By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Welcome to life in the Big Ten West, where a team can possess the ball for one-third of the game, be outgained by over 100 rushing yards and still, somehow, pull out a victory.
That’s exactly what happened in Iowa’s 27-22 win over Minnesota on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at Kinnick Stadium.
It is the Hawkeyes’ seventh consecutive victory in the battle for the Floyd of Rosedale.
Iowa allowed Minnesota to rush for 189 yards and convert 23 first downs, but still came away with the win.
“We were doing a good job on the run especially in the first half,” senior defensive end Zach VanValkenburg said. “In the second half it came down to first and second down not allowing them to have third and short, things like that.”
Iowa also committed the only turnover of the night when senior receiver Nico Ragaini fumbled with 4:17 left in the first half, which led to a Minnesota field goal that gave the Golden Gophers the lead at halftime after they melted the final four minutes off the clock. It was the first time Minnesota had held a lead against Iowa since 2016.
In the end, Minnesota controlled the ball for 40:02 and Iowa for 19:40. Granted, the Hawkeyes were helped by short touchdown drives, one of which lasted one play when Padilla, who was making his first career start in place of the injured Spencer Petras, hit senior receiver Charlie Jones for a 72-yard bomb to give the Hawkeyes a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Jones also had a 34-yard catch to give him a career-high 106 receiving yards on the day and the 72-yarder was Iowa’s longest play of the season.
“First of all, that was a great play for us and a perfect time for it,” Jones said. “We knew that the defender was going to be playing outside of me, and it was just a double move route, where you fake the out and go to the post. Alex threw a great ball, right where I could get it and I had a lot of space. I knew I was going to have to lay out to catch it and it worked out for us.”
Perhaps even weirder than the box score from Saturday was Iowa’s final possession of the game. The Hawkeyes turned Minnesota over on downs at its own 3-yard line with 2:18 left to play and Iowa leading 24-22.
Iowa’s next three plays included two quarterback sneaks and a Tyler Goodson rushing attempt that lost four yards before the Hawkeyes took a delay of game penalty and senior kicker Caleb Shudak made a 29-yard field goal.
“We were trying to get them to use their final timeout, trying not to score,” sophomore quarterback Alex Padilla said. “We were trying to score on the third play of that drive, unfortunately we weren’t able to, but you just take the points.”
Injury Report: Junior cornerback Terry Roberts missed his second consecutive game due to an undisclosed injury.
Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Mason Richman also missed his second consecutive game and senior running back Ivory Kelly-Martin missed his third consecutive game.
Series Lead: Iowa now owns a 43-42-2 in the all-time series and has won 17 of the last 21 meetings. The Hawkeyes also are 21-5 in their last 26 rivalry trophy games.