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Golden Gophers Hope to Avoid Letdown in Visit to Iowa

The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Iowa Hawkeyes both hope to put last week’s performances behind them, but for different reasons. Unbeaten Minnesota has to regain its focus after an emotional upset of Penn State that vaulted the Gophers into the AP top 10, while the Hawkeyes look to shrug off a loss to Wisconsin that essentially ended their conference championship hopes.

Matchup Information
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Iowa Hawkeyes (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: November 16, 3 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: FOX
  • Opening Odds: Iowa -3 | O/U 44.5 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

Iowa has been favored in nine of the last 10 Floyd of Rosedale battles, and that’s the case again here as the Hawkeyes opened as 3-point home chalk. Minnesota has seen early betting support, moving the Gophers down to +2.5 as of Sunday night.

Minnesota News & Notes

What can the Golden Gophers do for an encore? Not much could top last week’s 31-26 victory over Penn State, Minnesota’s first over a top-five opponent at home in more than 40 years.

The Gophers marched 95 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession, setting the tone for a 460-yard performance against Penn State’s vaunted defense. QB Tanner Morgan completed 18 of 20 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns, and receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson both cracked the century mark in yards. Minnesota’s defense also held up its end of the bargain, intercepting three passes — including a game-sealing pick in the end zone with 1:01 left on the clock.

As vulnerable as the Golden Gophers may seem for an emotional letdown, they can’t afford to give away a game this week. Although the Gophers hold a two-game lead on Wisconsin for top spot in the Big Ten West, the Badgers will visit Minnesota in the final week of the year.

With 1-8 Northwestern on deck next week for the Gophers, a victory this week would almost assure them the division title, avoiding the potential of a must-win game to end the year against the Badgers.

Iowa News & Notes

Iowa came inches short of overcoming a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit last week in Wisconsin, but the Hawkeyes weren’t interested in claiming any moral victories. The loss to the Badgers essentially killed any chances Iowa had of playing in this year’s Big Ten championship game, a fact that wasn’t lost on veteran players afterward.

“Now it’s about playing for each other. Playing for the love of the game,” offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs solemnly told reporters. Even head coach Kirk Ferentz had a tough time putting on a brave face. “It’s certainly disappointing,” Ferentz said. “It’s going to be a tough bus ride home for us.”

Ultimately, however, the 24-22 final may have been flattering to Iowa, considering how badly the Hawkeyes were dominated during the first three quarters. Jonathan Taylor alone ran for 250 yards against an Iowa defense that had yet to allow a 100-yard runner this season, the Hawkeyes were outgained 473-295 and they were 1-for-9 on third down.

The loss dropped Iowa to 0-3 this season against ranked opponents — something worth noting as Minnesota comes to town ranked seventh in the nation.

Betting Pick: Golden Gophers +3

Minnesota continues to prove disbelievers wrong, covering its last six. With the opportunity to virtually clinch the Big Ten West this week, I don’t see the Golden Gophers letting down now.

Shark Bites
  • Minnesota is 7-0 SU and ATS in its last 7 games vs Big Ten opponents.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Iowa’s last 5 games.
  • Minnesota is 0-4 SU in its last 4 games vs Iowa.