Little Adjustments Carrying Iowa

The Gophers may have to make major adjustments to find a Big Ten win this season, but it took only modest modifications for Iowa to turn around a previously dismal season.

Minor tweaks, not major overhauls, carried Iowa to consecutive second-half comebacks against Michigan State and Northwestern.

"Sometimes the adjustments that we make aren't any more than just a slight move one way or another," offensive tackle Seth Olsen told the Des Moines Register. "It's usually nothing real big that people up in the stands are going to see."

The Hawkeyes gained 248 of their 369 yards and scored 21 of their 28 points in the second half in last week's 28-17 victory against the Wildcats. Quarterback Jake Christensen, who completed 12 of 19 passes for 203 yards during the final 30 minutes, said he didn't make any dramatic changes after a poor first half.

"Maybe it's sometimes just holding on to the ball a split-second longer so receivers can have time to run their routes," he said.

The little adjustments have contributed to a huge turnaround for Iowa (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten), which can become bowl eligible with a win at home Nov. 10 against slumping Minnesota (1-9, 0-6). That's quite a transformation for a program that had dropped five of six games before rallying to beat the Spartans 34-27 in double-overtime on Oct. 27.

Come-from-behind victories are nice, but the Hawkeyes would prefer to get ahead early and let their strong defense protect the lead. Since scoring two first-quarter touchdowns in the second game of the season against Syracuse, Iowa has scored only three points in the first quarter over its last eight games.

"We obviously can't afford to do that," Christensen told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "It's going to come back to get us eventually."

NOTES

  • DE Kenny Iwebema faces a Minnesota offensive line that has allowed only 13 sacks through 10 games this season. The 6-4, 267-pound senior has 3 1/2 sacks and five tackles for loss.

  • LB Mike Humpal leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally with 11.1 tackles per game. He ranks second on the team in interceptions (three) and forced fumbles (two) and is third in tackles for loss (5 1/2).


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