarQueis Gray had 39 yards and another touchdown. The Gophers' offensive line opened up massive holes for Minnesota's runners allowing for big gains throughout the game.

Adam Weber said of the Gophers' rushing attack, "It was great; an unbelievable running game this week. I think Iowa prides themselves is containing the passing game and not allowing teams to run on them. I believe we went far beyond what their averaging a game. Anytime run you can run the ball with success like we were today, that directly correlates to this win; so that was great."

Not only was the run blocking great, but the offensive line also dominated in pass protection as well. On most dropbacks, Weber had plenty of time to look down field and get a pass away without much pressure. The great defensive line of Iowa had only one sack on the night due to great blocking the by Gophers' big men up front. The rushing success and pass blocking by the offensive line led to Minnesota being able to dominate the stingy Iowa defense.

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