In the last several years of covering Gophers football we have experienced many Gopher defeats, but never have we witnessed the silent walk to the locker room that happened Saturday after a late loss to Iowa. There was no noise save the clatter of cleats on the concrete tunnel…not even a sneeze.
It was a defensive battle the entire game and Minnesota looked hopeful going into the fourth quarter with the Gophers nursing a 7-6 lead. The Gophers had kept the Iowa offense out of the end zone. The game was shaping out as one would expect in a Big Ten ground and pound physical game with the balance being who can win the battle up front.
Each team had two intercepted the ball twice and save, time of possession and number of plays – Iowa had 10 more plays on offense and almost 10 more minutes of possession, the two teams stats looked quite similar for the game.
So what crushed the spirit of the Gophers, the game was pretty close?
One word, Wadley. On the first play of a Hawkeye drive that started with about five minutes left in the game, on their 46 yard line after a Ryan Santoso punt, Akrum Wadley broke a couple tackles and darted 54 yards (almost 1/3 of the Hawkeyes total rushing yards) for the Hawkeye’s first touchdown of the game. It would prove to be the game winning score. Iowa would punch in the two point conversion bringing the game to 14-7.
The dagger was that after the Gophers final drive, that started at Minnesota’s 12 yard line, fizzled out after marching to the Iowa 18 and turning the ball over on downs to end the game.
Iowa would retain Floyd of Rosedale and leave the Gophers heading off the field in dejected silence. The Gophers will turn their sites to Big Ten east play at Maryland, still hoping for their first Big Ten win.