Hawkeyes squeaky in victory

Hawkeyes+squeaky+in+victory

MINNEAPOLIS — Iowa needed a win against Minnesota. Badly.

After losing to Northwestern on Oct. 1, the entire team seemed to be in disarray. There were penalties and missed tackles. Drops, missed throws, and poor blocking. All sorts of issues no one really expected this team to have.

But there they were, and once Big Ten season hit, they didn’t come across as “early in the season” problems but deep underlying issues. And some of those problems still came up against Minnesota and probably will again.

The Hawkeyes are just not the same team they were last year, and that’s just the reality.

But for one week, in a rivalry game, the Hawkeyes needed a win. They needed it to give them a little bit of confidence. They needed it to stay in the race for the Big Ten West Division title.

Most importantly, however, they needed it so a bad loss to Northwestern didn’t turn into a whole slew of losses in a row. Sliding into the second half of the season on a losing streak would have been disastrous, considering Iowa hasn’t seen Wisconsin, Michigan, or Nebraska yet.

But the defense played lights-out, quarterback C.J. Beathard was only sacked onceand had plenty of time to throw, and the running game produced some big moments.

For whatever reason, this trip to Minneapolis kind of had the feel the 2014 season had. Iowa was a little wounded, and this felt like a game where the Gophers could have taken control and not let up.

But Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner is bad and made things much easier for Iowa than they could have been. In fact, he didn’t even complete a pass until right around the four-minute mark. In the second quarter.

This is a game everyone thought the Gophers had a pretty good chance at winning, and perhaps Iowa used that as motivation, as if they actually needed any. Nothing about the first half made sense. Little in the second did, either.

It came across as the type of game that later we would all look back on and say, “Ah, yes, this is where things for the Hawkeyes went from not good to really not good.” It just fit the general narrative of this season that the Hawkeyes would fall apart in TCF Bank Stadium, just as they did two years ago.

But they didn’t and avoided disaster on a cool fall day in the Twin Cities.

Floyd is back in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes are 2-0 in rivalry games and head next to West Lafayette for a date with a bad Purdue team. Then again, that bad Purdue team managed to beat a really bad Illinois team on Saturday. It doesn’t feel like a trap game, but might have if Iowa would have gotten eviscerated in Minneapolis.

Now it just feels like a game I don’t really want to watch, mostly because the Boilermakers are awful and there will be all of 10 people in Ross-Ade Stadium.

But hey, Iowa still needs wins to reach bowl eligibility and it’s a chance to grab another.

Facebook Comments