2:30 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium • TV: BTN • Radio: 100.3-FM • Line: Iowa by 7 • Series: U leads 62-47-2
Balanced offense, stingy defense — that’s Iowa’s blueprint. Iowa averages 167.1 rushing yards and 225.8 passing yards, figures that are complemented by a defense that is giving up 13 points per game, which ranks fifth nationally.
Player to watch
Amani Hooker (above), a defensive back from Park Center High School, is third on the Hawkeyes with 25 tackles, has one interception and has broken up two passes. Hooker was lightly recruited by the previous Gophers staff. “You could say I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder,’’ he told Iowa reporters this week.
Gophers offense vs. Hawkeyes defense
For the Gophers to pull off an upset, they’ll need to control the ball. That’s difficult to do against an Iowa defense that’s giving up only 84 rushing yards per game (tied for fourth nationally). Advantage: Iowa
Gophers defense vs. Hawkeyes offense
Last year, the Gophers held Iowa in check in a 17-10 loss, but a key play was QB Nate Stanley’s 45-yard TD pass to Noah Fant. With Antoine Winfield Jr. lost for the season, the Gophers must find other stoppers. Advantage: Iowa
The Gophers’ Emmit Carpenter is 7-for-8 on field-goal attempts, and Jacob Herbers has landed nine of his 22 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Minnesota’s return game isn’t as potent without Rodney Smith and Winfield, but the Gophers still get the edge. Advantage: Gophers
The Gophers are trying to end Iowa’s three-year hold on the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, and that should supply some motivation. The fact that it’s homecoming won’t hurt, either. Advantage: Gophers
The Gophers keep it close, but Iowa’s defense will be the difference.