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Minnesota v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Oh boy. Another year, another helping of bacon for your Iowa Hawkeyes. That was a good game in the worst way possible. Here’s how Iowa got its hard-earned victory:

Iowa had probably its best opening drive of the season, where the Hawkeyes marched down the field 68 yards for a touchdown to draw first blood. Nate Stanley had back-to-back first down passes of over 20 yards, where he found TJ Hockenson and Nick Easley for 22 and 25 yards, respectively.

Akrum Wadley did Akrum Wadley things and found his way to the endzone.

Minnesota had a better outing on its second offensive possession, driving down to Iowa’s seven yard-line. The Gophers went for it on fourth down and Demry Croft overthrew his receiver to force a punt.

Kasino Kirk then called a deep play-action for Nate Stanely on its first play of its third offensive drive. Stanley threw a beautiful ball. And Ihmir Smith-Marsette let it bounce off his fingers into the hands of Jacob Huff. It wasn’t an interception, but they allowed it. Minnesota ball.

Minnesota and Iowa traded interceptions, as Jake Gervase picked off a Josh Jackson tip in Iowa’s end zone. Jackson us having himself a really nice year, punt returning aside. Matt VandeBerg also seemed to take over punt return duties this game.

Iowa wasn’t able to turn its good fortune into points, and went three-and-out following the interception. Gersonde’s punt went 39 yards, which is an improvement.

The Iowa defense started out SALTY, as Josh Jackson had a great pass break-up on third down to force a punt. Minnesota’s receivers also suffered a bad case of the drops, which is a feeling we know all too well.

Minnesota’s defense forced another three-and-ofer following a holding call on a nice James Butler run. Brian Ferentz called a QB draw on second-and-18 so yeah whatever. Gersonde had a 50-yarder, so that’s nice.

Demry Croft made his case for Iowa’s MVP on Minnesota’s next drive as he sailed three passes over his receivers heads.

TJ Hockenson dropped a perfect pass from Stanley on second down of the ensuing drive to force third down and general Iowa sadness. A check-down to Akrum Wadley did not prevail. Iowa’s first drive of the game was Halloween costume of a good offense.

Iowa’s defense stayed salty the next drive. Rinse, repeat. We called Minnesota’s bluff on Demry Croft being able to pass, and wised up after a 17-yard run from Rodney Smith.

Another holding call stalled Iowa’s next drive. Stanley missed a wide-open Matt VandeBerg but he was flushed out of the pocket. Colten Rastetter made an appearance. If you thought we didn’t have a punter controversy, you were wrong.

The Iowa defense came up big on another third down with 1:56 left to play in the half, stuffing a Demry Croft read-option.

Two-minute Iowa offense: Brian Ferentz version time.

Nick Easley 13-yard catch. Akrum Wadley loss of 2 yards. Overthrow to VandeBerg (after getting flushed from the pocket). Nice check-down to James Butler for a first down annnnnnnnd a Butler fumble gave the ball to Minnesota on its 21-yard line with 36 seconds left.

PJ Fleck put on his Kirk Ferentz costume (there will be more Halloween puns) and let the clock run out. Iowa goes to the locker room with a 7-0 lead.

Also this:

It sounds like Brian Ferentz may have not been happy with that interception call. Or holding calls on Iowa. Or the missed holding calls on Minnesota.

Iowa kicked off to start the second frame. Another three-and-out. Josh Jackson had another break-up on third down. A very, very nice game indeed.

The first Iowa drive of the second half featured an Akrum Wadley carry for a three-yard loss, an Akrum Wadley carry for a three-yard gain, and a Matt VandeBerg 12-yard completion to move the chains. Wadley then had a vintage carry for 12-yards to set up a Noah Fant touchdown catch for 45 yards.

Yeah check that boat-rowing cele. Just pure greatness.

The play-action opened up the pass. Iowa football is alive and well. Iowa went 5 plays for 67 yards in 2:25. Let’s watch this offense get put in a drawer for the rest of the game. (It did.)

Intentional grounding on Minnesota forced by Parker Hesse on second down led to a ... third down sack by Parker Hesse. I don’t know if this defense is good, or the Minnesota offense is bad, or both.

Iowa and Minnesota traded finger pokes. More drops for the Gophers. VandeBerg had a drop on a third down too.

Minnesota had its best drive of the game as the third quarter came to a close. Kobe McCrary had a one-yard touchdown run to cap an 8-play, 45 yard drive. 14-7 Iowa.

Another holding call killed Iowa’s first drive of the fourth quarter. TJ Hockenson was called for holding before an 11-yard catch and run. Iowa doesn’t do very well when it faces a first-and-20. Run it on second and long. Rinse. Repeat. A quick defensive stop gave the Gophers the ball down one score with 12:49 left.

A coverage sack by Bo Bower forced third and long for Minnesota on its ensuing drive. Like Iowa, Minnesota doesn’t do very well on third and long. A screen pass went for very little. Clock-bleeding time for Iowa.

Iowa had its first first down of the second half since its touchdown drive during this possession. Baby steps!

A solid drive to Minnesota’s side of the field stalled after Hockenson dropped a perfect pass on third down. I’m not sure if it would have been a first, but it would have been close. Miguel Recinos made it OK with his first field goal of the day; a 32-yarder to make it 17-7 with 5:34 left.

And then Minnesota had its biggest play of the day, because of course it did. A 63-yard pass to Tyler Johnson gave Minnesota the ball on the 15. A holding call on third down forced Minnesota to kick. 17-10 with 4:21 to go.

A strike to Noah Fant on third down for 17 yards just about sealed the deal for Iowa. Fant has had his fair share of drops this year, but he was instrumental today. Iowa punted the ball away with 1:30 left to give its defense a chance to win the game.

Minnesota got the ball back with no timeouts left with 1:21 on the clock on its own 15.

On fourth-and-4, Anthony Nelson came up BIG. He sacked Croft with under a minute to go. Floyd stays home.

Here’s that boat-rowing gif again:

Quick notes:

  • I like Brady Quinn on commentary.
  • I was ready to call out this defensive line until Anthony Nelson came up with that huge sack to seal the deal.
  • The offensive line seemed to make improvements in run and pass-blocking today. Keegan Render did struggle quite a bit, however.
  • I really, really like Nate Stanley. He’s going to be an all-timer.
  • James Butler was sorely missed the last few games. I do believe Toren Young and/or Ivory Kelly-Martin could have filled his role during his absence, however.
  • We are very lucky to have Phil Parker.

Victory. It is sweet. Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone. Check in tomorrow for more analysis on this game.

Go Hawks.