With a sellout crowd on hand at TCF Bank Stadium for the first time this season, the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team sent their fans home disappointed as The Floyd of Rosedale trophy will ride the bus back to Iowa City after Iowa’s 23-7 win.
The Gophers entered the game sixth in FBS football in total rushing yards and averaged 282.3 yards per game on the year but Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz had his team ready for the Minnesota running attack. The Hawkeyes were able to hold the Minnesota ground game to just 30 total yards on 27 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson returned as the starting quarterback after missing a week with a hamstring injury. The Mankato native was rusty and was only able to lead the Gophers on one scoring drive after a 66-yard kickoff return from Marcus Jones.
The Iowa offense was dominant for the majority of the game. Defensively, Minnesota allowed their second straight opponent to reach over 400 yards of total offense.
With the loss in their Big Ten opener, the Gophers fall to 4-1 on the season. Iowa earned their fourth victory of the year, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Northern Illinois.
Nelson finished the game 12-for-24 with two interceptions and 135 yards to go with the Gophers only touchdown — a 23-yard reception by Derrick Engel.
Nelson’s start was a game-time decision.
“When [Nelson's] good to go, we’re going to play him,” said coach Jerry Kill, who added that Nelson’s start was a game-time decision. “Switching quarterbacks during the game wouldn’t have changed much of our play.”
Kill and the coaching staff have continuously insisted that if Nelson was healthy, he would get the start. His health didn’t look to hurt his play Saturday but his confidence and ability looked shaky to start the game, which put Minnesota in a hole from the get-go.
Minnesota mistakes aside, Iowa deserves a mention for coming out swinging and dominating the Gophers for a second straight year.