Iowa running back Tyler Goodson couldn’t lift Floyd of Rosedale by himself.
“It’s a little too heavy,” Goodson said.
So he had to call in a few reinforcements. Big ones.
A couple of Hawkeyes offensive linemen helped Goodson lift the trophy. Fitting, considering how Iowa earned the opportunity to raise the bronze pig in the first place.
As the Hawkeyes people movers opened up gaping holes all night, Goodson used his legs to propel Iowa to a 35-7 victory over Minnesota. The Hawkeyes rushed for 235 yards on 35 carries to extend their winning streak over the Gophers to six games, the longest win streak Iowa has had vs. Minnesota.
Goodson is at the top of the list of reasons why. He rushed for 142 yards on 20 attempts and two touchdowns for a whopping 7.1 average per carry.
“He’s a quick and elusive back,” center Tyler Linderbaum said. “He can read holes very well.”
It’s easy to read holes when offensive linemen open them like Iowa did. Especially on stretch plays to the outside, a specific play the Hawkeyes knew they needed to take advantage of against Minnesota, Goodson said.
As Goodson started to run outside, the offensive linemen often reached edge defenders and started shoving. And shoving. Goodson often wasn’t touched for several yards downfield, at which point he picked the hole he wanted. It was as if he had several excellent doors from which to choose.
“It’s pretty good to see, knowing you have multiple ways and multiple options to go through,” Goodson said. “Once again, it’s all about making the quick decision and go. You can’t really be indecisive in this game.”
He wasn’t. And neither were his blockers. That extends past the Iowa offensive linemen. The receivers played an important role, too, quarterback Spencer Petras noted.
“Their safeties are really low a lot of the time,” Petras said. “A lot of times that means the safety’s the free hitter, so it’s up to the receivers to go in there and dig those guys out. So great job by the offensive line and receivers.”
Facing a flailing run defense also helps. The Gophers entered the game as one of the worst run defenses in the country, surrendering an average of 7.3 yards per carry coming into Friday night, ranking second worst nationwide. Minnesota’s effort defending Iowa’s run game won’t help that cause.
There were a few bright spots. Linebacker Thomas Rush and defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo each registered a tackle for loss on the same drive in the second quarter, but there wasn’t much else for Gophers fans to be optimistic about.
In addition to Goodson’s success, Mekhi Sargent rumbled for 86 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.
“We were getting solid yardage every play,” Petras said. “One of them was bound to pop, and it did.”