Game Preview: Can #8 Minnesota Improve to 10-0?
I cannot even believe Minnesota is 9-0, and is playing to go 10-0! I seriously doubted that I would ever see the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team do that in my lifetime.
And to think Minnesota could technically clinch the Big Ten West with a win and Wisconsin loss. The Badgers play Nebraska so not likely. The Huskers are flat out terrible, but you never know. The game is in Lincoln. But I'm not going to go waste your time writing about the Wiscy-Nebraska game or ripping on Nebraska. They take enough crap down there in Lincoln.
Anyways, back on topic. The Golden Gophers, now ranked #8 according to the recent College Football Playoff rankings, will be heading into the heat of enemy territory in Iowa City to take on the #20 Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Gophers have not won at Kinnick Stadium since 1999, so how sweet would it be to win there for the first time in 20 years against the Iowa Hawkeyes, win the Floyd of Rosedale and improve to 10-0! That would be an amazing sight!
For one thing, as you could have probably already guessed, I will be at the game. I have never been to Iowa City, and this will be one hell of a game to witness in-person.
The Gophers cannot get complacent after a huge win last week against Penn State. It is very easy for teams to do that! And for a team like Minnesota that has been known to lay giant goose eggs in countless games, they cannot let their momentum be destroyed by Iowa. That would be a mood killer!
But it is football! As a football fan, I have to prepare for things like that as much as I do not want it to happen. The Hawkeyes lost a tight game in Madison last week against the Wisconsin Badgers 24-22. That is not an easy place to play, and they played a close game.
Now the Gophers are walking into Kinnick stadium, one of college football's loudest and wildest environments. This will be another huge test for Minnesota.
The Hawkeyes have some big players including the offensive line, but it should be nothing the Gophers can't handle. They were able to break through a powerful offensive line from Penn State so they can do it again against Iowa.
And on top of that, the defense for Penn State was ranked one of the best heading into last week's game, and the Gophers were able to amass 120 rush yards and a whopping 339 pass yards. Iowa's defense has looked to be sub-par this season so Tanner Morgan and the Gophers receivers should be able to continue their domination against the Hawkeyes. But the big word in that sentence is "SHOULD."
The only thing holding them back from winning this game outright is the crazy environment I was talking about. The main difference between last week's game and this week's game is that thousands of roaring fans drenched in black and yellow will be cheering against Minnesota, screaming loudly whenever the Gophers have the ball.
Will the Gophers be able to handle that pressure? I think so. I mean even though the Penn State game was at home, the pressure was still immensely high on the team to perform well and they ended up winning. The Gophers will just need to play calm and keep doing what has been working the entire season. Just play sound and smart football, and the Gophers will win the game.
I just have a strong feeling that Iowa fans still think we are overrated, and will whoop our butts when we come to town. That's just how those fans operate. I would tell them to look at all the honors and milestones this team has achieved just in the last week:
- Antoine Winfield Jr. named Big Ten and National Defensive Player of the Week
- Tanner Morgan was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and was named a Semi-Finalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award
- The U of M football team was named National Team of the Week
- Rashod Bateman had a program-record 203 yards receiving in last week's game versus Penn State.
Ok maybe it is a bit of stretch to assume most to all Iowa fans think Minnesota is overrated, but just in case any Iowa fans think that, they need to not only look at the Penn State game, but the awards and milestones listed above. I have never seen so many achievements in a season out of this team.
It has been since 1904 that Minnesota was last 9-0. Now we could be 10-0! How crazy is that!
I am definitely still in shock from the Penn State game, but I am already mentally preparing for the Iowa game as every other Minnesota fan is probably doing.
If you felt this was more of an annoying rant and just wanted to read some simple key things to know about this game, think again. I am here to provide some hardcore "opinions" and "hot takes" only.
But if you wanted to know the important things to know, you can read them here.
One thing I will say is that Minnesota has not beaten Iowa since 2014. We have the Axe. We have the Victory Bell. Now is the time to take back the Floyd of Rosedale and go to 10-0!
Minnesota takes on the Hawkeyes on Saturday at 3PM CT on Fox. Let's continue the perfect season, and, hopefully, clinch the West!
Row the Boat, Ski-U-Mah, Go Gophers!