Football goals come up short

The Gophers obviously failed to win in Iowa, but they came up short on another goal. Now they have two weeks to think about their mistakes, then start getting ready for a bowl game.

The Gophers were hoping to accomplish a couple of milestones in their regular-season finale at Iowa.

They wanted to close the season with a win and become the first 10-win team in the history of the school.

They also wanted to see freshman RB Laurence Maroney go over the 1,000-yard mark. If he had been able to do that, the Gophers would have been the first team in NCAA history to with five 1,000-yard rushers on their active roster.

Minnesota was not able to accomplish either of these goals.

Iowa took advantage of numerous opportunities and rolled past the Gophers 40-22.

A look at the stat sheet shows that the Gophers appeared to dominate. They outgained Iowa 563-344, and QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq returned from a left-shoulder injury to complete 28-of-46 passes for 388 yards.

But that same stat sheet shows the Gophers turned the ball over five times — four lost fumbles and one interception — and that kept Minnesota from winning its 10th game of the year.

Abdul-Khaliq may have thrown the ball well, but he also fumbled three times. As a result, the Gophers were unable to dominate with their normally overpowering ground game.

Maroney also fumbled in the first half as he was just about to go into the end zone for a short touchdown run. As he dove across the goal line, the ball popped loose and the Hawkeyes recovered for a touchback.

The loss will leave a bad taste in the Gophers' mouths for several weeks. It also means that they will miss out on a New Year's Day Bowl game once again. Stay tuned to find out where Glen Mason's team will be headed.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq — Although his mistakes helped give Iowa the game, Abdul-Khaliq came back from a left shoulder injury to throw for 388 yards. The Gophers have a powerful and balanced attack and that is due in large part to the quarterback's ability to keep opposing defenses honest.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON: RB Laurence Maroney — His fumble in the first half cost the Gophers a touchdown, but the still ran for 69 yards. The freshman has 990 yards for the season and he will surely go over the 1,000-yard mark in Minnesota's bowl game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had a good season. I told those kids to hold their head high. I want them to hold their head high. We didn't play well today. We made some mistakes, but we're a good football team." — Minnesota head coach Glen Mason after the 40-22 loss to Iowa.

LOOKING GOOD: The Gophers have plenty of time to rest and recover from their mistake-filled effort in their season-ending loss at Iowa. This is one of the best offensive teams in the country and if they can get back on track while they wait for an opponent in a yet to be determined bowl game, Minnesota could still end up with 10 wins.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Minnesota could not make the most of its opportunities. Despite gaining 563 yards and holding on to the football for 35:34, they turned the ball over five times against Iowa and lost by 18 points. Minnesota scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes that that made the final score closer than the game was.

INJURY IMPACT: QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq came back from a shoulder injury to throw for 388 yards. .... RB Marion Barber went out of the game in the first quarter with a groin injury.

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