Gophers Suffer First Loss of Season to Hawkeyes, 31-13
Sept. 29, 2012
Iowa's Mark Weisman ran for 177 yards, 155 in the first half, to lead the Hawkeyes to a 31-13 win against Minnesota on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Christian Kirksey's 68-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Iowa (3-2), which bounced back from last week's 32-31 loss to Central Michigan to win the Big Ten opener for both schools.
Minnesota (4-1) was off to its best start since 2008, but could not get going on offense until the second half on Saturday. By that time, Iowa had bult a 24-0 lead.
"I don’t think there is any question that they got some momentum early in the game and we couldn’t get it switched off," said Kill. "We had opportunities early in the game too. Offensively we had some opportunities. We had a ball that was caught and they did a good job of stripping the ball away and that took away a big play. We missed one down the middle on a post route and then they get on the field and it is a three-and-out the wheels are spinning and you get a little tired."
Max Shortell passed for 197 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota, but also threw three interceptions as the Gophers lost for the first time this season.
The Gophers turned the ball over four times and failed to force a turnover for the first time this season.
Minnesota won the previous two meetings against Iowa. The Gophers rallied from behind in both games to win Floyd of Rosedale, which is a 98-pound bronze pig that the two teams play for every year. The Gophers couldn't muster a comeback this time.
Minnesota lost a fumble to open the second half, but Shortell then responded with a 79-yard drive that ended in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Fruechte, cutting the Hawkeyes' lead to 24-7 midway through the third quarter.
"I felt like once we got a young team in at half time, I thought they played hard and better, but we couldn’t get the bleeding stopped in the first quarter," said Kill. "They got momentum and got the crowd behind them. That happens in college football. It’s a big lesson for our young guys to learn and we will move on from there."
Quarterback MarQueis Gray, who rallied the Gophers to the win last year, missed his second straight game for Minnesota. The Gophers, who lead the overall series 61-43-2 have now lost six straight in Iowa City. Minnesota's last win at Iowa was a 25-21 victory on Nov. 20, 1999.
Minnesota, which has a bye this upcoming week, returns to action on Oct. 13 with an 11 a.m. homecoming game against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Associated Press contributed to this report