Iowa Fumbles Floyd Back to Minnesota

Stats | Boxscore

Nov. 27, 2010

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MINNEAPOLIS — The team on top of the Big Ten Conference in turnover margin was victimized by a late fumble and the University of Iowa fell to Minnesota 27-24 on Saturday in TCF Bank Stadium to finish the regular season 7-5 overall, 4-4 in the league.

The No. 24 Hawkeyes entered the game plus-14 in turnover margin, but lost two fumbles and lost traveling trophy Floyd of Rosedale for the first time since 2006. The Gophers (3-9, 2-6) finished the season with two wins in a row.

The good news is that Iowa has a bowl game ahead to erase the sour taste of ending the regular season with three consecutive setbacks.

Part of the Iowa game plan was to keep the ball away from Minnesota’s Troy Stoudermire on special teams. But the Gopher junior recovered the first Hawkeye fumble and forced the second.

Four Minnesota players rushed 46 times for 216 yards — just two yards less than what Iowa gained for the game — total.

“At the end of the day, if you can’t stop the run, it’s tough to win the football game,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “This game probably turned out the way it should have. They out-played us and got the victory.”

Iowa ran 49 plays for 218 yards and held the ball 23:54. That paled in comparison to the Gophers’ 73 plays for 382 and 36:06 of possession time.

“We left the door open too many times in too many areas,” Ferentz said. “We didn’t play consistently enough in any area. We couldn’t stop them; they drove the ball pretty-much at will against us most of the game.”

Iowa grabbed its first lead of the game at 24-20 with 11:35 left on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Stanzi to Marvin McNutt. The Gophers answered with a 77-yard scoring drive to go ahead by three. On the next play by the Hawkeyes, running back Marcus Coker (21 carries, 90 yards) lost the ball and the Gophers recovered.

“At the end of the day, if you can’t stop the run, it’s tough to win the football game. This game probably turned out the way it should have. They out-played us and got the victory.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz

Iowa senior Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was a bright spot on special teams with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter. He also caught three passes for 34 yards and another score.

The first offensive play for Iowa was a 2-yard run by Coker. That is insignificant except it came 9-minutes, 22-seconds into the game. Minnesota took the opening kickoff and went 58 yards on 11 plays to take a 3-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Eric Ellestad. That was the first time the Gophers scored first in a Big Ten game this season.

On the ensuing kick, Ellestad recovered his own on-side squib and Minnesota again used an 11-play, 58-yard drive to take a 10-0 lead. Backup quarterback/starting wide receiver MarQueis Gray ran in from 14 yards for the touchdown with 5:44 left in the quarter.

The Hawkeyes ran the final 11 plays of the first quarter and began the second on the Gopher 7. On the second play of the new period, Stanzi hooked up with Johnson-Koulianos on a 7-yard slant pattern for a score. The point-after kick by Mike Meyer cut Minnesota’s lead to 10-7. It was a 13-play, 70-yard drive for the Hawkeyes that featured a 10-yard scramble out of the pocket by Stanzi on third-and-9. The Iowa quarterback completed four passes during the drive for 41 yards.

Just when the Hawkeyes began a potential go-ahead drive, Minnesota benefitted from a Stanzi fumble and a personal foul by Christian Ballard to grab a 17-7 edge. Stanzi couldn’t handle the first-down snap and it was recovered by Stoudermire at the Iowa 23. On second down, Adam Weber threw incomplete to tight end Collin McGarry, but Ballard was flagged for roughing the passer. That put the ball on Iowa’s 11 and on first down, Gopher running back DeLeon Eskridge ran to the left side and squeezed inside the pylon for a touchdown.

Johnson-Koulianos responded with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and with 12:04 left in the half Minnesota’s lead was trimmed to 17-14.

The teams traded 35-yard field goals as the first 30 minutes came to a close. Ellestad tacked on his field goal after 10 plays (seven of them running) to take a 20-14 lead with 5:35 left in the first half. On its next possession Iowa advanced to Minnesota’s 16 where Meyer eventually converted a 35-yard field goal with 50 seconds left before halftime. That capped a 9-play, 42-yard drive.

An explanation of lopsided game statistics in the first half can be found by looking at possession time. The Gophers held the ball 19:07 and gained 202 yards (126 on the ground); Iowa had the ball 10:53 with 103 yards.

Both teams were held without points on three possessions in the third quarter. Iowa turned a fumble by Eskridge into seven points after Broderick Binns forced the fumble and Brett Greenwood recovered at the Hawkeye 30. Iowa’s fourth series of the second half opened with a 21-yard pass completion from Stanzi to Johnson-Koulianos to the Gopher 49 as the third period ended. After an incomplete pass, Coker took a handoff, reversed field to the left and picked up 16 yards to the Minnesota 29. On third-and-5, Stanzi identified a safety blitz and hooked up with Johnson-Koulianos for a 7-yard first-down completion. Two plays later, Stanzi and McNutt teamed for an 18-yard slant pattern for a touchdown. McNutt broke two tackles on the play. Meyer’s important PAT gave the Hawkeyes a four-point lead at 24-20 with 11:35 left.

The Hawkeye defensive front began turning up the heat on Minnesota’s next drive: Adrian Clayborn forced a Weber hurry on first down and then, on third-and-4, Karl Klug and Binns forced Weber into an intentional grounding penalty (Klug was credited with a sack).

Minnesota regained the lead, 27-24, with 4:31 left on a 6-yard scoring run by Duane Bennett. The Gophers began the drive with a 19-yard completion from Weber to Gray, followed by a 40-yard completion from Weber to Da’Jon McKnight.

The second lost fumble of the game was fatal for Iowa. Coker rushed 12 yards before Stoudermire forced the ball free and Ryan Collado pounced on it at the Iowa 45. Minnesota picked up two first downs and ran out the final 4:15.

Iowa at Minnesota 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Iowa Hawkeyes 0 17 0 7 24
Minnesota Golden Gophers 10 10 0 7 27
Iowa Statistical Leaders
Passing: Ricky Stanzi 10-22-0 127 2 TDs
Rushing: Marcus Coker 21-90-0
Receiving: Marvin McNutt 3-46-1, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 3-34-1
Tackles: Troy Johnson 9, Broderick Binns 9, Jeremiha Hunter 9