Iowa defeats Minnesota for seventh consecutive year, keeps Floyd Of Rosedale in Iowa City

The Hawkeyes improved to 8-2 on the season with a 27-22 win over the Gophers.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa defensive end Joe Evans and defensive back Jack Koerner carry the Floyd of Rosedale after a football game between No. 19 Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated Gophers 27-22.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The Floyd of Rosedale Trophy is staying in Iowa City for another year.

The No. 20 Iowa football team defeated Minnesota, 27-22, at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for its seventh consecutive win in the series. The Gophers had the ball across midfield in the final seconds of the game with a chance to win, but Hawkeye defensive end Joe Evans strip sacked Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan to seal Iowa’s victory.

“These games are tough, they’re physical,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s what you expect in this conference. You expect it in November. I’m just really proud of our guys. It’s certainly great to have Floyd back in our building for another year.”

Morgan threw a 68-yard touchdown to wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell with 5:28 remaining in the game to bring Minnesota to within two points. Iowa tipped the 2-point conversion pass attempt and it fell incomplete to keep the Hawkeyes up 24-22.

Minnesota got the ball back twice with an opportunity to take the lead after that touchdown. The first drive ended after the Gophers couldn’t convert a fourth-and-17 from their own 3-yard line. The Hawkeyes ended up kicking a field goal after taking over deep in the red zone, giving the Gophers one last drive with 39 seconds left in the game. Instead of going for a touchdown right away on that drive, Iowa tried to burn game clock and force Minnesota to use its last timeout. On third down, when Iowa was actually trying to score, running back Tyler Goodson lost four yards on a play that was blown up in the backfield.

“There are two ways to go. You just try to go score right now, which I think [Minnesota] would’ve been happy with,” Ferentz said. “The other thing, we wanted to burn a little clock. It’s five points or it’s whatever it would’ve been. I felt like our defense would be OK with the time that they got back.”

Ferentz’s trust in his defense ended up paying off, and the Hawkeyes swarmed the North end zone as the game ended to escort Floyd to the locker room in front of a sold-out Kinnick Stadium crowd.

Iowa has not lost to Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium since 1999. The last time the Gophers defeated the Hawkeyes at all was in 2014. Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck has yet to beat Iowa in his five years leading the Gophers.

Padilla provides spark in first start

Iowa trailed 13-10 at halftime after a Nico Ragaini fumble late in the second quarter set up a Minnesota field goal. It marked the first time the Hawkeyes trailed the Gophers since 2016.

But on the first play of Iowa’s second drive of the third quarter, the Hawkeyes took back the lead. On first down at his own 28-yard line, Padilla dropped back and saw wide receiver Charlie Jones wide open over the middle of the field. Jones juked out his defender on a double move and caught Padilla’s pass in stride for a 72-yard touchdown that gave the Hawkeyes a 17-13 lead.

“Charlie ran a great route, really had the corner on his heels. Just ran right by him, he was wide open,” Padilla said. “It was one of those ones you are trying not to overthrow because he was so wide open, but he ran a great route. Offensive line, you know, tremendous protection all night. Easy. When he is wide open like that you just have to get him the ball, and he did the rest.”

Iowa never relinquished its lead after that.

The touchdown pass was the first of Padilla’s Hawkeye career. The redshirt sophomore scored his first rushing touchdown in an Iowa uniform in the first half. Padilla went 11-of-24 passing for 206 yards and three total touchdowns in the first start of his Hawkeye career.

“Going out there in the first half, seeing the entire crowd in Kinnick for my first start, [I was] just super excited,” Padilla said. “Couldn’t imagine being in this position when I was a kid, but it was something I have always dreamed of.”

Ferentz declined to name Padilla the starter for Iowa next week against Illinois, saying he will see what happens in practice throughout the week. Spencer Petras dressed for Saturday’s game, but could not have thrown, per Ferentz. Iowa’s 23rd-year head coach said he feels good about Iowa’s quarterback situation and is confident in Padilla or Petras to start.

Turning point

Defensive lineman Logan Lee blocked a Minnesota field goal attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter while Iowa led 17-16.

After that blocked field goal, Iowa only needed six plays to extend its lead. Iowa wide receiver Keagan Johnson broke through two Minnesota tackles on a wide receiver screen play and ran 27 yards to the end zone to give the Hawkeyes an eight-point cushion in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t have an answer,” Johnson said when asked about how he managed to score on the play. “In my head, all I was thinking was, ‘Stay up and run.’ When I did stay up, all I saw was green grass.”

Minnesota running game gives Iowa fits

Minnesota controlled the time of possession for most of the game with its rushing attack. The Gophers ran for 189 yards against the Hawkeye defense and held possession for over 40 minutes of game time.

“Looking back, we’ve got to get off the field a little quicker than that,” Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell said. “But it says a lot about those guys on the field. We fought for 40 minutes on the field. I’m proud of those guys.”

Campbell led Iowa with 17 tackles and avoided a targeting penalty in the second half that would have ejected him from the game and prevented him from playing in the first half of next week’s game against Illinois.

Big picture

Iowa improves to 8-2 overall this season and 5-2 in Big Ten play.

There was a four-way tie atop the Big Ten West entering Saturday, but after losses by Minnesota and Purdue (to Ohio State), that’s down to a two-way tie between Iowa and Wisconsin.

The Hawkeyes now have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Gophers in the race toward the Big Ten West title. Iowa and Wisconsin both defeated division opponents on Saturday and are tied atop the West. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes, 27-7, in Madison on Oct. 30. Iowa would win the division if it won both its final two games against Illinois and Nebraska and if Wisconsin dropped at least one game to Nebraska or Minnesota.

After dropping consecutive games by double-digits to Purdue and Wisconsin, Iowa has now won back-to-back games.

Up next

Iowa returns to Kinnick Stadium for its final home game of the 2021 season next week against Illinois. The Fighting Illini are 4-6 overall this season and 3-4 in the Big Ten. Illinois was on a bye week this past week but beat Minnesota, 14-6, the last time it played.

This is the first time the Hawkeyes will play the Bret Bielema-coached Illini.

The Senior Day game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. and will air on FS1.

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