IOWA CITY — When you glance at the stat sheet from the Gophers game against No. 20 Iowa on Saturday, several items would seem to scream out Minnesota victory.

* Time of possession: 40 minutes, 20 seconds for the Gophers to 19:40 for Iowa.

* Total yards: 409-277 in favor of the Gophers, including 189-71 on the ground.

* Turnover margin: plus-1 for the Gophers, who avoided feeding into the plus-18 margin the Hawkeyes used in their seven previous victories.

Those type of stats have been the calling card for victory for the Gophers, yet there the scoreboard read early Saturday evening: Iowa 27, Gophers 22.

"That's why it's not 100%, it's 78%,'' Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said, referencing a victory rate when football teams win certain statistical categories that he emphasizes. "It's not always guaranteed, and it came down to the final play.''

When the clock struck 00:00, Gophers offensive tackle Daniel Faalele was recovering a fumble that Iowa defensive end Joe Evans forced from quarterback Tanner Morgan, who was hoping to reach the end zone with a Hail Mary pass. Instead, the Hawkeyes (5-2 Big Ten) secured their seventh consecutive victory in the Floyd of Rosedale rivalry and stood in a first-place tie with Wisconsin atop the Big Ten's West Division while pushing the Gophers (4-3) into a third-place tie with Purdue.

The game, however, was lost long before that last-ditch effort because the Gophers couldn't take full advantage of three trips inside the Iowa 15-yard line that ended in short field goals rather than touchdowns. The Gophers did hold a 13-10 halftime lead, but eight potential points left off the scoreboard in the first half enabled Iowa to hang around and eventually take control in the second half.

"You do everything you can to gain as many points as you can to get to the fourth quarter and see where you're at,'' Fleck said of his strategy of taking the points on field goals.

Iowa, meanwhile, avoided relying on field goals by using a trio of big plays to score or set up touchdowns. In the first quarter, Charlie Jones' spectacular diving catch set up Alex Padilla's 1-yard quarterback sneak for a score. In the third, Jones beat Gophers cornerback Justin Walley for a 72-yard TD reception from Padilla. And in the fourth, Keegan Johnson pinballed off tackle attempts by Coney Durr and Thomas Rush to score on a screen play that covered 27 yards.

The moral of the story for the Gophers: Don't bring field goals to a touchdown fight.

The stats show that a breakthrough victory over Iowa was within the Gophers' grasp, but they just couldn't close the deal even when most of the stats went their way.

"That's what we have to continue to do,'' Fleck said of the things the Gophers did well. "… Most of the time you're going to win. But there's games like today when you don't [win], you feel like you had it and you just weren't able to make enough plays to get it done.''

Saturday's result means the Gophers will have a regular-season record between 8-4 and 6-6, and that didn't help them in bowl positioning. Here's how the Big Ten bowl picture is shaping up:

College Football Playoff: Ohio State

Rose Bowl: Michigan State

Fiesta Bowl: Michigan

Citrus Bowl: Iowa

Outback Bowl: Wisconsin

Las Vegas Bowl: Purdue

Music City Bowl: Penn State

Pinstripe Bowl: Gophers

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Maryland

Motor City Bowl: Unfilled by Big Ten