Iowa 13, Minnesota 10: Bringing Home The Bacon

By RossWB on November 19, 2022 at 7:37 pm
go hawks go
© Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
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Oops, they did it again. 

For the third time in the last four meetings, Minnesota outgained Iowa by over 100 yards -- and the end result was the same as the other times that happened: Iowa players hoisting Floyd of Rosedale on their shoulders, victorious once again -- for the eighth straight season. This one is probably going to sting in Minneapolis for quite a while, though.

Minnesota got an all-time great performance from superstar running back Mo Ibrahim: 39 carries, 263 yards (!), and one touchdown. After a slow start (6 carries for 14 yards), Ibrahim exploded in the final three quarters: 33 carries and 249 yards. He was absolutely dominating an Iowa run defense that came in ranked 8th in the country, allowing 88.6 yards per game and 2.55 yards per carry (2nd). Ibrahim absolutely laid waste to those stats. Well, Ibrahim and his offensive line, because they played a critical supporting role in his efforts to maul Iowa's defense. It's rare to see an Iowa front-seven absolutely manhandled the way they were in this game, but credit where it's due: Minnesota's mashers absolutely bullied the Hawkeyes. Ibrahim showed great vision, excellent patience, and an impressive ability to shrug off tackles -- but it also helped that the Minnesota offensive line was able to consistently move the line of scrimmage against Iowa and open up gaping holes. He was often able to go 5-6 yards before anyone in an Iowa jersey even touched him. 

For the game, Iowa allowed 316 rushing yards to Minnesota; that's the most rushing yards Iowa has allowed in a win since a 45-29 win over Indiana in 2014 (the Hoosiers had 312 rushing yards). I can't find the last time Iowa allowed a single running back to run for 260+ yards in a game, win or loss. (The next-highest total Iowa's allowed since 2009 was 250 to Jonathan Taylor in 2019, an Iowa loss to Wisconsin.) 

But... did Minnesota lean too heavily on just Ibrahim? Maybe. On a critical fourth quarter drive in which Minnesota went from their own 3-yard line to the Iowa 13-yard line, Ibrahim carried the ball 14 times (!) for 88 yards. (14 carries for 88 yards is a pretty solid game for a lot of running backs, and Ibrahim did that on a single drive.) He carried the ball on the last 10 plays of that drive. That drive, notably, did not end in points -- because Ibrahim fumbled on the last play of the drive, coughing the ball up on the Iowa 10-yard line after a Jack Campbell tackle. Did Ibrahim fumble because he was exhausted and overworked in that moment? It's impossible to say, but it's hard to think that didn't have some impact. 

That turnover put Iowa's offense back on the field with five minutes to go and a chance for Spencer Petras to engineer a signature Hawkeye moment, a game-winning drive against a hated rival. Alas, instead Iowa called three complicated passing plays, completed none of them, went three and out, and punted the ball directly back to Minnesota, having barely burned a minute off the clock. The message was clear: if Iowa was going to win this game, the defense was going to need to not just force a turnover, they were going to need to score the points too. 

Credit to Jack Campbell -- he heard that message loud and clear. I mean, look at this:

Officially the referees determined that wasn't an incredible pick-six -- they said he had stepped out-of-bounds at the 45-yard line. I remain skeptical of that determination (especially after watching the replay, which seemed to show some pellets of field turf between Campbell's foot and the sideline) and absolutely baffled by the fact that the play was seemingly not reviewed by the officials... but still. An absolutely incredible play by Campbell, when his team absolutely needed something like this to happen in order to have a prayer of winning the game. The catch off the tip drill, the run-back dodging and weaving through Gophers... just a brilliant highlight play from a player who has consistently performed at a high level over the last three seasons. 

Ultimately, not ruling Campbell's play a pick-six probably worked out even better for Iowa, too. The Hawkeyes got the ball back around midfield with two minutes to play -- but zipped directly into field goal range via a brilliant first down call from Brian Ferentz that was perfectly executed by Spencer Petras and Luke Lachey. With the Minnesota defense looking confused after the sudden change from Campbell's interception, Petras threw an absolute laser down the middle of the field to Luke Lachey for 33 yards that got Iowa to the Minnesota 12-yard line. A 7-yard Leshon Williams run got Iowa even closer -- the Minnesota 3-yard line. There was a little drama at the end around a possible fumble by Williams, some timeout intrigue from Iowa, and an eventual game-winning field goal that initially looked like it barely knuckled in (a subsequent replay showed that it wasn't that close to the upright, although it was still a bit of an ugly knuckleball kick), but ultimately it didn't matter. The field goal was good and Iowa was victorious over Minnesota for the eighth consecutive season.

Lachey stepped up big at a moment when Iowa absolutely needed someone to make plays, too. The offense had started out looking surprisingly crisp, but fell apart after Sam LaPorta suffered a leg injury in the second quarter that took him out of action for the rest of the game. 

Petras looked sharp at the start of the game, especially in his connections with LaPorta -- despite missing over half the game, LaPorta still finished with four catches for 95 yards, which tells you about the kind of game that he was having pre-injury. Lachey stepped up admirably in his absence, though -- he had five receptions for 77 yards, including that critical grab near the end of the game that set up Iowa's game-winning field goal. 

Petras finished the game 15/24 (62%) for 223 yards, a rushing touchdown (on Iowa's patented QB sneak), zero passing touchdown, and zero turnovers. The last stat was critical because turnovers ended up deciding the game -- neither team turned the ball over in the first three quarters, but Ibrahim's fumble killed a Minnesota drive that looked destined to end in points that would have given the Gophers the lead and Athan Kaliakmanis' interception with two minutes to play set up Iowa's own game-winning drive. Petras took care of the ball and successfully moved Iowa's offense through the air (...at times) in a game where the running game wasn't able to do much (Kaleb Johnson and Leshon Williams combined for 81 yards on 19 carries). 

But back to Jack Campbell, though. He absolutely refused to let Iowa lose this game in the fourth quarter. His hit on Ibrahim helped forced the fumble (recovered by Deontae Craig) that ended a possible Minnesota scoring drive. His interception ended another Minnesota drive and led to Iowa's game-winning field goal. And those plays happened on consecutive drives. Unreal. Overall, Campbell finished with 10 tackles, a QB hurry, a forced fumble, and an interception. Captain Jack came up big for Iowa in this game, and we can do nothing but tip our caps to him. 

It is legitimately hilarious and a little bit surreal that Iowa manages to keep finding ways to win games like this, especially against Minnesota. The Gophers keep finding rakes to step on or doorknobs to open directly into their dicks when they play Iowa, which is immensely satisfying. Is any of this logical? Not really. Is this at all sustainable? Probably not. 

Hawkeye Devil Magic rides again, friends. Someday Iowa will get burned by this reliance on smoke and mirrors and opportunistic nonsense. But today is not that day. Because today Floyd of Rosedale is staying home in Iowa (returning to Iowa, technically), and that makes it a very good day. 

GO FLOYD AWESOME

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