One of the things that makes Big Ten football rivalries cooler than most is the presence of all the trophies, especially all the ones that have some kind of historical meaning behind them. FWIW, I still don’t fully understand what the bull for the Wisconsin game means. Floyd of Rosedale, on the other hand, may be my favorite trophy in all of college sports. Where else can you play for a 90-lb bronze pig? The Minnesota-Iowa rivalry has been mostly controlled by Iowa during Kirk Ferentz’s tenure, who has won 11 of 17 by an average margin of victory of 18 points. Regardless, given how Iowa has looked the last few weeks and Mitch Leidner’s apparent hatred for the Hawkeyes, things are pretty uncomfortable in Hawkeye land.
But before we go there, let’s revisit happier times. You know, that time where Iowa ran the table in the regular season? Last year’s Floyd game featured a total 180 for Ferentz on a non-football issue. For the first time under his watch, Iowa wore Nike pro-combat alternate uniforms (not those fake throwbacks from years prior). The stage was set for the showdown. Iowa was 9-0 for the first time since the 2009 Orange Bowl season and was inching closer to a berth in the B1G Championship.
A night game at Kinnick. New uniforms. Undefeated season. A pig. What more could you want?
Iowa had a bit of trouble putting away the Gophers, but were pretty firmly in control of the game. The Hawkeyes held the ball for 10 more minutes, ran 18 more plays, and racked up over 500 yards of offense (this is Iowa we’re talking about right?). Iowa won 40-35 and moved to 10-0 for the first time in school history, en route to the B1G Championship. Sweet revenge after the Rodents humiliated Iowa in Minneapolis the year before.
How did Minnesota’s season go? So-so. Minnesota finished the regular season 5-7 before beating Central Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl. Minnesota had more important issues than their record, however. Popular coach Jerry Kill was forced to retire mid-season after suffering another epileptic seizure. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys replaced Kill to finish out the season and was handed a three-year contract afterward. Minnesota was respectable in its games against stronger opponents, but didn’t beat anyone of significance.
Who played well for the Gophers? The aforementioned Leidner saves his best games for the Hawkeyes. Leidner had a menacingly good outing, going 19-27 for 259 yards and a TD, while running for 32 yards and another score. This was after he went 10-13 for 138 yards and 4 TD’s and another 78 rushing yards the year before. In addition to Leidner, KJ Maye and Brandon Lingen both went over 100 yards receiving.
Who played well for the Hawkeyes? Well LeShun Daniels stuffed it right down the Gopher hole (pun). He went for 195 yards rushing and 3 TD’s on 26 attempts. CJ Beathard wasn’t too shabby either, going 18-26 for 213 yards and rushing for an additional 50 yards.
Who is returning that gave the Hawks trouble last time? Well Leidner is back yet again, looking to exact his personal vendetta against the Hawkeyes. Lingen is back at TE, but is out with an injury. Sophomore Shannon Brooks had a respectable game against the Hawkeyes last year and provides a complement to the Gopher RB committee.
Bonus Highlights (whatever happened to the goal posts?!?!?):
Keep Floyd home!