After bouncing back from a pair of losses to Purdue and Wisconsin, the Iowa Hawkeyes bounced back last week to find their way into the win column against Northwestern. While the offense seemed to click for a portion of the first half after starting quarterback Spencer Petras was benched for backup Alex Padilla, Iowa still only managed 17 total points against a struggling Wildcat defense.
Returning to Kinnick Stadium to play host to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale, Iowa is favored by 4.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook* in a game with an over/under total points set at 37. Following a week where these two offenses managed just 23 combined points and the defenses gave up a combined 26 points, even such a low point total seems like it may be out of reach.
Our staff is feeling uncharacteristically confident heading into this one as every staffer is on the Hawks to pull out the win. Furthermore, all but one of us are taking Iowa against the spread. It’s worth noting that this line has moved down two full points since opening at -6.5 on Sunday and even those last holdout is inching closer to taking Iowa against the spread.
Collectively, we’re calling for a final score of Iowa 22, Minnesota 15. As you might have guessed with all but one of us taking Iowa ATS, we’re also doing it as a group. Our point total puts us right on the line for the over/under. If we remove the impacts of rounding and take the raw math, we come out on the under by the narrowest of margins. Do with that information what you will.
Here’s a look at our individual predictions for the battle for Floyd on Saturday.
I said to heck with jinxes and called my shot a week ago. I was wrong. Sort of. Iowa won, but it was not at all the coming out party I was picturing. Turning to Minnesota, with a full week of Alex Padilla running practice with the 1s, I’m probably too optimistic that Brian Ferentz will do more of the things we saw in the first half a week ago.
Regardless of what Brian does, we know what Phil is going to do. That’s focus on shutting down a Minnesota running game that is solid but has been just decimated by injury. I suspect we get another low scoring affair after the Gophers failed to find paydirt against Illinois.
Iowa 20, Minnesota 13
There is nothing more annoying than Pajamas Fleck’s schtick. Wait. The 300 Gopher fans who chant “Who Hates Iowa? - We Hate Iowa!” at non-Hawkeye games win that one going away. Anyway, on to the game for the prized pig. Fleck is a pretty good football coach. The Gophers have lost their top 3 backs to injury and they still have been successful. They have a good, experienced offensive line. The Hawks didn’t get much pressure on Purdue or Wisconsin and we know how that turned out. Tanner Morgan is a good dude and a winner. The Gophs have some weapons on both sides of the ball. Alex Padilla and Brian Ferentz have an opportunity to win back some disgruntled fans of Iowa’s offense after showing something different vs. Northwestern. The Hawks got a two score lead and went full-turtle on it in the second half. Kirk, it’s the Gophers. They don’t like us. Our thoughts on the Gophs is more of a “meh” than anything. Other than when JFK was living large the Rodents haven’t been very good. A loss to them has been an embarrassment. Fleck has made them respectable, so there is that. Get a lead early, Hawks, and get oinkin’! As always, Go Hawks!
Iowa 27, Minnesota 17
While the offense quickly scored consecutive touchdowns with the insertion of Alex Padilla at quarterback, they quickly remembered their place in this world and totaled three more points on the next eight drives. I liked the increased play action and wide receiver screen calls, but it still only amounted to 17 points against down Northwestern defense. I want to be optimistic, but the positive plays are too often offset by major negatives.
The good news is this Iowa defense is special and is going against a Minnesota offense that is already playing with one arm tied behind their back. At this point I feel like I deserve a reward for watching these ugly games. Pile this one onto that list.
Iowa 23 - Minnesota 16
So far in the year of 2021, Kirk Ferentz is undefeated against coaches that he’s... undefeated against. PJ Fleck has never beat Iowa, dating back to his time at Western Michigan. This streak holds.
Iowa 20, Minnesota 13.
What Ben said.
Iowa 21, Minnesota 16
In a battle of two of the Big Ten’s best defenses, expect a low-scoring affair. Both teams are desperate for a win not just because of the logjam for first place in the Big Ten West, but also due to the bad blood that has been building between the two programs over the past few seasons, with Iowa ruining Minnesota’s undefeated season in 2019 and leaving Minneapolis having used every last timeout in 2020. Iowa’s defense continues its disruptive play thanks to the return of its most impactful player in Riley Moss, and Alex Padilla and Tyler Goodson do just enough on offense to keep Iowa’s conference championship hopes alive and extend the winning streak against Minnesota to seven.
Iowa 20, Minnesota 14
Once again, I have no clue about this Iowa football team, or how good this Minnesota team is. But I do think we will see a defensive slugfest. I think the return of Riley Moss will give life to the defense and the Hawks eek out a close win late.
Iowa 21, Minnesota 17
That’s how we see this one playing out. What about you? What’s YOUR prediction for Iowa’s showdown with Minnesota for all the bacon? Let us know in the comments!
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.