Dropping to 1-3 in 2020, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were routed by the Iowa Hawkeyes, 35-7, at TCF Bank Stadium on November 13.

Sophomore tailback Tyler Goodson turned in a sparkling performance, running for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, good for an average of 7.1 yards per attempt. Senior Mekhi Sargent was effective in his smaller workload, as well, tallying 86 yards and a score on nine rushes.

After ranking eighth among Football Bowl Subdivision programs at 301.6 yards per game allowed in 2019, the Golden Gophers are surrendering 446.5 yards per contest this fall, a total that ranks 93rd in America.

Holding a virtual press conference on Monday, fourth-year head coach P.J. Fleck addressed his team’s issues on this side of the football.

“Based on how we play, you have to have a dominant defense,” he began.

“We had a dominant defense last year, and we had a really good offense. I think we were probably more experienced, and we were better on defense. And you can see it as we had seven/eight seniors leave.”

Speaking to Fleck’s point, Minnesota has been tasked with replacing seven starters off last fall’s unit, four of whom – defensive end Carter Coughlin, linebacker Kamal Martin, cornerback Chris Williamson and safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. – were selected in the 2020 National Football League Draft.

The Golden Gophers’ top-two tacklers this season, sophomore Tyler Nubin and junior Jordan Howden, who have posted 25 and 23 stops, respectively, are both defensive backs, which is a troubling sign.

Their second-straight home game, Minnesota will look to find their footing against the Purdue Boilermakers (2-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.