No. 8 Iowa 40, Gophers 35
The recap: The Hawkeyes didn’t have to punt in the first half, when they built a 24-14 lead. The Gophers twice pulled within five points in the game’s final six minutes. But the defense gave up a 51-yard touchdown to LeShun Daniels in between those scores. He rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns.
What was learned: With four defensive starters and two key reserves out, the Gophers gave up 506 yards, the most since they gave up 515 to Nebraska in 2011. Iowa ran at will, and C.J. Beathard made big plays with his arm and feet, as the Hawkeyes improved to 10-0.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
• The Gophers were flagged for 12 penalties, compared to four for Iowa. Replays showed the officials missing some holding calls on the Hawkeyes, including a bear hug on Cody Poock when Daniels broke free for his last touchdown.
“I’m not allowed to comment on it,” Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said. “Eventually, hopefully the breaks will go your way. And right now, they’re not.”
• Iowa had allowed three rushing touchdowns all season, fewest in the nation. The Gophers doubled that total with TD runs from Mitch Leidner, Rodrick Williams and Shannon Brooks.
• There were no turnovers in the game. In the three games since Claeys took over as coach for Jerry Kill, the Gophers have committed just one turnover.
• Gophers punter Peter Mortell was back in All-Big Ten form, averaging 45.8 yards per punt, with zero touchbacks and three that pinned Iowa inside its 10-yard line.
UP NEXT: Illinois
11 a.m. Saturday, TCF Bank Stadium
TV: ESPNews. Radio: 100.3-FM
Records: Gophers 4-6, 1-5 Big Ten; Illinois 5-5, 2-4
The skinny: Players are stumping for Illinois to remove the interim tag from Bill Cubit and keep him as head coach, as the Gophers did with Tracy Claeys last week. Cubit guided the Illini to a 14-13 win over Nebraska on Oct. 3. But his team has since dropped four of five, including Saturday’s 28-3 home loss to Ohio State. Illinois needs one more win to become bowl-eligible with the rivalry game against Northwestern coming Nov. 28. Wes Lunt is a strong-armed passer, and the Illini has dangerous weapons in RB Josh Ferguson and WR Geronimo Allison. But the key to Illinois’ turnaround has been defense. The Illini are allowing 22.3 points per game, down from a Big Ten-worst 34.0 last season.