By Pat Harty
At this rate, Floyd of Rosedale might have to start paying state taxes in Iowa.
The legendary bronze statue of a pig that goes to the winner of the Iowa-Minnesota football game will continue to reside in Iowa City where it has proudly been on display since 2015.
Iowa defeated Minnesota 35-7 on Friday in Minneapolis to extend its winning streak to an all-time series high six consecutive games against the Gophers.
Iowa is the only team in the Big Ten West Division that Minnesota hasn’t defeated under head coach P.J. Fleck.
Iowa also hasn’t trailed Minnesota in a game since the 2016 season, and just missed holding the Gophers scoreless for the third time since 2008.
Minnesota scored a touchdown with 14 seconds remaining to avoid a shutout.
The Gophers called a timeout before finally scoring in the closing seconds, but Iowa countered by using all three of its timeouts, which seemed to be Kirk Ferentz’s way of sending a message to Fleck.
“We figured we’d take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here,” Kirk Ferentz said.
Minnesota’s sieve-like defense had no answer for Iowa’s ground attack, especially in the case of Tyler Goodson.
The dynamic sophomore from Suwanee, Ga., rushed for 142 yards and scored two touchdowns as Iowa evened its record at 2-2 on the season.
Iowa finished with 236 rushing yards, and is the latest opponent to shred Minnesota on the ground.
Minnesota, in losses to Michigan and Maryland, had allowed 256 and 281 rushing yards, respectively.
Goodson and backup running back Mekhi Sargent were the beneficiaries of some huge holes carved out by Iowa’s veteran offensive line, although, it wasn’t as veteran as usual with redshirt freshman guard Justin Britt getting significant playing time for the first time in his career.
“The game plan was to be able to be successful in the run game, and obviously, we were able to do that,” Goodson said. “Our o-line did a fantastic job of just getting to their blocks and honing in on the fundamentals and that allowed us to get open holes to run through.”
The best thing Iowa sophomore quarterback Spencer Petras did was handoff to the running backs and limit his turnovers to just one interception.
Petras showed that he still is very much a work in progress in his fourth career start, but the ultimate goal for any quarterback is to win, and right now, Iowa has won two games in a row behind Petras.
This game was decided mostly by Iowa’s overpowering rushing attack, and by Phil Parker’s rock-solid defense.
Goodson ran wild behind a dominant offensive line, while the Gophers ran nowhere close to the end zone on offense.
It was vintage Iowa football under Kirk Ferentz, or, at least what Iowa aspires to be under Ferentz.
“We had to be successful up front if we were going to have a chance to win this football game,” Kirk Ferentz said.
Iowa’s running game has tendency to sputter under Kirk Ferentz, but that hardly was the case on Friday.
Iowa dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage, and if I’m a Gopher fan, I’m wondering why.
I’m wondering why my offense barely fired a shot, why my defense couldn’t even come close to containing Iowa’s running game, and why we’ve lost six games in a row to the Hawkeyes.
The Gophers have made considerable strides under Fleck, including winning 11 games last season. But the team that played on Friday left much to be desired on both offense and defense while falling to 1-3 on the season.
Cornerback Riley Moss and safety Jack Koerner both had interceptions for Iowa as they both continue to show a nose for the ball.
Moss returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown against Michigan State last Saturday, while Koerner now has three interceptions in four game this season.
Friday’s victory came in a week in which 13 black former Iowa players filed a civil lawsuit accusing the University of Iowa, head coach Kirk Ferentz, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz and Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta of racial discrimination and mistreatment.
What happens on the field won’t necessarily help Iowa in this case, but to win back-to-back Big Ten games in convincing fashion shows progress, and is reason for hope.
Iowa crushed Michigan State 49-7 last Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
“As a team, I think we’re really finding out who we are,” Goodson said. “We’re starting to play collectively and hitting on all cylinders. So I think from now on, it’s just all about taking baby steps and being able to profess each and every day.”
Sophomore receiver Nico Ragaini scored Iowa’s first touchdown on a 1-yard jet sweep with 5:42 left in the first quarter. Keith Duncan converted the point-after kick to give Iowa a 7-0 advantage.
Four of Iowa seven plays on the drive covered at least 10 yards, and Iowa never faced a third down.
It was reminiscent of the 2019 Holiday Bowl when Iowa used receivers on jet sweeps to score two touchdowns during the 49-24 victory.
It was also the start to a beat-down in which Iowa looked vastly superior to the Gophers.
It helped that TCF Bank Stadium was mostly empty due to the global pandemic, but a bunch of screaming fans wouldn’t have changed what happened on the line of scrimmage.
This was a drubbing, and just what the embattled Iowa program needed.