DAILY BREAKDOWN: Iowa favored in battle for Floyd

Iowa was a six-point favorite to start out the week.

Running back Rodney Smith carries the ball at TCF Bank Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 30. The Gophers defeated the New Mexico State Aggies 48-10.

Jack Rodgers

Running back Rodney Smith carries the ball at TCF Bank Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 30. The Gophers defeated the New Mexico State Aggies 48-10.

by Jack Warrick

Minnesota will take the field this Saturday for its homecoming game against Iowa to fight for the historic Floyd of Rosedale trophy, which has been with the Hawkeyes since the 2015 season. Both teams go into the game 3-1 fresh off of a bye week. The Gophers look understaffed due to injuries and the Hawkeyes are coming off their first loss to the ranked Badgers.

Minnesota will play its homecoming without arguably its best player on defense — defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. — and its highest-producing player on offense — running back Rodney Smith.

Iowa was winning 17-14 with a minute left in the Wisconsin game but fell short after a last-minute collapse.

When Minnesota runs the ball:

The Gophers’ running attack was limited to 94 total yards last game in its loss to Maryland. The Iowa rush defense has allowed just 84 yards per game this year but, against Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes’ defense allowed 210 rushing yards.

The newly-appointed starting running backs, freshmen Bryce Williams and Mohamed Ibrahim, average 3.8 and 5.6 yards per game rushing respectively.

Matchup to watch: RB Mohamed Ibrahim vs. LB Jack Hockaday

Advantage: Iowa

When Iowa runs the ball:

Iowa’s running game this year ranks just above Minnesota’s at No. 10 out of the Big Ten’s 14 teams. The Hawkeyes average 167.3 yards per game on the ground. Toren Young is the team’s most productive back, averaging 5.5 yards per carry with two touchdowns this year. Mekhi Sargent also gets a considerable amount of carries and has run for three touchdowns this year. This is the first year the two are getting more snaps at Iowa.

After Minnesota’s defense allowed under 100 rushing yards in each of the first three games, the defense faltered in it’s first Big Ten matchup. The Gophers allowed 315 rushing yards to Maryland — more than they had allowed in the last three games combined.

Matchup to watch: RB Toren Young vs LB Thomas Barber

Advantage: Iowa

When Minnesota passes the ball:

The Gophers’ system for getting yards by air has improved from last year with a new quarterback in Zack Annexstad, new receivers in Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell and veteran receiver Tyler Johnson. Minnesota currently averages 187 passing yards per game. Annexstad threw one touchdown and his first two interceptions of the season against Maryland.

The Hawkeyes have averaged 176.5 passing yards per game, good for fifth in the Big Ten. Their main threat in the backfield is safety Amani Hooker. He has the third most tackles on the team with 25 and an interception this year.

Matchup to watch: WR Chris Autman-Bell vs DB Amani Hooker

Advantage: Iowa

When Iowa passes the ball:

Iowa had 256 passing yards and two passing touchdowns last week against No. 16 Wisconsin. Almost half of the yards on the receiving end came from tight end T.J. Hockenson, though the touchdowns were scored by tight end Noah Fant.

The Gophers rank third in the Big Ten, allowing 167.5 passing yards per game. They allowed 117 receiving yards to Maryland, but lost their top playmaking safety in Winfield Jr. due to an injury during the game.

Matchup to watch:  TE T.J. Hockenson vs. DB Jacob Huff

Advantage: Iowa


Iowa 31, Minnesota 17

The Gophers are coming off their first loss, an unexpectedly lopsided one. Though they had a bye week to help correct issues seen in the first Big Ten game, the loss of Smith in the offense and Winfield Jr. in the defense is difficult to bounce back from.

Iowa was one minute away from a victory over Wisconsin, and has not lost to Minnesota in three years.

Everything else you need to know:

Start time: 2:30 p.m. CT

Network: BTN

Radio: KFAN 100.3

Line: Iowa by 6