Gophers pound Iowa to reclaim pig

MINNEAPOLIS — Maxx Williams caught three of Mitch Leidner’s four touchdown passes, and Minnesota ran for 291 yards in a romp past Iowa 51-14 on Saturday afternoon to retake the Floyd of Rosedale trophy after a two-year absence.

The Gophers (7-2, 4-1) smothered the Hawkeyes for a season-low 84 yards rushing and swarmed the visitor sideline when it was over to hoist the heavy bronze pig the teams have played for since 1935. They moved back into a first-place tie with idle Nebraska in the Big Ten West Division, with a road game against the Huskers looming in two weeks. Wisconsin is a half-game back, and the Gophers finish this grueling month with a trip to play the Badgers.

This was quite the way to build some momentum for that stretch, following a stunning 28-24 loss at Illinois on Oct. 25.

The Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-2) opened the game with a short touchdown run by Mark Weisman, one of three third-down conversions during that 76-yard drive, but they just rolled over right after that. Weisman managed only 21 yards on 14 carries, after totaling 324 yards on 45 attempts against the Gophers each of the last two years.

Iowa led 17-0 at halftime and won 23-7 here in 2013 and built a 24-0 advantage at the break on the way to a 31-13 victory in 2012. This script was flipped hard by Minnesota, which scored three touchdowns in the last 7 minutes of the first half.

The Gophers host mighty Ohio State next week, but for now they can revel in another decisive victory over one of the big three rivals they’ve had so much trouble with in recent years. They beat Michigan 30-14 on Sept. 27, making this is the first season since 1967 they’ve beaten both the Hawkeyes and the Wolverines.

 

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