It couldn’t end soon enough for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
The Gophers were well on their way to a 51-14 blowout of the rival Hawkeyes when Ferentz began fiddling with his hands, pacing the sideline and noticeably spending more time taking notes than watching the final minutes of an embarrassing loss Saturday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium.
Embarrassing was one of a variety of ways Ferentz described one of Iowa’s worst defeats in the historic rivalry. He said the Gophers were the aggressors and the Hawkeyes the acceptors, the Gophers had their way, and they took it to the Hawkeyes, among other unpleasantries.
“Not sure that we quit, but they shoved it down our throats and we couldn’t do anything about it. It’s not a good feeling,” Ferentz said. “You gotta learn you don’t walk on water when things are going good. And then the other thing is when things go bad, you don’t get in the fetal position to let someone else kick the crap out of you.
“Certainly a disappointing loss for our football team.”
Riding the momentum of their own 48-7 blowout of Northwestern a week earlier, the Hawkeyes scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. They converted three third downs during the 5-minute, 47-second possession, using the screen pass to break down the defense.
The Gophers responded with a touchdown on the ensuing drive, and their defense followed up with an interception on Iowa’s second possession. After Briean Boddy-Calhoun picked off Jake Rudock’s pass, Iowa’s offense went flat, leading to 51 consecutive points for the Gophers.
The Hawkeyes finished with 205 yards of total offense, 156 of which were compiled in their first and last drives of the game. They were held to 49 yards during the middle 48 minutes of action.
It’s been 16 years since Iowa was beaten this badly by Minnesota — a 49-7 victory for the Gophers in 1998. The last time Minnesota scored 50-plus points against Iowa was in 1949, a 55-7 walloping.
“I feel like they had a little bit to prove, and they did whatever they had to do to shove it down our throat,” Iowa junior wide receiver Tevaun Smith said after being held to three catches for 38 yards. “As the game went on nothing was really clicking for us. It was just one of those days.”
Ferentz didn’t expect a one-sided affair after a good week of practice and last week’s big win. However, the coach said maybe the players and coaches believed a little too much in the hype about the team looking really good entering the final month of the season.
Iowa had the fifth-best pass offense in the Big Ten, the fourth-best pass defense, and was averaging nearly 22 first downs (fifth in the Big Ten) before Saturday. The Gophers held the Hawkeyes to 13.
Iowa redshirt freshman linebacker Josey Jewell admitted the guys were riding a little high and have to find a way to avoid getting too high at the peaks and too low in the valley.
“It’s always humbling any time you lose a game, especially coming off a bigger win there and now a worse one here. It’s unfortunate,” Iowa junior quarterback Jake Rudock said. “Let’s face it. We’re going to be thinking about it all night. It’s going to be tough to sleep.”