Entering Saturday, Minnesota’s 13th-ranked rushing attack in the nation was expected to give the Gophers an edge vs. rival Iowa. But it was Iowa and its dominant ground game that powered the Hawkeyes past the Gophers 23-7.
Iowa outgained Minnesota 246-30 on the ground and has now rushed for at least 200 yards in five consecutive games to start a season for the first time under head coach Kirk Ferentz (since 1999).
Looking deeper into their run plays, the Hawkeyes had success rushing to the left side. On designed handoffs to the their running backs, the Hawkeyes ran to the left side on 22 of its 39 total attempts for 129 yards, more rushes and yards combined than they had other directions (17 rushes, 76 yards).
Most of the Hawkeyes’ left-side rushes came in the second half, totaling 105 yards on 15 attempts. That success allowed the Hawkeyes to move the chains and dominate the time of possession by 12 minutes over the Gophers.
Of the 35 total plays ran in the fourth quarter, Iowa ran 21 of them, with 15 coming on the ground. Add it all up, and that helped the Hawkeyes avoid a possible Minnesota comeback attempt.
Iowa has now won four of its last five Big Ten openers and each of the last two meetings against the Gophers to retain the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy.
|About Ernest Tolden||Ernest Tolden is a Studio Researcher for Big Ten Network and a blogger who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. Ernest is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Follow our BTN stats team on Twitter via @BTNStatsGuys.|