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Gophers At Hawkeyes Final: Floyd Goes Back To Iowa In 31-13 Hawkeyes Victory

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had hoped to keep the bronze pig known as Floyd of Rosedale in their possession for a third consecutive year, but it was not to be. The Iowa Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated the Gophers in every phase of the game, and took Floyd back home with a 31-13 victory in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Things got off to a bad start for the Gophers, who saw Max Shortell throw an interception on the team's first possession after getting down 3-0 early. Both defenses exchanged punches for much of the first quarter, but the Hawkeyes were knocking on the door as the quarter came to an end, setting up shop at the Minnesota 8-yard line to start the second quarter.

Iowa scored on the second quarter's first play, as running back Mark Weisman powered over the left side for an eight-yard score to make the score 10-0 in favor of the home team. Iowa needed just one play to score on the next drive, as a perfectly executed flea-flicker between Wiseman and Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg resulted in a 47-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Cotton to make the score 17-0. The Hawkeyes scored on their next drive as well, as Vandenberg went over from a yard out to make it 24-0. That was the score going into halftime.

Minnesota finally got on the board in the second half, thanks to a nine-yard pass from Shortell to Isaac Fruechte to cut the deficit to 24-7. The Minnesota defense performed fairly well in the second half of play, allowing the Hawkeyes just 65 yards of offense after the break, but the Minnesota offense simply wasn't up to the task on this day. Iowa sealed it with a little more than five minutes left in the game, as Max Shortell's pass on fourth down in Iowa territory was intercepted by Christian Kirksey, who took the ball 68 yards for a touchdown to increase the Hawkeye lead to 31-7. The Gophers got a meaningless touchdown at the end of the game on a 1-yard pass from Shortell to Drew Goodger to make the final score 31-13.

The Gophers couldn't recover from getting battered in the first half. Shortell, after showing so much promise coming into today, looked bad against the Iowa defense. He completed 20-of-33 passes on the day for 197 yards and two touchdowns, but the three interceptions were back breakers for the Gophers. Minnesota was -4 in the turnover game (Donnell Kirkwood lost a fumble on the Gophers' first possession of the second half), and that's generally not a recipe for success in college football.

The Hawkeyes have won their last six games against the Gophers at Kinnick Stadium. The win snaps Minnesota's two-game winning streak over Iowa.

Minnesota (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) will host Northwestern next weekend for Homecoming at TCF Bank Stadium. Iowa (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) will have next weekend off before traveling to East Lansing to battle Michigan State.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.