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Iowa Football: Five Questions With the Minnesota Golden Gophers

Feels like this one could be a real poop show.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Minnesota vs Auburn
Who hates Iowa? PJ Fleck.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawkeyes looked like a football team again last week. After a pair of disappointing losses to Purdue and Northwestern to start the season, Iowa blew Michigan State out of the water. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have had a similar story to their season.

The Gophers were blown out in week one in a 45-24 route by Michigan. While losing to Michigan doesn’t typically come with alarm bells, that was supposed to be a close matchup. Close enough that College GameDay was in town. In retrospect, it looks a bit worse with Michigan now sitting at 1-2 on the season and unranked.

In week two, they lost a nail-biter to a Maryland team that was obliterated 43-3 by Northwestern the previous week. The Gophers bounced back in week three to defeat Illinois 41-14, but there are still concerns north of the border.

To get some better insight on what to expect from Minnesota, we reached out to SB Nation site The Daily Gopher. Unfortunately, they didn’t respond to our emails. They also don’t follow us on the Twitter machine, because they REALLY hate Iowa, so we couldn’t slide into those DMs. So what are we to do?

Answer our own questions for them, of course!

So, here are five questions on Minnesota with ourselves... sort of.

BHGP: Let’s go ahead and get the ribbing out of the way. It’s been five years since Minnesota has beaten Iowa and PJ Fleck has never done it. What have you been eating for breakfast with bacon and sausage officially off the menu for half a decade?

Minnesota players and staff:

“That’s why you come to Minnesota, we play in more rivalries than anybody else in the Big Ten. We have more rivalry trophies than anyone else in the Big Ten that we play for”

-PJ Fleck, Per KMSP Fox Channel 9

“It means a lot, it’s huge. At the end of Friday night, somebody is going to walk away with that pig. We don’t just want it to be us, we obsess over it. We are going to do everything we can to get that pig,”

-Offensive lineman Blaise Andries, Per KMSP Fox Channel 9

“I think at the end of the day it comes down to going 1-0 in this Iowa season. Not really worried about what happened last year, anything like that. Doing everything we can to go 1-0 this week,”

-Quarterback Tanner Morgan, Per KMSP Fox Channel 9

BHGP: Gee, it seems like you guys might be a little bit obsessed with Iowa. Obsessing over one trophy after talking about having more trophies to play for than anyone else, calling this one game a season, etc. What’s up with that? Like, who hates Iowa?

TDG, probably: WE HATE IOWA!

BHGP: OK, whatever. There’s been plenty of media attention paid to PJ Fleck’s choice of team readings lately. Do you really think the book Everyone Poops is going to help turn this season around?

PJ Fleck, actually:

I know that sounds crazy because we didn’t play very well, but poop can be used as fertilizer if you grow. And in Minnesota, we’ve got lots of farms, and the poop is actually the manure, and it can help with crops and the best fruit and vegetables.

QB Tanner Morgan, actually:

I mean, that’s Coach Fleck. It hit perfect of being able to grow. I think our guys really took to it.

WR Rashod Bateman, actually:

Coach Fleck does a good job of pulling that message out of the book and spreading it to our team and to apply it on the field and in our lives.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, actually:

The Gophers did really crumble to start the season, losing big to Michigan and at Maryland with a highly touted passing game failing to meet expectations and a defense allowing an average of 578 yards per game. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim was one of the few not wasting his chances.

At Illinois on Saturday, though, the Gophers’ 41-14 victory did seem to sprout from their earlier failures, seizing an opportunity against a struggling opponent. Ibrahim rushed for another 224 yards. Quarterback Tanner Morgan and receiver Rashod Bateman connected for their first touchdown. The defense held the Illini to 287 yards. Even the shaken special teams unit went from glaringly bad to not really noticeable.

And maybe that’s because the coach reminded his players that good can come from bad.

BHGP: Uhhhh, OK. Oh boy, where do we go here. There’s so much fun to be had. You’re saying, starting QB Tanner Morgan, that your guys really took to the poop? And star WR Rashod Bateman, you’re saying coach Fleck is spreading the poop, applying it to the field and your lives? And more broadly, you all think using a fertilizer helping crops euphemism is going to play better in Minnesota than in Iowa? Really? That must be some good poop up north.

PJ Fleck, probably: ELITE!

BHGP: OK, enough of this, uh, poop. Prediction time. How is this one playing out?

The confidence of PJ Fleck certainly hasn’t rubbed off on the fanbase.

The Daily Gopher, actually:

I’m not ready to bet on the Gophers yet. Minnesota’s linebackers are still a work in progress, and you can be sure Iowa will attack them in the run game. The Hawkeyes operate an offensive line clinic and if Mariano Sori-Marin and co. can’t shed blocks and make tackles, Goodson and Sargent are going to gash them on the ground. This will also probably be the best defense the Gophers have faced all season, and I don’t know that they’ll be able to keep pace if this becomes a shootout. Take care of yourself, Floyd.
Iowa 38, Minnesota 21.

So there you have it, in several people’s words - Iowa is probably going to beat the poop out of Minnesota, but it’s OK because the poop is actually fertilizer and Minnesota will be able to use that to grow great fruits and vegetables while Iowa continues eating our pork.

Go Hawks!