Steven Richardson is still good
Just so we're all clear, Minnesota defensive tackle Steven Richardson is still pretty dang good. He's lined up as a one technique here, and he crosses the center's face and absolutely lays a smack down on the Iowa running back. Richardson was constantly getting penetration all day against Iowa.
Desmond King almost houses it
Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner got away with one here. He takes the snap and Iowa defensive back Desmond King reads his eyes and almost takes this pass 15 yards on other way for the score. Not sure why throwing at Desmond King was the first read here, but Minnesota got away with one here.
Deflection is almost picked
Minnesota in third and manageable early in the first quarter, and the Gophers just narrowly avoid another turnover. You'll see Leidner's eyeing Drew Wolitarsky at the bottom of the screen and Wolitarsky is actually open as the defensive backs continue on their back pedal, but pressure up the gut causes Leidner to look elsewhere and he tries to force one to Tyler Johnson that isn't there.
Smith has it punched out
Minnesota finally started to run the ball, which means they were having success as Smith had 13 yards on two carries previous to this, and then Smith picks up five yards and then has the ball stripped going through the hole here and unfortunately the Hawkeyes recover, stalling any momentum Minnesota was building.
Hardin makes a triumphant return
KiAnte Hardin sure knows how to make his presence known coming off suspension. Iowa's first play off the turnover is a shot downfield right at Hardin and he channels his inner Briean Boddy-Calhoun to tip the ball to himself and return the ball 31 yards. Great to see Hardin playing at a high level coming off a long layoff.
Gophers have to shed blockers
Iowa is able to get "a hat on a hat" and Minnesota's defenders don't shed their blocks and the Hawkeyes nearly are able to score. Jack Lynn and Nick Rallis run right into two offensive linemen, Antoine Winfield doesn't get a great read on where the ball carrier is and takes a poor route, Damarius Travis flows outside and Jalen Myrick doesn't know where the ball is, so Jonathan Celestin has to come and make the play from all the way across the defense. Credit to Celestin for his pursuit here as it saves a touchdown.
First quarter score: Minnesota 0, Iowa 0
Travis saves the touchdown
Damarius Travis is in man coverage with Iowa wide receiver Riley McCarron and closes on the ball just in time for the break up. He times is perfectly and is able to deflect the ball away to force Iowa to kick the field goal.
No where to throw the ball
Minnesota decides to pass on first down again and Leidner has no where to throw the ball too. Minnesota runs a bunch of short routes and Iowa is ready for it. You can see Mitch's head turn from his first, to second, to third option before getting sacked.
The Gophers passed on first down three times in the first half, and all three times ended in Minnesota going three and out.
Myrick swats it away
After another three and out from the Minnesota offense forces the Gopher defense back onto the field and Jalen Myrick may have gotten away with a pass interference as he arrives a tad early, but is able to bat the ball away from Fant with his left arm for the pass break up.
Running the ball sets up play action
Minnesota runs the ball on the first five plays of this drive, which helps setup the play action here. Rolling to his right, he's able to make a throw on the money to Drew Wolitarsky to for the first down. One of the few throws that Minnesota's offense was able to complete down the field.
This one hurts
I remember watching this one from the press box and thinking, "This is going to come back to haunt Minnesota."
The Gophers offensive line gives Leidner plenty of time and Wolitarsky burns the Iowa defensive back on the out and up and Mitch just under-throws Wolitarsky and the Iowa is able to break up the pass. If Leidner leads Wolitarsky here, it's a sure-fire touchdown and Minnesota takes the lead.
You can see that Wolitarsky is visibly frustrated after that play, and for good reason.
Leidner forces it for an interception
Iowa has two safeties way deep here to make sure the play stays in front of them, and as the Hawkeyes did all game, they schemed to take away Drew Wolitarsky, and Minnesota didn't adjust.
Not sure where Leidner was trying to fit the ball here as the defensive back was all over Wolitarsky and he had safety help over the top. Brian Smith looks to be potentially the only one up at the bottom of your screen here, but this is a throw that Leidner can't afford to make nearing field goal territory and it results in an interception.
Minnesota's lucky to head into the half here only down three points.