The Breakdown: Iowa vs. Minnesota
Breaking down Saturday's football game between Iowa and Minnesota.
Time and place — 3 p.m., Saturday, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City
TV — FOX (Joe Davis, play-by-play; Brock Huard, analyst; Bruce Feldman, sideline)
Radio — Hawkeye Radio Network. Also available on Sirius Ch. 121 and XM Ch. 207
Records — Iowa 6-3 (3-3 Big Ten), Minnesota 9-0 (6-0)
AP ranking — Minnesota is No. 7, Iowa is No. 23
Coaches ranking — Minnesota is No. 7, Iowa is No. 22
CFP ranking — Minnesota is No. 8, Iowa is No. 20
Series — Minnesota leads, 62-48-2. Iowa has won the last four games, and six of the last seven.
Streaks — Iowa has lost one. Minnesota has won 11 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Game-time forecast — 41 degrees, mostly sunny
Game-day forecast — Sunny, high of 41
Point spread — Iowa -3
Moneyline — Iowa -159, Minnesota +135
Over/under — 44 1/2
• Saturday marks the 130th anniversary of Iowa football. The Hawkeyes played their first football game on Nov. 16, 1889, against Grinnell. Iowa is 656-560-39 all-time.
• Iowa has allowed 12 touchdowns in nine games, third fewest in the nation.
• It's the third trophy game of the season for the Hawkeyes — Floyd of Rosedale is on the line. Iowa is 14-4 in the last 18 trophy games, with all four losses coming to Wisconsin.
• Former Iowa standout Mike Reilly, who died on Oct. 18, will be represented by his three sons — Jim, Steve, and Bob — as honorary captain. Jim, Steve, and Bob Reilly are all Iowa graduates. Mike earned All-Big Ten and All-America honors while with the Hawkeyes, completing his career in 1963. Mike served as Iowa’s honorary captain in 2003 when the Hawkeyes defeated Buffalo, 56-7. He is the fifth person to be named honorary captain more than once.
When Iowa has the ball
It's time for the Hawkeyes to start running.
Iowa had 87 rushing yards in last Saturday's 24-22 loss to Wisconsin, , and the Hawkeyes' highest rushing total in the last five games was 123 yards in a 20-0 win over Northwestern on Oct. 26.
"Got to run. Got to make plays," running back Mekhi Sargent said this week. "When Coach calls a run, we’ve got to make plays.
"It’s up to us to make plays, for him to continue to call plays. Iowa is usually known for running the ball, so I don’t know if that’s out of the game plan."
"I try to see it every week, because the coaches put a great game plan in front of us," guard Kyler Schott said. "We just have to execute."
Minnesota is fifth in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game, allowing 127.2 yards in conference play, so there may be yards there for the Hawkeyes.
Defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr., leads the Gophers with 57 tackles, including 42 solos. He also has seven interceptions, the most in the Big Ten.
If anything, Iowa needs to get off to a better start. The Hawkeyes have scored just 34 first-half points in the last five games. Minnesota has had 96 first-half points in the same stretch.
When Minnesota has the ball
This isn't the smash-mouth Wisconsin offense seen last week.
The Gophers are putting up yards and points, and the Hawkeyes will have to find some sort of way to slow them.
Oh, Minnesota will pound the ball — the Gophers are third in the conference in rushing offense at 195.2 yards per game, and running back Rodney Smith ranks third in the conference in rushing at 104.4 yards per game.
But the Gophers will throw it around, too. Quarterback Tanner Morgan has already thrown for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. His average of 233.3 yards per game ranks third behind Penn State's Sean Clifford and Iowa's Nate Stanley, and he leads the conference in pass efficiency.
Minnesota receiver Tyler Johnson is fourth in the conference in receptions per game, while teammate Rashod Bateman is ninth.
Bateman had 203 receiving yards in last Saturday's 31-26 win over Penn State, while Johnson had 104.
Expect the Hawkeyes to use their 'cash' defense more in this game, but Iowa will have to find a way to pressure Morgan — Minnesota allows 1.89 sacks per game.
The final thought
Minnesota controls its fate as the Big Ten West Division leader. The Gophers are one of the few undefeated teams left in college football, and to get to this point in the season without a loss means not only are you a good team, but you've survived the occasional mistakes that can happen in league play. There is a feel of destiny with this team.
The Hawkeyes are on the outside looking in in the division race. Theoretically, there is a road to the title and Indianapolis, but too many things have to happen to make that realistic.
The Iowa players talked this week about getting to 10 wins — they would have to sweep their final three regular-season games, and then win a bowl game. The Hawkeyes seem relaxed, and they've been spoilers for some highly-ranked teams who have come to Kinnick in November in the last couple of seasons.