Hawkeyes end Gophers’ perfect season

Another blackout game in Kinnick calls for another top-10 team falling.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson carries the ball during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Iowa fell behind in the Big Ten West by a wide margin with a loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 9, but that didn’t matter when the Hawkeyes took on Minnesota at Kinnick Saturday.

Iowa got off to a hot start and didn’t let up, as the Hawkeyes downed Minnesota 23-19, ending the Gophers’ perfect season.

The Hawkeyes did just enough to stave off a surging Gopher offense in the second half.

After going into halftime with a 20-6 lead, Minnesota marched down the field on its first drive to pull within seven.

Iowa punted on its next drive, and the Gophers continued driving on their next drive despite starting at their own 10-yard line. Minnesota used chunk plays to wide receivers Tyler Johnson and Chris Autman-Bell to drive down the field, including a 30-yard pass to Johnson on a third down.

Iowa had two chances at turnovers on the drive, but Jack Koerner dropped an interception and Minnesota jumped on a fumble forced by A.J. Epenesa.

Eventually, Minnesota faced a fourth-and-4 from Iowa’s 14. Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan found Johnson wide open on a slant to the left side, but Johnson dropped it.

Iowa freshman defensive back Dane Belton was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after hitting Johnson late on the play, but Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck was simultaneously penalized for the same infraction, giving Iowa the ball.

From there, Iowa’s Keith Duncan hit a field goal, and when the Gophers scored to make it 23-19, they missed the extra point. After Minnesota burned all of its timeouts, it ran out of time to put together a game-winning drive.

Freshman running back Tyler Goodson — who recorded the first start of his career against the Gophers — led the way for Iowa, running for 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. His performance on the Hawkeyes’ first drive, which led to his touchdown, allowed Iowa to gain confidence early.

In the passing game, Tyrone Tracy hauled in six passes for 77 yards, while Nate Stanley threw for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-23 passing.

Kristian Welch made his presence felt in his return to the field on defense, racking up a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss while leading the team with 11 tackles.

A.J. Epenesa followed in a similar fashion, recording 2.5 sacks. and a forced fumble. His sack with just over a minute left helped the Hawkeyes hold on for the win.

Next, Iowa faces Illinois at Kinnick on Nov. 23 at 11 a.m.

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