By the numbers: Minnesota Gophers

Hawkeye football hits the road to clash with Minnesota, a team that struggles to defend both the run.


Joseph Cress

Minnesota running back Rodney Smith gets tackled by Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell and Jake Gervase during an Iowa/Minnesota football game in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 17-10.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa goes on the road for the first time in the 2018 season to face a Minnesota team that has had more luck than anything.

The Gophers opened up their season by sweeping their nonconference slate against New Mexico State, Fresno State, and Miami (Ohio). Despite opening up the season strong, numerous facets of the team on both sides of the ball have faltered too much for the rest of the season. On Sept. 22, Minnesota showed that standing up to the Big Ten would be a different story, losing to Maryland, 42-13.

If Iowa’s running game can stay on top of its production, its first game away from home shouldn’t be a problem.

123 – Rushing yards lost

Throughout the season, the running game has weakened against stronger defenses. To begin the season against New Mexico State, Minnesota recorded 295 total yards on 47 carries. As the number of team carries stayed the same, the yards dropped dramatically.

Against Fresno State, the Gophers collected 132 yards on 45 carries. Even taking away a season long 74-yard run from the game before, the drop in yards is significant. In the first two games combined, only 30 yards were lost on the run game.

Despite getting the win against Miami (Ohio), the 55 lost rushing yards on the game was staggering from the first two weeks.

613 – Rushing yards allowed

The 613 yards allowed compared with Minnesota’s 762 yards gained doesn’t seem like a big sacrifice, but just as the running game has faltered, the defensive line has also.

Against strong defenses, Minnesota falters, and against strong offenses, as seen from Maryland, it can’t hold its own, either.

In the first three weeks, no team could surpass 100 yards on the ground against the Minnesota defense. Then, in the Gophers’ home-opener, the Terrapins took over the field as though it was their own.

Maryland had a season-high 37 carries for 315 yards. The 6 yards it lost didn’t make a difference.

4 – Interceptions

The Minnesota pass defense racked up 4 interceptions in the first three games, with 2 coming against Fresno State.

As defending the running game has gotten more difficult, taking away the passing option hasn’t.

New Mexico State threw for 233 yards and Fresno State for 212 before finally, the defense stepped up all together against Miami (Ohio), which had fewer than 200 yards of total offense.

Maryland stepped up its running game, which accounted for the majority of its touchdowns, and the passing game only contributed 117 yards and 1 touchdown. The Terrapins only threw 10 passes in the game, with a long coming in at 54 yards.

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