"We knew we needed to win the game," said defensive back Kyle Henderson, who forced a key fumble in the third quarter. "We kept saying it was on us, it was on us."
The Gophers, who were outscored 144-31 in their previous three games, showed some character in defeating the Hawkeyes for the second straight season. MarQueis Gray's three-yard touchdown with 2:48 to play put Minnesota ahead for good. It also gave the Gophers their first lead against a Big Ten team this season.
It's been a tough few months for first-year head coach Jerry Kill, who has suffered two seizures this season. The win was Minnesota's first since defeating Miami (Ohio), 29-23, on Sept. 17.
"I am happy for our kids," said Kill, who recorded his first Big Ten victory. "It is great to see them smile and have a good time."
The win also means the Gophers will retain Floyd of Rosedale, the bronze pig trophy that is awarded to the winner of the annual game between Minnesota and Iowa. No one will confuse Floyd with the hardware that will go out to the winner of the Big Ten title game in December, but it still means something to the current players as the program moves forward.
"We needed to give the younger guys the feeling of tradition," said defensive lineman Brandon Kirksey, whose fumble recovery and return set up a score. "They need to find the meaning of tradition and with winning Floyd this gave them that feeling."
"It feels great to keep Floyd here again especially it being my senior season," Bennett said. "It's great to go out with a bang."
--Minnesota came up with only one turnover against Iowa, but it happened at a crucial time. The Gophers were trailing 14-7 late in the third quarter when the Hawkeyes drove to Minnesota 14-yard line. On a third-and- four play, defensive back Kyle Henderson sacked quarterback James Vandenberg, who fumbled. Defensive tackle Brandon Kirksey recovered and returned the ball to Minnesota's 49, which set up a field goal.
It was the first turnover forced by the Gophers since cornerback Troy Stoudermire intercepted a pass against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 17.
--The 7-7 halftime score marked the first time Minnesota has been tied or led at intermission against a Big Ten opponent this season. The Gophers last led at halftime against a conference team when they were up 20-17 at halftime versus Iowa in last season's final game.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Devin Crawford-Tufts -- The true freshman made the most of his two catches against Iowa. His first catch was for a 61-yard gain in the second quarter. Crawford-Tufts added a 39-yard reception in the third quarter for his first career 100-yard receiving game.
LOOKING GOOD: Coach Jerry Kill had one up his sleeve against Iowa and it played a big role in the victory. After Duane Bennett's touchdown run pulled the Gophers within 21-16 with 8:22 remaining, Kill gambled with an onside kick and won. Jordan Wettstein's kick bounced high in the air and it was recovered by safety Kim Royston at Minnesota's 41-yard line. The Gophers drove 59 yards on 12 plays and quarterback MarQueis Gray's three-yard touchdown run with 2:48 to play put Minnesota ahead for good.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Iowa running back Marcus Coker shredded Minnesota's defense for 252 yards on 32 carries. Coker rushed for two touchdowns and had a long run of 50 yards. The Gophers managed to win the game despite allowing 446 yards total yards. The defensive line must do a better job controlling the line of scrimmage, especially with games against Michigan State and Wisconsin in the next two weeks.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If it doesn't work, a lot of people would be questioning what the heck we were doing, but sometimes you have to roll the dice." -- Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, on his decision to call for an onside kick in the fourth quarter. The Gophers recovered and drove for the winning touchdown.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--S Kim Royston continues to have an outstanding senior season. He had a career-high 16 tackles against Iowa, the most by a Minnesota player since he recorded 15 tackles versus Iowa State in the 2009 Insight Bowl. Royston also recovered an onside kick in the fourth quarter, which led to Minnesota's game-winning scoring drive.
--K Jordan Wettstein made his first career start in place of the injured Chris Hawthorne. Wettstein, a junior walk-on, converted his only field goal attempt, a 28-yarder in the third quarter, and also made his only extra point try. He was successful on an onside kick attempt in the fourth quarter that led to Minnesota's winning touchdown.
--QB MarQueis Gray had an efficient, mistake-free game against Iowa. He completed 11-of-17 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. Gray also ran the ball 10 times for 52 yards, including the winning three-yard TD run with 2:48 remaining in the game. He completed a career-long, 61-yard pass to Devin Crawford-Tufts in the second quarter.
--RB Duane Bennett had his best game of the season against Iowa. The senior ran for 101 yards on 20 carries and scored his third touchdown of the season. It was Bennett's first 100-yard rushing effort since gaining 104 yards against South Dakota last season.
--P Dan Orseske had a career-long 68-yard kick in the first quarter, topping his previous best of 64 yards against New Mexico State earlier this season. He averaged 42.6 yards on five punts against Minnesota.
--WR/KR Marcus Jones didn't play against Iowa because of a knee injury, which occurred in practice during the week. The freshman, who returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown against Purdue, ranks third in the Big Ten in kick returns, averaging 28.5 yards. Jones also has caught nine passes for a 15.8 yard average.
--CB/KR Troy Stoudermire has missed the last four games because of a fractured left wrist.
--LG Tommy Olson started against Iowa, but left the game with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by Caleb Bok, who saw his first action of the season.
--RB Devon Wright has missed the last three games because of a hamstring injury.
--LB Brendan Beal didn't play against Iowa because of a knee injury.
--DE Harold Legania has missed the last three games because of a foot injury.
--OT Jimmy Gjere has missed the last four games because of a concussion.
--DE Leston Simpson has missed the last three games because of a head injury.
--OL Josh Campion is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a concussion.