Sunday, September 29, 2013

Recap of Iowa's B1G opener at Minnesota: Mission Accomplished!

The Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0 in Legends) retain Floyd of Rosedale again with back to back wins over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-1, 0-1 Legends).  The Hawkeyes also picked up the first win ever at TCF Bank Stadium, after two losses in 2010 and 2011.  The Hawkeyes pulled out the 23-7 win in Minneapolis with strong line 
play on both sides of the football.

Iowa LT Brandon Scherff and
 the rest of the offensive line
 helped the Hawkeyes to
 246 rushing yards during a
23-7 win at Minnesota on Sept. 28.
“We knew coming in and studying film what their game plan was. We did our best to prepare for that. I haven’t seen the film, so I have yet to evaluate how we were able to stop it," said Minnesota junior nose tackle Cameron Botticelli.

The Golden Gophers entered Saturday's rivalry game averaging 282.2 yards per game on the ground. Iowa held them 252.2 yards below that total.

Minnesota also allowed an average of 102.8 rushing yards per game. Iowa gained 143.2 yards above that total.

"It felt great, there is nothing like breaking somebody's will," Iowa junior defensive tackle Carl Davis said. "We try to be a physical team and that's what we did."

On the lack of running success today…
"From what I noticed during the game, we couldn't move Iowa. They'd slide off a block and make a play. They handled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball better than we did. When you can run the ball you can have some success, but we didn't run the ball well today," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said.

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Four different Gophers carried the ball and the top two ground-gainers were Roderick Williams with 22 yards and David Cobb with 20 -- Iowa junior running back Damon Bullock and sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock both gained 22 yards on one attempt. As a team, Minnesota averaged 1.1 yards per 27 tries.

Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is now
2-1 vs. Jerry Kill at Minnesota
Kill had this to say about Iowa's new quarterback, "[Jake Rudock] played a good football game. I've said all along that Iowa is a better football team than they were a year ago. He's a more mobile quarterback than who played last year. They had a good quarterback last year, but Rudock plays the game differently and makes a lot of calls on the line of scrimmage. I credit him and their coach who put the team in the right position to win."

Iowa dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the Big Ten opener.  "From what I noticed
"Make a play" and Iowa did
all afternoon vs. Minnesota.
during the game, we couldn't move Iowa. They'd slide off a block and make a play. They handled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball better than we did. When you can run the ball you can have some success, but we didn't run the ball well today," Kill said.
Iowa DT Louie Trinca-Pasat with
other teammates on gang tackle.

"We knew they were going to run so it always starts up front for us, that's always our focus," said Iowa junior defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat. "As long as we're able to do our job, it helps the linebackers and the defense overall."
Line of Scrimmage
in Battle for
Floyd of Rosedale

Minnesota's interior linemen weigh 326, 321, 306, 302 and 302 pounds. It takes quite a performance to seize an advantage over a group that size.

"(Minnesota) had done a great job running the football and our coaches did a good job with the game plan," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "The guys did a good job during the week getting the plan down and (Saturday) they competed hard. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and there was nothing easy about it. It took full concentration and full effort every play."

But 30 yards? It marks the fourth consecutive game that a team rushed for less than 75 yards against the Hawkeyes: Western Michigan (74 on Sept. 21), Missouri State (70 on Sept. 7) and Iowa State (59 on Sept. 14).
Iowa DT Carl Davis and
DT Darian Cooper post game
with Floyd of Rosedale

"This all started in practice last week," Davis said. "We knew we could win up front if we played physical and that's what we did. We knocked guys back, shed the blockers, and got to the ball and made tackles. We hold ourselves to a high standard as a defensive unit and we want to be as close to perfect as we can because defense wins championships."

Iowa entered the game at Minnesota with two quarterback sacks in four games; it now has six after dropping Phillip Nelson four times. The Hawkeyes recorded a season-high four sacks today. Sophomore DE Nate Meier's 6-yard sack in the second quarter was the first sack of his career. Trinca-Pasat's 6-yard sack in the second quarter was the first sack of his career. Senior MLB James Morris and senior DE Dominic Alvis also recorded sacks for Iowa.

Iowa RB Mark Weisman
On the other side of the ball, the Hawkeyes ran for 246 yards, the fifth time this season they have picked up more than 200 yards on the ground. Leading the way was junior running back Mark Weisman with 147 yards and an average of 6.1 yards a carry.

"Our offensive line did an unbelievable job out there making it easy for us running backs," Weisman said. 

"They have been doing that the whole season and it's fun to run behind them. They don't need any motivation. They want to go in there and beat guys up," Weisman continued in praise of his offensive line.

Ferentz credited the Iowa offensive linemen for working hard and playing relatively penalty-free.

"The most physical team was going to come out with a win and we did that at times," Iowa junior left tackle Brandon Scherff said. "At other times we kind of lacked a little bit, but we got the win and that's what we came here for."

Iowa RB Damon Bullock
"You want to be the best line," Iowa senior right tackle Brett Van Sloten said. "We knew up front (Minnesota) was going to be good. We knew they were going to come out hungry and they did. They played a good game; we were able to get some runs in there and that is a credit to the running backs. They ran their tails off."

