Gophers Football: With Floyd on the line, pressure is up on Leidner


Sep 21, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner (7) drops back for a pass in the first quarter against the San Jose State Spartans at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Minnesota’s football team will begin their Big Ten season against rival Iowa in a Homecoming game at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday with bragging rights and The Floyd of Rosedale Trophy on the line Saturday afternoon.

Minnesota has run through their non-conference schedule using two quarterbacks and three running backs to put up 282 rushing yards per game which puts them 13th in the nation. Last week in their toughest game to date, the Gophers rushed for 353 yards against San Jose State en route to a 43-24 win.

Iowa did much of the same last week against Western Michigan. The Hawkeyes ran for 258 yards as they routed Western Michigan 59-3.

The battle for Floyd could come down to who can stop the others’ rushing attack.  Both teams have solid defenses, which means that the quarterbacks will have to make big plays with their arms.

Mitch Leidner, taking over for the injured Philip Nelson, played great last week, rushing for 151 yards and four touchdowns, but his passing game was poor, completing 5 of 12 attempts for 71 yards.

With Leidner getting the start against Iowa, Minnesota will need their quarterback to find success through the air.

To the contrary, Iowa isn’t beating teams with their passing attack but they are at least effective through the air. Sophomore quarterback, Jake Rudock, has thrown for over 700 yards and five touchdowns to just three interceptions in the Hawkeyes first three games.

The game is evenly matched and could come down to one or two plays that will decide the outcome but the difference could come down to home-field advantage. TCF Bank Stadium will be sold out on Saturday and the Hawkeyes have never won at the half-decade old stadium, losing in both 2010 and 2011.