IOWA CITY -- Mark Weisman has personally turned around the Gophers' season. Too bad he plays for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes' running back, who opened the season as a backup fullback, has shredded Minnesota's running defense, and the result is a 24-0 halftime lead over the shellshocked Gophers.
Weisman has rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown in the game's first two quarters, averaging 9.7 yards per carry, mostly on nothing-tricky runs off tackle. Weisman has rushes of 15, 44, and 32 yards, and a touchdown from eight yards out. Quarterback James Vandenberg has a score on a quarterback sneak from 1 yard out.
And the Hawkeyes, only 2-2 in non-conference play, showed they can pull a trick play, too. Early in the second quarter, Vandenberg handed off to Weisman, who drew the defense toward him before pitching the ball back to his quarterback. Vandenberg then hit receiver Jordan Cotton wide open near the end zone, an easy 47-yard touchdown.
The Gophers' offense has shown none of that production; Minnesota's longest drive, in six first-half possessions, traveled only 21 yards, and the Gophers, who came into the game at 4-0, have punted five times. Minnesota has been outgained 328 yards to 75 at halftime.