Nov. 23, 2005
- A HOLIDAY SPECIAL! Watch Iowa vs. Minnesota
- UI Alumni Association Bowl Tour Information
- Follow the Renovation of Kinnick!
- The Schedule: 2005 and Beyond
- Listen to the Hawkeyes on XM Radio
- Watch and Listen to Kirk, the Hawkeyes
IOWA CITY — It took the entire regular season, but the Hawkeyes put together a game on Saturday in which they could do no wrong.
In front of the 17th-consecutive sellout crowd inside Kinnick Stadium, Iowa mounted a 52-28 rout of Minnesota on Seniors’ Day and retained the Floyd of Rosedale trophy for the fifth-straight year.
“For whatever reason, we play well on senior day,” said Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, whose teams have won the last four regular season-finales. “We address it but we don’t over-blow it. I think you know you can always count on your seniors being ready, but I think what it demonstrates is our younger guys appreciating and recognizing the role those players have had.”
Iowa finishes the regular season at 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference. The Gophers drop to 7-4 and 4-4. Both teams await bowl invitations.
“I can’t say enough good things about our football team,” Ferentz said. “We knew (the Wisconsin and Minnesota games) were going to be tough, and I think (the wins over both teams) speaks volumes about the type of people we have.”
The Hawkeyes recorded a season-high 613 yards on offense, while holding the nation’s best rushing offense to 129 yards and the nation’s sixth-best offense to 444 overall.
“That was nice to see,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “We were able to showcase our team because people kind of forgot about us, because we weren’t having the year we were supposed to have.”
Greenway had 15 tackles for the game and an interception that he returned for 16 yards in the second half.
Greenway and fellow linebacker Abdul Hodge, who had a game-high 19 tackles, led a defense that held Minnesota’s Gary Russell to 78 yards on 17 carries. Laurence Maroney, the nation’s best running back, played only in the first quarter for the Gophers due to injury and had 10 yards on seven carries.
“They have a great scheme against what we do,” Minnesota Coach Glen Mason said. “Iowa typically plays very good defense. We knew it wouldn’t be easy sledding.”
Mason also credited Iowa’s defensive line, led by redshirt freshman tackle and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Mitch King, for shutting down his team’s greatest advantage early in the game.
“They really played well today,” the coach said. “In our preparation and watching film, we could see they were getting better and better each week.”
Iowa left the Gophers with three negative-yardage rushing plays in their first six running plays.
“We knew they had a great offense and a great team,” King said. “We knew we had to jump on them early to have a chance.”
Ferentz said his defense saw Minnesota as a challenge.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I knew we were going to play that well for those first three quarters, because of our respect for them,” Ferentz said. “But our guys took it to heart, and had a great week of practice. They showed up and played today.”
Iowa’s offense showed up, too.
The Hawkeyes scored on their first five possessions of the game and on six of their seven first-half opportunities.
Wide receiver Ed Hinkel had career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns. He made seven receptions for 151 yards and four touchdowns — a new Kinnick Stadium record.
He ties Quinn Early as the only other receiver in Iowa history to make four TD catches in a game. Early did it in 1987 at Northwestern.
Quarterback Drew Tate went 19-of-32 passing for 351 yards and four touchdowns with one interception that led to Minnesota’s only touchdown of the first half.
Tate’s longest throw was Hinkel’s first TD, a 46-yarder with 9:30 to go in the first quarter. It was also the longest scoring catch of Hinkel’s career.
“I guess I haven’t had a lot of those deep ones,” Hinkel said. “It was just an awesome feeling for everybody to have such a great game on their last one. I’m thankful for everything that’s happened.”
Hinkel scored his second touchdown of the game on a reverse play that Tate turned into a reverse-and-pass play with wide receiver Clinton Solomon, who threw his first scoring pass since high school with the gadget.
“When I heard Drew say `around,’ I thought around pass,” Solomon said. “As the play was going I was smiling, and then I saw the cornerback come up on me. I asked Drew if the coach called the play and he was like, `No.’ But hey, we got a touchdown. They can’t say anything about it because we got a touchdown. It was all fun and games though.”
“We expected to start the season with this type of play. But it didn’t go that way. That’s football. As long you finish strong, and that’s what we did, that’s all that matters.”
Running back Albert Young
Ferentz said he wasn’t mad at the players for changing the called play in the huddle even if a 26-yard touchdown to go up 28-0 hadn’t been the result.
“I have no problems with either of the plays,” the coach said. “I didn’t know quite what it was, but I can understand where the confusion came from. We had been calling for the around, but we had been practicing the around pass. Next thing you know.”
Running back Damian Sims, who served as a decoy on the play, said all the offensive plays were going Iowa’s way.
“Minnesota’s a good team and so for us to roll up those points like that it’s big,” the sophomore said. “We’ve been having a good offense all season long, so it’s not like it’s a surprise for us to have those numbers.”
Sims found the endzone himself on a 71-yard run on a third-and-2 play in Iowa’s third series. He dodged strong safety Dominic Jones and had clear sailing down the middle of the field.
“The path I took helped set the blocks up,” Sims said. “We were moving people around all day and all season. I got the ball and I ran. (The offensive line) opened it up and I ran right through.”
Sims had 104 yards on eight carries for the game, and running back Albert Young had 103 yards on 21 carries. It was the first time since 2002 where two running backs had more than 100 yards rushing for Hawkeyes. Young crossed the century mark in his seventh-straight game and for the eighth time this season.
The sophomore said the Hawkeyes’ performance on Saturday was what his team had expected for the entire season.
“We expected to start the season with this type of play,” Young said. “But it didn’t go that way. That’s football. As long you finish strong, and that’s what we did, that’s all that matters.”
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com