Mitch Leidner completed just four of 12 passes for 37 yards with an interception, as the Gophers went to halftime trailing Iowa 3-0 on Saturday.
It was a good first half for the Gophers defense, which has allowed just 20 first-half points over the past four games. But Minnesota’s offense struggled. The Gophers managed just one first down on their first five drives.
With KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford back from suspension, the Gophers wasted little time putting them to use. Hardin started at cornerback, and Buford was part of their nickel package.
Hardin made a big interception in the first quarter on a deep pass toward the end zone by C.J. Beathard. Hardin had Jerminic Smith covered, as they both went up and tipped the ball, and Hardin came down with it. He ran into the end zone and took the ball back to the Minnesota 31-yard line.
The Gophers also got wide receiver Rashad Still (broken clavicle) and defensive end Tai'yon Devers (high ankle sprain) back from injury.