Halftime reactions – Iowa vs. Minnesota

Iowa leads Minnesota, 28-17, at halftime. Pregame Editor Adam Hensley and Assistant Sports Editor Anna Kayser give their first-half takeaways.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during Iowa’s game against Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.

Adam Hensley and Anna Kayser

Iowa’s passing game is streaking right now.

MINNEAPOLIS — Well, I’m not sure I expected Iowa’s passing attack to come out as it did against Minnesota, but here we are.

Nate Stanley has been on the money for almost every throw he’s tossed so far in the first half.

Through two quarters, Stanley is 16-for-25 with 216 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Stanley’s interception in the second quarter was a head-scratcher, though. I’m not sure if anyone knows what exactly he was doing on that play, and it led to 7 points for the Gophers, just moments after they had tossed a pick of their own.

But on the bright side, Stanley found his wide receivers. They’ve secured 11 receptions, 68.7 percent of Stanley’s completions. Nick Easley leads the bunch with 6 catches, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette heads the yardage pack, gaining 69 in the first half.

Iowa hasn’t looked sharp on the ground, however, rushing for just 43 yards on 17 carries (2.5 yards per carry).

But the running backs played an instrumental role through the air. Ivory Kelly-Martin hauled in two big catches, a 15-yard grab and a 25-yarder.

Iowa’s questionable aerial miscue toward the end of the second half ended up costing the Hawkeyes a potential 28-10 halftime lead, but because they receive the second-half kickoff, look for the Black and Gold to continue attacking through the air.

Adam Hensley

Iowa’s defensive line doesn’t budge.

Iowa’s defense wasn’t broken by Wisconsin. Now, it’s back with a vengeance.

The defensive line proved this right away and never stopped. Defensive end Anthony Nelson took down Minnesota quarterback Zack Annexstad three times in the half, with another sack coming from Chauncey Golston. In all, Annexstad was on the ground four times for a loss of 24 yards.

In the secondary, true freshman Riley Moss was challenged time and time again when Annexstad went through the air. The coverage hurt the Hawkeyes in the beginning, but it slowly but surely got better through the half.

After a pass-interference call handed Minnesota 15 yards, Moss (hopefully) learned to get turned around in those situations.

The next time he was thrown to, Moss turned his back to the receiver and went up for the ball, and it paid off. The interception halted a possible score for the Gophers.

Minnesota has figured out that the way to gain ground on the Hawkeye defense is through the air instead of on the ground. The secondary is going to have to be strong to shut down the Gophers.

Anna Kayser

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