Replay: Iowa 48, Gophers 31
For the second consecutive game, the Gophers fell behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter and had to play from behind in a Big Ten loss. Unlike in their 42-13 loss at Maryland on Sept. 22, the Gophers (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) rallied against Iowa, twice cutting the lead to seven points. But the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1) responded with touchdowns when the Gophers got close and emerged with their fourth consecutive victory in the game for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy.
“It felt like all game we were chasing,’’ Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said.
Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley passed for 314 yards and four touchdowns, while the Hawkeyes defense intercepted four Gophers passes, three thrown by true freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad. Iowa sacked Annexstad five times, three by end Anthony Nelson.
Two trick plays in the second quarter set the tone for the game. Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson scored on a 4-yard run on a fake field goal for a 21-7 Hawkeyes lead. Late in the quarter, the Gophers called for a fake punt on fourth down from their 49, but punter Jacob Herbers overthrew wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell. Given good field position, Iowa needed only two plays to extend its lead to 28-10.
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Run defense improves
In their loss to Maryland, the Gophers gave up 315 rushing yards to the Terrapins, who averaged 8.5 yards per carry. Minnesota’s run defense stiffened against Iowa, allowing 106 yards on 40 carries, an average of 2.7.
“Our front seven did a great job of stopping the run, as much as you can against Iowa,’’ Fleck said.
Playing it safe
With Rodney Smith, the Gophers’ best kick returner, out for the season because of a knee injury, the team opted for caution on kickoff returns. Demetrius Douglas called for fair catches four times on Iowa kickoffs — twice from the 3, once from the 9 and once from the goal line — giving the Gophers the ball at their 25-yard line. The Hawkeyes had three other kickoffs result in touchbacks, while one went out of bounds. Minnesota’s only kickoff return came late in the fourth quarter, when Colton Beebe got the ball at the 22 and returned it 16 yards.
For the second consecutive game, true freshman wide receiver Rashod Bateman lead the Gophers in receptions, with seven for 65 yards and two touchdowns. At Maryland, he had seven catches for 68 yards and a TD.
Up next: at No. 3 Ohio State
11 a.m. Saturday, Ohio Stadium
TV (radio): FS1 (100.3-FM)
The skinny: Coming off their stirring win at Penn State a week earlier, the Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0) struggled a bit before outlasting Indiana 49-26. Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed 33 of 44 passes for 455 yards and a school-record-tying six touchdowns as Ohio State pulled away.
Haskins has passed for 1,919 yards and 25 TDs with four interceptions, and he’s receiving Heisman Trophy consideration. “He’s an accurate passer now,’’ Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said. “You give him some time and you give him a good group of receivers, he’s a dangerous guy.’’