Iowa clinches best start in school history
Final: No. 5 Iowa 40, Minnesota 35
Key play: LeShun Daniels Jr. breaks off 51-yard touchdown run
Iowa was attempting to run the clock down and pick up a couple late first downs to close out the game. Instead, Daniels broke loose for the play of the day to lock up the Floyd of Rosedale. Kinnick Stadium erupted when Daniels put the exclamation point on the night. Needless to say, that play will be remembered in Iowa City for a long time.
Telling stat: Iowa converts 10-of-15 third downs
For those that are still wondering why Iowa is undefeated, that stat says a lot. Beathard converted third down after third down to keep the Hawkeyes’ drives alive and the defense off the field. Whenever the offense needs a play, it gets it. Sometimes it’s a Beathard scramble, sometimes it’s a Beathard sneak or sometimes it’s a quick hitter to George Kittle. More times than not, Iowa finds itself in third-and-manageable. A balanced attack consistently helps the Hawkeyes get the edge at potential tipping points.
-K.J. Maye is a superstar
If you haven’t been paying attention to Minnesota, you probably haven’t seen Maye solidify himself as a superstar. His heroics aren’t resulting in wins, but Maye is doing everything in his power to lift the Gophers. He has 374 yards in his last four games operating with Mitch Leidner, who also looks significantly better than he did in the early part of B1G play. Maye has made repeated highlight-reel grabs against elite corners for an offense that severely lacked playmakers coming into this season. It’s too bad it took Maye so long to come into his own.
-No Akrum Wadley
There was debate as to whether or not we would see Wadley after he left last week’s game with an ankle injury. Well, he was active but he still didn’t see the field on Saturday. The beauty of Iowa’s offensive line is that the Hawkeyes still have two, maybe even three backs capable of taking over a game. Without Wadley, Iowa’s top two tailbacks on the depth chart did enough to keep Iowa moving the chains. LeShun Daniels had a career-high 195 yards and three touchdowns, and looked as healthy as he’s looked all year. Jordan Canzeri was back in a secondary role, which was also a product of Daniels’ emergence. Saturday was more proof that as long as there’s one back healthy for Iowa, he’s bound to go off.
What it means: Minnesota still doesn’t get pushed around, Iowa makes history
Indiana and Minnesota are living in parallel universes. Both teams are on long losing streaks in which they’ve looked solid. The Gophers played competitively with their third straight B1G power. In a season full of change, Tracy Claeys has this team doing a lot of the things it needs to do to beat more talented teams. Eventually, those games are going to turn into upset wins. Iowa, on the other hand, clinched its best start in school history. If you said in August that the Hawkeyes would one-up the 2009 Orange Bowl squad and be in position to earn a College Football Playoff berth, you would’ve been laughed out of the room. Say what you want about their strength of schedule down the stretch, but the 10-0 Hawkeyes are no joke.