Iowa football: Season of renewed purpose after rout over rival Minnesota
When Iowa began the season at 0-2, things were looking bleak for their prospects in the B1G West. Many people were wondering how Iowa would respond to the adversity.
After Friday night, Iowa’s season is a redemptive story.
Floyd of Rosedale is remaining with the Hawkeyes. Iowa (2-2) routed Minnesota 35-7 on the road to even their record and earn their sixth straight victory in the trophy rivalry.
Iowa rubbed it in by using 3 timeouts on Minnesota’s final drive to savor the victory. Minnesota started the string of timeouts with one of its own as they were nearing Iowa’s goal line.
Minnesota (1-3) got that garbage time touchdown with 14 seconds left, an empty accomplishment that rings especially hollow since they’re now virtually out of the B1G race.
“I think they were playing games, honestly,” Iowa running back Tyler Goodson said. “At the same time, I was ready to come to the locker room because it was getting pretty cold out there on the sidelines.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz clearly agreed.
“They called a timeout, I guess, to get a look at what we were doing and reconsider,” Ferentz said. “So we just wanted to make sure we got a good look at what they were doing. No sense in taking them on the bus with us. (The media) have reminded me of that a couple times over the last 22 years. Figured we’d take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here.”
Yup, Iowa has its swag back.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) November 14, 2020
The Iowa rushing attack racked up 235 yards and 4 touchdowns. Goodson carved up Minnesota for 142 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion.
The Iowa offensive line punished Minnesota all night.
“The opportunity we needed to take advantage of was to run the stretch play, and the stretch play worked out really well for us,” Goodson said. “The guys up front did a fantastic job of getting to their blocks … allowed us to get through the holes we needed to be successful in the run game.”
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum explained why the offensive line had its way with Minnesota.
“I just think we’ve got a lot of guys putting vertical pressure on the D-linemen, getting after it,” Linderbaum said. “We’ve got good takeoff going, getting good push on the line. We’ve got great backs who can read and hit the seams.”
This is the second week in a row the Iowa defense has held an opponent to just 7 points. Iowa blew out Michigan State 49-7 in Week 3.
Iowa defensive lineman Zach VanValkenburg dominated the Minnesota defensive line with 3 sacks. Riley Moss and Jack Koerner each tallied an interception. This is the 11th game in a row that Iowa has snagged an interception.
IOWA IS HOSTING A DEFENSIVE CLINIC 🔒 pic.twitter.com/NARSKJzCo6
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 14, 2020
“We’re always trying to get takeaways,” Koerner said. “We have our defensive goals every week of getting three takeaways, whether that’s interceptions or fumbles. That’s one of the goals every week. Definitely a point of emphasis. We’ve been doing a good job.”
As Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells famously noted, you are what your record says you are.
However, if a few bounces went differently, Iowa could actually be 4-0 right now. Iowa’s two losses are by a combined 5 points (24-20 at Purdue, 21-20 vs. Northwestern).
Ferentz isn’t one for moral victories and he isn’t going to allow his team to get overconfident after the last two results either.
“Hopefully now we aren’t ready to have a parade or something like that because we’ve won two games,” Ferentz said.
That being said, Ferentz is proud of how the Hawkeyes have rebounded from their first 0-2 start since 2000.
“Just extremely proud of our football team, our players, the way they competed,” Ferentz said. “The way they are really growing as a football team right now.”
Iowa’s next 3 games are at Penn State, vs. Nebraska and at Illinois.
With the way the Hawkeyes are playing, they could be looking at a five-game winning streak heading into the regular season finale at No. 13 Wisconsin. Iowa has made a complete 180 and now feel the confidence that comes from putting together back-to-back convincing victories.
Iowa could’ve rolled over after those first two losses. Instead, the Hawkeyes dug deep and came together as a unit. As a result, Iowa has a renewed sense of purpose.
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) November 14, 2020
“We’re really finding out who we are as a team,” Goodson said. “We’re starting to play collectively, hitting on all cylinders. I think from now on it’s all about taking baby steps, progressing each and every day to become better, so we can win more games in the future.”