GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. HAWKEYES DEFENSE
Iowa has the Big Ten’s fourth-worst rushing defense. Northwestern’s Justin Jackson rushed for 171 yards against the Hawkeyes. That bodes well for Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. Mitch Leidner has a 72.5 completion percentage against Iowa with five TDs and zero interceptions. Advantage: Gophers
Iowa has two field goal attempts in five games, with Keith Duncan hitting from 22 yards and 24 yards. Emmit Carpenter is 9-for-9 for the Gophers, with five beyond 40 yards. Advantage: Gophers
Player to watch
Iowa cornerback Desmond King won the Jim Thorpe Award last year, as the nation’s top defensive back. This year, opponents have targeted his receiver just 13 times, with seven completions. The average distance of the routes run against King: just 3.6 yards. He’s dangerous as a punt and kick returner, too.
Iowa gave Kirk Ferentz a contract extension through 2026 last month. Its losses to North Dakota State and Northwestern both came at home, but the Hawkeyes have won seven consecutive road games, dating to 2014.
GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. HAWKEYES OFFENSE
Iowa ranks 11th in the Big Ten in rushing offense (143.2) and has given up the second-most sacks in the conference (2.8 per game). C.J. Beathard has taken several hits, and the Hawkeyes lost receiver Matt VandeBerg to a foot injury. But Minnesota’s defense is searching for consistency. Advantage: Iowa
The game’s not sold out, so Iowa could have a big fan presence. The Hawkeyes marching band will be there, with Minnesota’s band headed to Iowa next year. Advantage: Iowa
Iowa’s defense is tougher than Penn State’s, especially at linebacker. But Leidner steers the win, and Minnesota’s defense finally hunkers down.