About the opponent
After a strong start (stirring OT comeback to beat Iowa State, narrow loss to Penn State), Iowa fell to Michigan State and Northwestern. The Hawkeyes’ only Big Ten win so far is against Illinois, just like the Gophers.
Player to watch
Nate Stanley, a sophomore from Menomonie, Wis., won the starting QB job and has been mostly solid (1,513 yards, 16 TDs), including a five-TD effort in the 44-41 OT victory over Iowa State. But he struggled last week in a 17-10 loss to Northwestern and threw a fourth-quarter interception.
Gophers offense vs. Hawkeyes defense
The Gophers have run against overmatched teams, but facing Iowa is another matter. The Hawkeyes held high-scoring Penn State to 21 points and get star LB Josey Jewell back from a shoulder injury. Advantage: Iowa
Gophers defense vs. Hawkeyes offense
Carter Coughlin had two sacks and forced a fumble against Illinois, and Thomas Barber and Jonathan Celestin rank 1-2 in the Big Ten in solo tackles. They need to contain RB Akrum Wadley. Advantage: Even
The Gophers’ Ryan Santoso leads the Big Ten in punting, while Iowa has turned to backup Ryan Gersonde, a true freshman. Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter hasn’t been as sharp on field goals (10-for-14). Advantage: Gophers
Iowa has a seven-game home winning streak against the Gophers, last seeing the visitors leave with Floyd of Rosedale in 1999. A night game at Kinnick Stadium is a tough environment for an inexperienced QB to handle. Advantage: Iowa
The Gophers’ victories are over teams with RPI’s of No. 102 or worse. Iowa’s is at No. 36. Hawkeyes’ D will shut down Gophers.