Grading Iowa football’s 13-10 road win over Minnesota

Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Austin Hanson broke down the Hawkeyes’ performance against the Gophers in all three phases.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa offensive lineman Mason Richman celebrates a first down after a reception from tight end Sam LaPorta during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 13-10. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

MINNEAPOLIS — The Iowa football team defeated Minnesota, 13-10, Saturday afternoon at Huntington Bank Stadium. The Hawkeyes claimed the Floyd of Rosedale for the eighth consecutive time.

Iowa is 44-42-2 against Minnesota since the teams started playing for Floyd.

After the Hawkeyes picked up a victory over the Golden Gophers in freezing temperatures, Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Austin Hanson graded Iowa in all three phases of the game.

Offense — C-

Iowa’s offense certainly wasn’t the best unit to hit the turf at Huntington Bank Stadium Saturday. The Hawkeyes gained 280 yards on 52 plays. Iowa possessed the ball 10 times, averaging 5.2 plays per drive and 5.4 yards per play.

The Golden Gophers gained 399 yards on offense and possessed the ball for almost 11 more minutes than the Hawkeyes. In spite of those things, Iowa still outscored Minnesota, 13-11.

The Hawkeyes get a C- on offense this week because, while they were atrocious for most of the game, they scored when it mattered. 

Iowa put up 10 points on its first two drives of the game. The Hawkeyes completed a 58-yard pass to tight end Sam LaPorta — who finished the contest with four catches for 95 yards — on the first play of the game. Then, on its ensuing possession, Iowa drove 66 yards in 12 plays to score a touchdown. Quarterback Spencer Petras punched the ball into the end zone from a yard out on a sneak play to put the Hawkeyes’ only touchdown of the game on the board.

After Petras scored, the Hawkeyes went almost 55 minutes without scoring. Iowa broke its scoring drought with 28 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. True freshman kicker Drew Stevens pushed a game-winning field goal through the uprights from 21 yards out.

The Hawkeyes drove 42 yards to set up Stevens’ kick. They got the ball at the Minnesota 45-yard line with a little about two minutes to play thanks to a timely interception from senior linebacker Jack Campbell.

Iowa also deserves a bit of a break because LaPorta and starting fullback Monte Pottebaum went down with injuries in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

Defense — B+

Iowa fans should have mixed feelings about the way the Hawkeyes’ defense performed on Saturday. 

Minnesota gashed Iowa’s run defense throughout the game. The Golden Gophers ran the ball 50 times for 312 yards. Sixth-year senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim racked up 39 carries on his way to a 263-yard, one-touchdown performance.

The Hawkeyes’ run defense ranked eighth in the country before its matchup with Minnesota, letting up 88.6 yards per game. Counting Saturday’s contest, Iowa has allowed 108.9 rushing yards per game this season.

Still, it’s hard to argue that the Hawkeyes didn’t win the game with their defense. Campbell forced Minnesota into back-to-back turnovers late in the fourth quarter. Counting the Gophers’ turnover on downs on the final possession of the game, the Hawkeyes generated three takeaways — all of which came in the fourth quarter.

The fumble Campbell produced came at the Iowa 10-yard line, preventing Minnesota from scoring at the end of the game.

Some might think that the Hawkeye defense deserves an A for its fourth-quarter theatrics. But Iowa had to perform perfectly at the end of the game because of its bad run defense — among other things. So, B+ feels fair for the Iowa defense this week.

Special Teams — A+

Iowa’s special teams greatly impacted Saturday’s game. In frigid temperatures and howling winds, punter Tory Taylor and Stevens elevated the Hawkeyes to a critical victory.

Taylor kicked the ball five times for 212 yards. He downed four of his punts inside the 20-yard line.

Counting the game-winner, Stevens went 2-of-2 on the day. His first quarter make came from 38 yards out.

It’s difficult to give Iowa’s special teams unit credit for Minnesota’s miscues in the punting and kicking game. But the Gophers’ slip-ups did have a significant impact on the game.

Minnesota kicker Matthew Trickett missed a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter, and the Gophers lost by three points.

Gopher punter Logan Richter kicked the ball three times for 119 yards. He didn’t down any of his punts inside the 20.

Even if Iowa didn’t force Minnesota’s special teams mishaps, LeVar Woods’ bunch of Hawkeyes deserve a ton of credit. They had a pivotal hand in propelling Iowa to victory and played mistake free for four quarters.