The Fifth Quarter: Hawkeyes Enjoy ‘Incredible Opportunity’

MINNEAPOLIS — Five things to think about after the Iowa soccer team’s 13-10 win over Minnesota on Saturday:

1. The good

Things were as good as they get for Iowa as it exited Huntington Bank Stadium on a cold November night.

The Hawkeyes beat a longtime rival to win a trophy game for the second straight week, winning their seventh game of the season and their fourth straight.

Most importantly, the Hawkeyes now control their own destiny in the West Division of the Big Ten and are one win away from capturing at least part of their second straight title and playing a second straight year in the Big Ten Championship Game .

Having that opportunity in Friday’s 3 p.m. game against Nebraska is a long way from 3-4 and something Iowa players don’t take for granted.

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“It would mean a lot,” said Kaevon Merriweather, senior safety. “You don’t always get that opportunity. This would be the second time I could hold this trophy and go to Indy. It’s an incredible opportunity, an incredible opportunity that we have before us.”

2. The better than good

There were a few notable wins that came during the Hawkeyes’ win on Saturday.

Kicker Drew Stevens had field goals from 38 and 21 yards, the latter being the game-winning kick with 28 seconds remaining.

The last field goal was the 15th of 17 attempts this season and put Stevens past Nate Kaeding and Mike Meyer for the most field goals scored as a freshman in Iowa program history.

Both Iowa and Minnesota made some history in the first clean game at the Football Bowl subdivision level since the 1986 Army-Navy games. It was also the Hawkeyes’ first clean try since they went without a penalty in an Outback Bowl win over Mississippi State in 2019.

Speaking of history, the Hawkeye defense and coach Kirk Ferentz also did a little.

The Iowa defense has now conceded 10 or fewer points in eight games, the first time a Hawkeye team has done it since 1929, when Iowa conceded just 28 points throughout its eight-game season.

With the win, Ferentz won his 115th Big Ten game and now shares third place with Amos Alonzo Stagg on the conference all-time list. He is only behind Woody Hayes (153) and Bo Schembechler (143).

3. You enjoy it while it lasts

Take a moment to appreciate the play of Iowa’s Jack Campbell and Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim in Saturday’s game.

Both delivered incredibly spectacular performances.

Campbell delivered two game-changing plays in the final minutes of Hawkeye’s win.

He forced a fumble for the third time in his career, with 5 minutes and 7 seconds to go when he knocked the ball out of Ibrahim’s hands and Deontae Craig tagged it.

Three minutes later, he recorded the fifth interception of his career when he intercepted a pass broken by Riley Moss and returned it 30 yards to set up Iowa’s game-winning field goal.

The senior linebacker also finished the tournament with 10 tackles and, in his seventh game of the season, climbed to 20th on Iowa’s career tackle chart with 10 or more tackles.

Ibrahim’s fumble was only his fourth carry in his 846 career, and while the timing couldn’t have been better for Iowa, it did little to diminish the way he ran through the Hawkeye defense.

His career-best 263 rushing yards on 39 carries in the sixth-grader’s last home game of his career was a special achievement.

“He’s a beast,” said Iowa tight end Luke Lachey, reflecting on his perspective on Ibrahim’s work.

4. The not so good

The running game – both generating and defending – proved problematic for Iowa.

Kaleb Johnson led the Hawkeyes for the fifth time this season with a 43-yard play on eight carries that was part of a 59-yard rushing performance by Iowa as a team.

It was the seventh time this season that the Hawkeyes have finished a game with fewer than 100 rushing yards. Iowa is 3-4 in these games.

The 312 yards the Hawkeyes gave up on the ground was only the fourth time an Iowa opponent has rushed for more than 100 yards on the Iowa defense this season. Saturday’s win was the first for the Hawkeyes in those games.

“We missed a lot of tackles and we have a lot of cleaning up to do this week,” said Iowa linebacker Seth Benson.

5. The credit where it is due

Minnesota coach PJ Fleck called Saturday’s game, the Golden Gophers’ eighth consecutive loss in the fight for Floyd of Rosedale, a “brave play” by both teams.

“We had our chances but didn’t take them. Iowa took advantage of it,” Fleck said. “It was one of those games. It was a rivalry game, very close, could have gone either way. We had our chances. It would add up to three or four games and it did.”

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