Offense leads Hawkeyes over Gophers

The Hawkeyes put together a dominant 20-point first half to topple the No. 7 Gophers at Kinnick on Saturday.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley makes a pass during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 23-19. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

In Iowa’s 23-19 win over No. 7 Minnesota on Saturday night, an offense that showed glitters of potential a week ago showed up in full force right out of the gate to beat an undefeated foe in Kinnick Stadium.

Led by Nate Stanley and anchored by the likes of Tyler Goodson, Ihmir-Smith Marsette and Tyrone Tracy, the offense racked up 221 yards of total offense in the first half – 113 on the ground and 108 through the air.

“[Stanley] played a tremendous game, credit to him,” Smith-Marsette said. “We just followed behind him, we talked about someone stepping up, taking control, and that’s one thing he did, and he led everybody down the right path today.”

Stanley himself recorded three rushes for 16 yards, including an eight-yard run that resulted in him taking it himself for a first down when no other options were present.

“[Stanley] running the football tonight helped us certainly, him pulling it down,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I think any time a quarterback will do that, do it wisely, it helps. That was a pretty slick move. I didn’t expect to see that.”

Stanley connected on 14 of his 23 pass attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Smith-Marsette and Tracy were his main targets, combining for 10 receptions for 120 yards and a score.

Goodson ran the ball 13 times for 97 yards and one touchdown throughout the game, and the way the offensive line held together allowed Iowa to post 117 rushing yards and break 100 against a ranked opponent for the first time this season. Its previous high was 87 at Wisconsin on Nov. 9.

“[Stanley] is our senior quarterback; we expect him to lead our team,” Ferentz said. “Like I’ve said all season long, it takes everybody. It’s not just one guy. You need protection, you need receivers doing something. Part of it tonight, we’re catching the ball and running, making yards, scoring touchdowns, that type of thing. It’s a team effort.”

As with a week ago at Wisconsin, when Iowa had just 27 passing yards through the air, it was largely a one-half driven offense.

After going into halftime with a 20-6 lead, Minnesota outscored Iowa 13-3 in the second half. The Gophers tacked on 181 passing yards in the second half compared to Iowa’s 65.

Despite the lack of second-half production, Iowa’s defense stepped up in key moments to keep Minnesota trailing. Four second-half sacks led to a loss of 24 rushing yards for Minnesota in the second half, and the game ended on an interception by Riley Moss. That team mentality helped Iowa continue a trend that it’s been very good at keeping: beating undefeated teams in November at Kinnick.

“The second half when the offense wasn’t getting the ball as much, the defense was holding them,” Stanley said. “In the first half, everybody was playing great. It’s extremely awesome and extremely special to go out and do that with those guys.”


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