Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Iowa @ Minnesota for Floyd of Rosedale and a win in the Big Ten Opener on the line!

Iowa will point to last year!

2012: Iowa 31, Minnesota 13 in Iowa City

On the flip side, the Golden Gophers are looking for payback.

Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson, started the final seven games of 2012, but missed this year's San Jose State game, due to injury. Nelson didn't start until after last year's loss at Iowa.

“I’ve seen Philip earlier [Tuesday] and he seems to be getting along pretty good,” said Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. “We’ll start out practice and see how things go. We’re not going to change our style; what we do offensively. So [Philip] is going to need to be 100 percent for us to give him the green light. We certainly will if he’s ready to go.” 

Five Things You Need To Know about Minnesota heading into Big Ten opener with Iowa:

2011: Minnesota 22, Iowa 21 in Minneapolis

1. Minnesota hosts Iowa this weekend for Homecoming. The Gophers are 54-35-3 all-time in Homecoming games, but will be looking for their first Homecoming win since 2009 (35-20 win against Purdue) when the Hawkeyes comes to town. Minnesota is 10-2 with Iowa as their Homecoming opponent. The Gophers' last Homecoming meeting with the Hawkeyes was a 23-17 win in 1974. Floyd of Rosedale is also on the line this week, as Iowa and Minnesota have been playing for the coveted Floyd of Rosedale since 1935. Minnesota is 41-35-2 when playing for Floyd of Rosedale and has won two of its last three meetings with Iowa. The Hawkeyes are the current holders of Floyd of Rosedale, as they beat the Gophers in Iowa City last year.

2. Minnesota rushed for six touchdowns (Mitch Leidner four, David Cobb two) and 353 yards (most since 2005) in its 43-24 win against San Jose State last Saturday. It was the first time that Minnesota had rushed for six touchdowns in one game since it ran for seven scores in a 63-21 win against Toledo on Sept. 4, 2004. Laurence Maroney, Marion Barber III and Justin Valentine each rushed for two touchdowns against Toledo, while Amir Pinnix ran for one.

3. In his first career start, redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner put on a performance that earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and a spot in the Gopher record book. Leidner rushed 24 times for 151 yards and four touchdowns against San Jose State. His four touchdown runs tied a Minnesota quarterback record set by Curtis Wilson in 1967 against Indiana. Leidner was the first Gopher to score four touchdowns in one game since Logan Payne against Temple in 2006, and the first to score four times on the ground since Marion Barber III against Ohio in 2003. He is the eighth Gopher ever to score four or more touchdowns in a game. Leidner's 151-yard rushing total is the seventh-most all-time by a Minnesota quarterback.

4. The Gophers have scored 22 touchdowns through four games this season. They have rushed for 16 touchdowns (Gophers rushed for 14 touchdowns in 13 games last year), passed for one and have also scored five non-offensive touchdowns (one kickoff return, one punt return, one fumble return, one interception return and one blocked field goal return) this year. It is the first time that Minnesota has scored five non-offensive touchdowns in one season since 2009. That year, the Gophers scored 33 total touchdowns and five (three fumble returns, one blocked field goal return and one blocked punt return) of them came via special teams or defense.

5. The Gophers are 19-for-20 (95 percent) in the red zone this year, which ranks third in the Big Ten (Penn State is 15-for-15, 100 percent and Ohio State is 21-for-22, 95.5 percent) and is tied for 13th in the nation with Louisville (also 19-for-20). Minnesota leads the nation with red zone rushing touchdowns with 14. Eight of those runs, which includes five from last week, have been one-yard touchdowns.

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