Jeffrey Becker - USA Today Images

#5 Iowa runs away from Minnesota late to seal the victory, 40-35

Minnesota can't get a stop late and fall to the #5 Iowa Hawkeyes on the road, 40-35.

The game in a nutshell: The Gopher offense got on track totaling over 430 yards and putting 35 points on the board against an Iowa team that was averaging over 25 points and 330 yards a game, but Minnesota's defense surrendered 500+ yards for the first time since 2011 against Nebraska and couldn't get any stops when it mattered most. 

Iowa offensive line gave the Minnesota front seven fits all game with both starting defensive tackles out in Steven Richardson and Scott Ekpe. Iowa running back Leshun Daniels rushed for 195 yards and three scores on 23 carries, with his last run being a killer for the Gophers as he went untouched for 51 yards to put Minnesota away.

Minnesota's offense did all they could to keep pace as offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover used creative play calls to give the Gophers scoring chances all night. Quarterback Mitch Leidner completed over 70% of his passes for 259 yards and a touchdown through the air, while rushing for 32 yards and a score on the ground. Shannon Brooks averaged over six yards a carry on 14 carries, for a rushing score, plus threw one to Drew Wolitarsky as well. 

It was over when: Iowa took over with 5:32 remaining in the fourth quarter and drove 75 yards in eight plays, capped off by an Leshun Daniels 51-yard touchdown. The Daniels run made is 40-28, an very tough deficit for Gopher team down 12. Minnesota then went 75 yards on six plays in less than a minute to make it a one score game, but the onside kick didn't bounce the Gophers way and Minnesota was handed their fourth straight loss.


  • 301 - passing yards the Gophers put up
  • 10-15 - Iowa's third down conversion rate of 66%
  • 18 - more plays that Iowa ran than Minnesota
  • 12 - number of penalities that Minnesota committed
  • 4 - number of penalities that Iowa committed
  • 7.6 - Minnesota's average yards per play
  • 6.7 - Iowa's average yards per play
  • 106 - number of yards wide receiver KJ Maye had on seven catches
  • 105 - number of yeards tight end Brandon Lingen had on six catches

Offensive player of the game: Junior quarterback Mitch Leidner threw for 259 yards on a 70% competition percentage and one passing touchdown, plus 32 yards and a score on the ground. Leidner in his last three games, which have been against top 15 opponents, Leidner is completing 59% of his passes for 854 yards, with a TD to INT ratio of 4:1.

Defensive player of the game: Tough to name a defensive player of the game any time you give up over 500 yards of total offense and 40 points, so I'll go with two guys I thought played reasonably well. Safety Antonio Johnson led the Gophers with 14 total tackles and sophomore defensive lineman Gaelin Elmore had three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack on limited snaps. Hoping to see more of Elmore in the rotation the last two weeks. 

Key stats: Minnesota entered the game giving up 155 yards and 1.33 TD's per game on the ground and the Hawkeyes had a field day rushing for over 272 yards and 5 (!!) rushing touchdowns. 

What's next: Minnesota comes home for the final two weeks of the Big Ten season and will take on a 5-5 Illinois team looking to qualify for a bowl game. The Gophers vs. Illini kick off at 11 AM CST on ESPNNEWS.

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