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THE MORNING AFTER — MINNESOTA

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We got the pig but the lead wasn’t all that big.

Minnesota v Iowa
ayyo Floyd
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

It’s always a really, really good thing when you can put the picture of Iowa players carrying a trophy off the field.

This season has certainly hasn’t been as ideal as maybe we want it to be and it’s certainly caused some frustration among the Hawkeye faithful... but at least we’re 2 of 2 in trophy games. Beating a bad Minnesota team by seven points in Kinnick doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but at least it wasn’t a loss.

There were some good things. We got James Butler back! Noah Fant caught a deep bomb! We got Josey Jewell back! Josh Jackson is the best corner Iowa’s had since (oh wait, that’s right, Desmond graduated last year — seriously though, the Hawkeyes incredible run of producing above-average DBs is something one of us here needs to do on a rainy day).

Even so, I’m still.. I’ve already used frustrated... irked isn’t quite the right word... I’m not quite apathetic yet and don’t want to go down that road... wait, hold on I got it: Exasperated.

Webster has two definitions for exasperate: a) to excite the anger of [enrage] b) to cause irritation or annoyance to.

I’m certainly not enraged at the 2017 Iowa football team. I think that would be a bit far. But I’ve always taken the word exasperate to mean irritation, but not in a venomous sense. A little stronger than simple frustration, a little less than actual anger.

I like that, actually. Exasperated. It’s fun word to say, you know?

Anyways, exasperated is how a lot of things about this team are making me feel this year. One of them being this:

Also I was just perusing the postgame notes and saw this:

That’s not great.

Iowa’s offense, as it’s so often been called this season, was anemic for long portions of this game. The first drive was pretty dang fun! Then.... things tapered off. This seems to happen every damn game. Things go well for one drive and the next Iowa goes three-and-out. It’s exasperating.

The Hawkeyes and Gophers both had 15 first downs. Both teams punted nine times and it seems like there’s a punting competition (sigh) once again between Ryan Gersonde and Colten Rastetter. Iowa was 3 of 14 on third down and 2 of 3 in the red zone. The Hawkeyes had exactly one drive that went more than seven plays — and it only led to a field goal.

Our damn offensive coordinator yelled obscenities at some Big Ten officials in the freaking press box. That’s not okay by any stretch of the imagination and I’m glad Kirk brought it up in the post-game presser.

It honestly kind of scares me, too. If our offensive coordinator is losing his temper at random Big Ten Conference officials.... what’s he like to work with on a day-to-day basis? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this particular incident, but considering the extremely rare looks we get into what goes on behind the scenes of the Iowa coaching staff, it’s not exactly a thing that inspires confidence.

I know I really should be sitting here saying how thankful I am we get to keep Floyd and yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ve told myself I need to have patience a million times before and even sometimes in some of the stuff I’ve written for this site.

But.

Why the hell are we okay with watching this absolute horseshit? One of the reasons this fanbase is so okay with Fran McCaffery is that he made Iowa Basketball entertaining and fun to watch again. Why are we okay with the football team being boring and stale? Seriously.

This is a Minnesota team we should have beat by about six more touchdowns and yes, I’m well aware of Iowa’s deficiencies this season.

Yes, winning trophies is cool. No, this game was not fun to watch.

I saw a bunch of “well, a game happened today” comments on the Iowa Twittersphere. Correct, a game did happened, and it was not a fun game to watch.

Well, except this. This was fun.

There’s been fits and spurts of a growing offense this season and I really hope it’s going to lead to something better.

The thing is, we’ve been down this road before. A couple ‘rebuilding’ seasons and then another year that ends in a crushing disappointment. To be quite honest, I think that’s why it’s hard for me personally to try and get my hopes up.

I’ll admit it, I’m a relatively young Iowa fan. I’m just 22. But outside of a couple really great moments in my childhood and the wonderful, terrible, amazing, special 2015 season... getting my hopes up about this squad eventually leads to disappointment.

I’m sorry, really. As I said before, we should be celebrating the fact we get to keep the pig for another year, but it just feels hollow for some reason. I’ve found that having my expectations low is easier than trying to get too high or overreact to the things Iowa does.

That said, if the Hawkeyes want to get to a bowl game and help salvage this season... this was a game they absolutely had to win. And win, they did.

Again, they’re 5-3 now. One game from bowl eligibility. Iowa has two incredible tests over the next two weeks and if they could pull an upset in one of those games, it would drastically change how we’re viewing this year.

Ohio State is up next. Let’s beat the Buckeyes.