Gophers Replay

No. 20 Iowa, 27, Gophers 22

The recap: Two weeks after holding a one-game lead in the Big Ten West Division standings, the Gophers now are looking up at co-leaders Wisconsin and Iowa and tied with Purdue in third place after dropping their second consecutive game, losing to Iowa for the seventh consecutive time in the Floyd of Rosedale rivalry on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

The Gophers (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) still are mathematically alive for the West title but maybe not realistically. They close the regular season with games at Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., and against Wisconsin on Nov. 27 in Minneapolis.

Minnesota is in this situation because of its failure to maximize its point total on deep drives into Iowa territory. Three times the Gophers drove inside the Iowa 15-yard line only to come away with field goals of 20, 31 and 29 yards by Matthew Trickett. The would close to 24-22 with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter on Tanner Morgan's 68-yard touchdown pass to Chris Autman-Bell, but Morgan's two-point conversion pass was batted down. The Gophers reached the Iowa 39 with 12 seconds left, but Morgan was sacked, and time ran out.

Three takeaways

Third-down woes in red zone

The Gophers finished 7-for-19 on third-down conversions, and the ones they missed that hurt the most came on their three drives that ended in field goals.

In the first quarter, they faced third-and-goal from the 3, and Ky Thomas was held to a 1-yard gain. Coach P.J. Fleck opted for a field goal. Late in the second quarter, Mar'Keise Irving was stopped inches short on third-and-2 from the 15, and officials did not stop the clock to measure. Fleck called timeout with 2 seconds left before sending Trickett in for a field goal. And in the third quarter, Morgan's third-and-7 pass to Brevyn Spann-Ford from the Iowa 16 was 2 yards short, prompting Trickett's kick that cut the Iowa lead to 17-16.

No sacks allowed, until the end

The Gophers didn't allow Iowa to sack Morgan for nearly 57 minutes, but the Hawkeyes got two to help seal the win. With 3:05 left in the fourth quarter, end Zach VanValkenburg dropped Morgan for a 7-yard loss from the Gophers 10. On Minnesota's final play, end Joe Evans sacked Morgan for a 15-yard loss.

Kesich blocked on long-range kick

While Trickett had a bounce-back game with his three short field goals, he's 1-for-4 from 50 yards or longer this season. That prompted Fleck to use Dragan Kesich for a 53-yard attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter to potentially give the Gophers a 19-17 lead. Instead, Hawkeyes defensive tackle Logan Lee blocked the kick, and Iowa boosted its lead to 24-16 five plays later.

Up next: Indiana

2:30 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, BTN, 100.3-FM

The skinny: Last year's 7-2 record brought optimism for the Hoosiers, who were ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press preseason poll, but a 34-6 loss at Iowa to open the season set the tone. Indiana (2-8, 0-7) has lost six consecutive games, being outscored 203-67. Their only wins are against Idaho, an FCS team, and Western Kentucky.

The latest loss was 38-3 on Saturday at home against Rutgers, which feasted on six Hoosiers turnovers (four fumbles lost, two interceptions). Quarterback Michael Penix Jr., a second-team All-Big Ten selection last year, has been sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury on Oct. 2 at Penn State, though he said he plans to return sometime this season. The Hoosiers are averaging 20.3 points per game (12th in the Big Ten) and are giving up 31.3 (last in the conference).