Iowa hunts for turnovers against Minnesota

The Hawkeyes will defend Floyd of Rosedale against Minnesota in their first road game of the season.

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Iowa hunts for turnovers against Minnesota

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley drops back during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies 33-7.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley drops back during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies 33-7.

Nick Rohlman

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley drops back during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies 33-7.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley drops back during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. during Iowa's game against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies 33-7.

Jordan Zuniga, Football Reporter

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After a week off, Iowa football is back; however, for the first time this season, it won’t play in Kinnick.

This week, the Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) will fire up the buses and head north to take on Minnesota (3-1, 0-1).

It’s unusual for Iowa to have its first road game come this late in the season, and, coming off a bye week, there is the possibility of a flat start.

That is why the Hawkeyes’ principal focus Saturday will be to start the game revved and ready to go.

“It will be a little different being the first road game of the season,” Keegan Render said. “Getting off to a fast start is going to be key for us.”

While running the football effectively early on will be an important part to jump-starting the offense, Nate Stanley and the passing game will hope to keep up the production it has had the past few games.

Over his last two games, Stanley has put up 565 yards with 4 touchdowns while also maintaining a 72.5 percent completion rate.

Those numbers are impressive, and in an Iowa offense, it’s enough to win a lot of games. Also worth noting is that his last game was against a team that held him to 41 yards the season before.

Stanley has matured over the past year or so into a dependable leader under center, which has helped Iowa’s offensive progress.

“He’s vocal and a hell of a leader,” Nick Easley said. “He does a good job in the huddle, he’s a guy everybody looks up to, and I think he’s leading us in the right direction.”

While the Hawkeye offense continues to improve, the defense will hope to continue to impress everybody (but the Badgers) against the Gophers. Iowa’s defensive line has punished quarterbacks and running backs alike through the first four games of the season, but that has resulted in a lack of picks for the secondary.

The Iowa secondary has managed just 2 interceptions up to this point, and the defense as a whole has only forced 5 total.

“We just need to do a better job of taking advantage of those opportunities,” safety Jake Gervase said. “When the ball is up in the air, we [need to] go get it. Then gang-tackling, if you’re the second or third guy in on the running back, try to rip that ball out and force the fumble.”

This is a game that turnover opportunities may arise, because Minnesota will have a true freshman at quarterback in Zach Annexstad, who threw 2 picks in his last game, against Maryland.

However, more important than forcing turnovers in Saturday’s game is making sure they don’t turn over the Floyd of Rosedale.

Every game might be important, but getting a trophy for winning a game will certainly help flavor the victory.

“Trophy games don’t change our preparation,” Gervase said. “But they do add a little more incentive. We have Floyd now, and we want to keep him home.”

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