The Iowa Hawkeyes were dead in the water. Tied at 10 with Minnesota driving and bleeding what felt like years off the clock, all hope looked to be lost.
That is, until Jack Campbell picked off Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, returning the interception for a touchdown, but had it (stupidly) called dead due to a ref thinking he had stepped out of bounds. Quarterback Spencer Petras instead threw his best pass of the dead to the red zone...but Minnesota used its timeouts and forced Iowa into a 3rd and 1 situation, which...was reviewed for a potential fumble.
Kaleb Johnson was down, but the antics couldn’t end, as the awful officiating crew allowed Iowa to ice itself, leading to a squeaky game-winning kick for the Hawkeyes to win 13-10.
Just like we expected, right?
The win puts Iowa at 7-4 on the season and 5-3 in Big Ten play, controlling their own destiny for the Big Ten West with today’s win after Illinois lost to Michigan today. One more win, and we’re in. -gulp-
Oh, and by the way, P.J. Fleck has still never beaten Iowa.
It was the best passing day from the offense we’ve seen all season. Petras threw for 221 yards on 15-24 passes and used a quarterback sneak to get Iowa’s only touchdown of the game. Sam LaPorta lead with 95 yards on 4 receptions, despite limping off the field early in the first half and never returning. Iowa’s run game struggled, with Kaleb Johnson tallying 43 yards on 8 carries, while Leshon Williams tallied 38 yards on 11 carries.
For Minnesota, it was a one man show: Mo Ibrahim rushed a whopping 39 times for a career high 263 yards and a touchdown. Boy, it really hurts to spoil that, doesn’t it? ;)
The Minnesota offense started things off relying primarily on their run game, but getting stopped after a few successful first downs. In response, Petras ripped a quick pass to LaPorta, who took off for 57 yards on the first Iowa play from scrimmage...but was followed by Petras’ next play was a throw down to the ground but I digress, a bad snap on 2nd down, and a terrible TE screen on 3rd down and long that forced Iowa to settle for a 38 yard FG.
Iowa’s second offensive drive was similar to its first, with mostly emphasis on the run, with minimal success. But on 4th down, Petras found LaPorta for a huge 25-yard conversion to get a new set of downs. That was enough to finally get Kaleb Johnson some room to operate, and Iowa was able to sneak Petras into the endzone to go up 10-0 with 42 seconds left in the quarter, but it did cost them LaPorta for the rest of the game due to injury.
Minnesota responded to the touchdown with its best drive of the day, finally getting some success through the air for a big gain that got theme into the red zone. Two plays later, Ibrahim found the end zone and we had a new ballgame.
Iowa had a great drive moving in response...until the second bad snap of the game drove Iowa out of even field goal range. Minnesota responded with another strong drive in the run game as Ibrahim continued to feast against Iowa’s run defense. But the Gophers couldn’t complete a field goal, and Iowa went into half still up 10-7.
Iowa couldn’t get anything going in its first drive of the second half, punting the ball to Minnesota. The Gophers seemed like they couldn’t either..until Ibrahim ripped off another huge run to take the Gophers into the red zone. But once again, the Gophers couldn’t do anything, but were able to tie the game.
The run game finally showed signs of life in Iowa’s response drive, thanks to the Leshon Williams/Kaleb Johnson duo. But a play after Johns ripped off a huge gain, Petras was sacked, and couldn’t get anything going on 3rd and very long and once again, the Hawkeyes were forced to punt after positive yardage.
Thankfully, Tory Taylor had one of his best punts in recent memory, forcing the Gophers to start at the 3 yardline. Iowa had a favorable 3rd and 3, but Ibrahim converted with yet another big run. But the new set of downs wasn’t fruitful, and Iowa forced a Gopher punt, which was returned nicely by Cooper DeJean.
But once again, Iowa couldn’t do anything with it, with Petras overthrowing a wide open Nico Ragaini that would have gone for 6. But Taylor came up big again and gave the Gophers the ball back once again deep in their own territory.
But Minnesota had the response, and his name was Mo Ibrahim. Iowa’s run defense, and tackling in general, just wasn’t there all game. Even the Minnesota quarterback had a huge rush that the Hawkeye defense couldn’t stop.
Things were looking grim as Minnesota continued to move the ball and milk the clock, but on 3rd and 5 near the redzone, Ibrahim made his first mistake of the game, fumbling as he tried to extend his arm for the first down, and giving Iowa back the ball.
Iowa’s first play went for nothing, and Iowa’s second was nearly picked off, and on 3rd and 10, Petras couldn’t find Brecht in double coverage. Incomplete. 3 and out, giving Minnesota the ball back around their 40 with just over 4 minutes left to play.
Ibrahim immediately busted out another big play. Iowa found itself with a 3rd and 7 as the clock continued to tick toward two minutes...but the MInnesota pass was tipped and picked off by Jack Campbell, who took it to the house, giving Iowa back the lead...but the call was that Campbell had stepped out of bounds, and the touchdown didn’t count.
But Petras responded with an absolute laser to Luke Lachey, who immediately got Iowa into the redzone with just under 90 seconds to play. Minnesota used up its timeouts and Iowa couldn’t convert on 3rd and 1. There was even a review for good measure to see if Kaleb Johnson fumbled, but he was down.
So after a lengthy delay, with 31 seconds remaining, Drew Stevens hit the 21 yard field goal...but Iowa iced its own kicker. On the second attempt, Stevens barely hit it, but completed the field goal, giving the Gophers back the ball with 28 seconds to play.
But the Gophers couldn’t get anything going through the air, and Iowa escaped with the win.
2,562 days AND COUNTING with Floyd residing in Iowa City.