Iowa 13, Minnesota 10: Bringing the bacon home

Oops, they did it again.

For the third time in the last four games, Minnesota overtook Iowa by over 100 yards – and the end result was the same as the other times: Iowa players lifted Floyd from Rosedale and won again – for the eighth straight season. However, this one will probably sting in Minneapolis for quite a while.

Minnesota pulled off a great all-time performance from superstar running back Mo Ibrahim: 39 carries, 263 yards(!) and a touchdown. After a slow start (6 carries for 14 yards), Ibrahim exploded in the last three quarters: 33 carries and 249 yards. He was absolute dominant a run defense from Iowa that ranked 8th in the country, conceding 88.6 yards per game and 2.55 yards per carry (2nd place). Ibrahim absolutely trashed those stats. Well, Ibrahim and his offensive line, because they played a crucial supporting role in his efforts to tear through Iowa’s defenses. It’s rare for an Iowa front seven to be abused like they were in this game, but credit where it’s due: Minnesota’s stompers absolutely bullied the Hawkeyes. Ibrahim showed great foresight, excellent patience, and an impressive ability to deflect tackles — but it also helped that Minnesota’s offensive line was able to consistently shift the line of scrimmage against Iowa and open up gaping holes. He was often able to go 5-6 yards before anyone in an Iowa jersey even touched him.

For the game, Iowa Minnesota allowed 316 rushing yards; the most rushing yards Iowa have conceded since a 45-29 win over Indiana in 2014 (the Hoosiers had 312 rushing yards). I don’t know the last time Iowa allowed a single running back to rush for 260+ yards in a game, win or lose. (Iowa’s second-highest legal total since 2009 was 250 for Jonathan Taylor in 2019, an Iowa loss to Wisconsin.)

But…did Minnesota lean too much on Ibrahim? Maybe. On a crucial drive in the fourth quarter, when Minnesota went from their own 3-yard line to Iowa’s 13-yard line, Ibrahim carried the ball 14 times (!) for 88 yards. (14 carries for 88 yards is pretty solid Game for a lot of running backs, and Ibrahim did it with a single drive.) He carried the ball on the last 10 games of this trip. That drive, in particular, didn’t end in points — because Ibrahim fumbled on the last pull of the drive and coughed up the ball after a Jack Campbell tackle at the Iowa 10-yard line. Was Ibrahim fumbling because he was exhausted and overworked at that moment? It’s impossible to say, but hard to believe that wasn’t the case some A hit.

That turnover put Iowa’s offense back on the field with five minutes left and offered Spencer Petras a chance to pull off a signature Hawkeye moment, a game-winning drive against a hated rival. Unfortunately, Iowa instead called for three complicated passes, didn’t finish any of them, went three and out, and punched the ball straight back to Minnesota after burning barely a minute by the clock. The message was clear: if Iowa was going to win this game, the defense not only had to force a turnover, they had to get the points.

Credit to Jack Campbell – he heard that message loud and clear. I mean, look at that:

Officially The umpires determined that this wasn’t an incredible pick-six — they said he stepped out of bounds at the 45-yard line. I remain skeptical of that determination (especially after watching the replay, which appeared to show some turf grains between Campbell’s foot and the touchline) and absolutely stunned by the fact that the game didn’t appear to have been reviewed by officials… but still. An absolutely incredible game from Campbell when his team absolutely necessary that something like this happens to have a prayer to win the game. The catch-off-the-tip drill, run-back dodge, and weaving through gophers…simply a brilliant highlight play from a player who has consistently played at a high level for the past three seasons.

Eventually, Not Rulening Campbell’s game with a pick-six probably worked out even better for Iowa, too. The Hawkeyes got the ball back in midfield with two minutes remaining – but fired right into field goal range through a brilliant first-down call from Brian Ferentz, perfectly executed by Spencer Petras and Luke Lachey. After the Minnesota defense looked confused after the sudden switch from Campbell’s interception, Petra’s Luke Lachey threw an absolute laser down center for 33 yards that put Iowa at the Minnesota 12-yard line. A 7-yard run by Leshon Williams brought Iowa even closer – Minnesota’s 3-yard line. There was a bit of drama at the end involving a possible fumble from Williams, a time-out scheme from Iowa, and an eventual game-winning field goal that initially looked like it barely took hold (a subsequent replay showed it didn’t). the close to the post although it was still a pretty ugly ankle bump) but ultimately it didn’t matter. The field goal was good and Iowa beat Minnesota for the eighth straight game.

Lachey made it big in a moment when Iowa desperately needed someone who could also do plays. The offense had looked surprisingly crisp at first, but then fell apart after Sam LaPorta sustained a leg injury in the second quarter that kept him out of action for the rest of the game.

Petras looked sharp early in the game, especially in his ties with LaPorta — even though LaPorta missed over half the game, LaPorta still finished with four catches for 95 yards, which tells you something about the kind of game he had before the had injury. However, Lachey performed admirably in his absence — he had five receptions for 77 yards, including that critical late-game grab that set up Iowa’s game-winning field goal.

Petras finished the game 15/24 (62%) for 223 yards, a rushing touchdown (on Iowa’s patented QB sneak), zero passing touchdown, and zero turnovers. That last stat was crucial because turnovers ultimately decided the game — neither team turned the ball over in the first three quarters, but Ibrahim’s fumble killed a Minnesota drive that looked like it would end in points giving the Gophers the The interception of Kaliakmanis with two minutes remaining set up Iowa’s own game win. Petras handled the ball and successfully moved Iowa’s offense through the air (…sometimes) in a game where running play couldn’t do much (Kaleb Johnson and Leshon Williams combined for 81 yards on 19 carries).

But back to Jack Campbell. He absolutely refused Letting Iowa lose that game in the fourth quarter. His hit on Ibrahim helped force the fumble (recreated by Deontae Craig) that ended a potential scoring drive in Minnesota. His interception ended another drive in Minnesota and led to Iowa’s game-winning field goal. And those games happened on back-to-back drives. Unreal. Overall, Campbell finished with 10 tackles, a QB rush, a forced fumble and an interception. Captain Jack made it big for Iowa in that game and we can’t do anything but give him our cap.

It’s justifiably hilarious and a bit surreal that Iowa manages to keep finding ways to win games like this, especially against Minnesota. The gophers keep finding rakes to step on or doorknobs to open straight into their tails when playing Iowa, which is immensely satisfying. Is any of this logical? Not really. Is that sustainable at all? Probably not.

Hawkeye Devil Magic rides again, friends. One day Iowa will be burned by this reliance on smoke and mirrors and opportunistic nonsense. But today is not that day. Because today, Floyd of Rosedale is staying home in Iowa (technically he’s returning to Iowa), and that makes it a very good day.