By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa defense showed up in dominating fashion for a second consecutive game in a 35-7 win over Minnesota on Friday.
After allowing 45 points combined in its first two games, Iowa has allowed seven points in each of its last two games, this time against a Minnesota team that was averaging over 36 points per game going into Friday’s contest.
“We had a great scheme set up for this week,” senior defensive lineman Chauncey Golston said. “We just went out there practicing hard all week trying to get better. We knew that if we practiced hard and played hard, all you can do is hope for the best results.”
A large part of Iowa’s success has been forcing turnovers, particularly interceptions.
Iowa has five interceptions in the last two games after picking off Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan twice on Friday.
Iowa now has recorded an interception in 11 consecutive games and also has 61 interceptions since 2017, the most in Football Bowl Subdivision.
“We’re always trying to get takeaways,” junior safety Jack Koerner said. “We have our defensive goals every week, at least three takeaways – whether it be interceptions or fumbles – that’s one of our goals every week. That’s definitely been a point of emphasis.”
Iowa’s defensive line deserves much of the credit, too.
Senior defensive end Zach VanValkenburg was this week’s star.
The transfer from Division II Hillsdale college had five tackles, three sacks and a quarterback hurry on Friday.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound VanValkenburg’s three sacks were the most by an Iowa defensive lineman since A.J. Epenesa had 4.5 sacks against Nebraska in 2019.
“He’s just relentless,” Golston said. “And every day he just comes ready to get better and he has a great mindset. I’m just happy to see that he got his sacks in today and that he’s getting better week by week, day by day.”