When the Hawkeyes needed a clock-chewing, game-clinching drive, they got it. Leading 20-7 early in the fourth quarter, Iowa put together an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive that consumed 5 ½ minutes. The series included eight runs, two completed passes and a 46-yard field goal by Mike Meyer.

"(Offensive line coach) Brian Ferentz mentioned that we had an opportunity to finish there at the end," Van Sloten said. "It was in our hands, the running backs ran great, and we were able to seal the deal."

The Hawkeyes own a 4-1 record with four straight victories, after losing on a last minute field goal in the season opener vs. Northern Illinois. After one week, they are alone on top of the Legends Division. Ohio State (5-0) leads the Leaders Division at 1-0, after a 31-24 win over Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1 in Leaders) in Columbus on Saturday night.  Iowa will travel to Columbus later in October.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz
after the 23-7 win over Minnesota.

"Whether it's ugly or pretty, wins are wins and they're hard to come by," Kirk Ferentz said. "In conference play they are really hard to come by. I'm pleased and I'm pleased for our players. They worked hard for this."

Iowa defeated Minnesota 31-13 in Iowa City last year to reclaim Floyd of Rosedale, after back to back losses.  Iowa has won ten of the last 13 games in the series with Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers head to Ann Arbor for Michigan's Homecoming game in the Battle of the Old Brown Jug and another rivalry game in the Legends Division.

"Our guys really did a great job. They came up with some big plays today on offense and defense. I'm really pleased with this victory," Kirk Ferentz said.
Iowa teammates congratulating
WR Damond Powell after his TD
reception  the 2nd quarter to give
the Hawkeyes a 17-0 lead.

On how he scored his 74-yard touchdown…
“Coach called my number, and I went out there and made a play. I feel like the credit should go to my offensive line, because I didn’t have to do anything except run—they blocked everybody they needed to block, so it was really easy, but it felt real good. It was just a wide receiver screen,” said junior wide receiver Damond Powell.

Powell's 74-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter is Iowa's longest play from scrimmage this season, and the 23rd longest touchdown reception in school history. Powell is averaging 51.5 yards per catch this season (4 catches, 206 yards).

On celebrating the Floyd of Rosedale win…
“It felt really good. We worked really hard this week. We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game with what we were playing for and when you win, it just feels good knowing how hard you worked all week to get the good results,” the junior college transfer, Powell said.

On kicking long field goals…
“Today we got to back it up, but I guess that’s part of the game. It doesn't really change my mindset at all unless, like in the first half, I’m kicking it into the wind. The only thing that would really change is where I put my target for the kick,” Iowa senior placekicker Mike Meyer said.

Iowa PK Mike Meyer
Meyer hit three of four field goals in Iowa's victory over Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium. Meyer has made a school-record 100 consecutive PAT attempts, the sixth longest streak in Big Ten Conference history. That active streak ranks fourth in the nation (Baylor's Aaron Jones, 125; Northwestern's Jeff Budzien 116; Michigan's Brendan Gibbons, 114). Meyer's last PAT miss was in a 37-6 win over Michigan State on Oct. 30, 2010, in Iowa City. As a team, Iowa has gone 35 consecutive games without a missed or blocked PAT. 

On improving each week…
“We’re continuing to make strides. We’re not where we want to be—we all have our flaws that we want to improve on. With that being said, that’s what our daily task is—to improve every day—and right now we’re just going to enjoy this win,” Iowa captain Van Sloten said.

On getting the win…

“It was a great win. Everybody played good. Our defense played awesome, the offense did great, and we held them throughout the game. It’s good to win those trophy games,” Meyer said.

Iowa may become a team to watch in the competitive Legends Division in 2013.

The University of Iowa football team returns to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for its annual Homecoming game.  The Hawkeyes will host Michigan State (3-1), who enjoyed a bye week, after a 17-13 heartbreaking loss at Notre Dame in Week 4.  

The Hawkeyes beat Michigan State in a 19-16 2 OT game in East Lansing last year. It was another physical battle between the Black and Gold and the Spartans, who are considered the best defense in the Big Ten.

Iowa DL coach Reese Morgan
with HC Ferentz communicating
with Iowa defense at Minnesota
On Iowa...
"Every year, you're going to see a team that plays extremely hard. They're going to be fundamentally sound, both offensively and defensively. They're going to do what they do. They're a little bit like us - they do what they do, and they do it well. They sort of pulled themselves together and they're playing very, very well. That's who they are, and they're going to be a well-coached football team," Michigan State head coach Mark 

Dantonio said.

Michigan State head
coach Mark Dantonio
On the plan for the bye week...
"I think today (last Wednesday) is about us, tomorrow is a little bit about Iowa because we have a very solid foundation in terms of who they are. We've been playing them for the last six years. And then you game plan basically next week after we see their game (vs. Minnesota). We'll start to game plan more intensely on Sunday. I think you have to watch who they are as of late. There will be a pretty good idea in terms of what they do as we move into tomorrow," Dantonio said.

Dantonio went onto say, "we'll practice on Sunday. But we'll be off (Friday and Saturday). I think it's good for them to be away a little bit and watch college games. Hopefully, they'll have a chance to go home. You don't have many chances to go home as a college football player. Hopefully they take advantage of that opportunity to go home, and maybe see their high school team play, or just go home and see their family for a day."

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