Gophers better focus on Greene

With the nation's leading rusher and a generous Gophers run defense the last two weeks, Minnesota has to concentrate on the run to limited Iowa.

At the rate he is going, there is little reason to doubt Shonn Greene will become Iowa's single-season rushing leader this week against Minnesota.

Greene has rushed for more than 100 yards in every game this season, leaving him just 106 yards shy of Tavian Banks' 1997 record of 1,691 yards. As it is, Greene's 1,585 yards lead the nation.

"I've just been impressed. I continue to be so impressed," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Production is one thing, but this guy just comes every week and plays hard."

Greene is facing a Gophers run defense that has been ripped by Michigan and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks. The Wolverines' anemic attack chewed up 232 yards, then last week P.J. Hill and John Clay combined for more than 150 yards and three touchdowns.

Greene has put up much larger numbers against much better defenses, meaning an injury should be the only hindrance to him making history. This breakout season has left him with a difficult decision to make. He still has a year of eligibility remaining, but he'll be 24 before next season begins.

Running backs only have a certain number of hits in them. Greene may decide it's time to start getting paid for all of this punishment. That's a decision for another day. Right now, Ferentz is enjoying watching his breakout star run hard on every carry.

"That's what great players do," Ferentz said. "I think it's fair to say he's a great player. I'll say that now. He's playing great, I'll put it that way."


  • TE Tony Moeaki continues to battle the effects of a concussion and is questionable for Indiana.

  • OL Wes Aeschilman (dislocated hip) is out.

  • DB Brett Greenwood (shoulder) will play.

    SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The more the ball is in Shonn Greene's hands and out of Ricky Stanzi's, the better. Stanzi has struggled with turnovers at times this year, which is how Minnesota raced out to a 7-1 start to the season. The Gophers have forced a league-high 30 turnovers, while Iowa has committed 21. If Iowa doesn't put the ball on the ground, its defense should be stiff enough to pull out a victory.

    SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The only weapon Iowa needs to watch is Gophers receiver Eric Decker, who is making his return from an ankle injury. Mitch King and Matt Kroul, who have made life miserable for opposing offensive lines all season, will have a difficult time reaching Gophers QB Adam Weber, who is mobile enough to get out of the pocket when trouble looms. The Hawkeyes have the ability to make Minnesota one-dimensional, since the Gophers have struggled rushing the ball most of the year.

    THIS WEEK'S GAME: Iowa at Minnesota, Nov. 22 — The Gophers will play their final game in the Metrodome against their rival in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale — a bronzed pig. The Gophers drag a three-game losing streak into the regular season finale, while Iowa will try to prop up the slim Heisman hopes of tailback Shonn Greene. Greene leads the nation with 1,585 rushing yards, but seems to be getting trampled by Big 12 and SEC candidates in the Heisman race. Next season, Minnesota will move into its much-anticipated, open air on-campus stadium.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Shonn Greene — His march to the school rushing record for a single season marches on. Greene should become the all-time leader against the Gophers — and then some.

    DT Mitch King — One of the best defensive linemen in the nation, King will make life miserable for the middle of Minnesota's offense. The Gophers haven't been able to run the ball all year, leaving King to go after QB Adam Weber.

    DB Amari Spievey — Take away Gophers receiver Eric Decker, and Minnesota can't move the ball. Decker is hampered with an ankle injury to begin with, making Spievey's job that much easier.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We haven't got a bid yet, obviously we're bowl-eligible. There's only one game left in our schedule ... If we take care of business, we'll have a good shot at getting into a good bowl game." — WR Andy Brodell, on the possibility of playing in a New Year's Day bowl

  • Gopher Illustrated Top Stories