Business as usual: Kaeding’s leg lifts Hawkeyes

When Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding boomed a 55-yard field goal through the uprights with two seconds remaining in the first half of Saturday’s contest with Minnesota, the kick ignited the Iowa crowd.

But Kaeding was probably more excited than anyone in the building, jumping around afterward and pumping his fists as he set up the ensuing kickoff.

The kick was a big lift for the Hawkeyes and their fans as Iowa went into the locker room with a 20-6 lead.

“I thought he had a pretty good chance (of making the kick), and if you ask him, he had a 100 percent chance,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That was enough for us to hear.

“For him to hit it like he did, it certainly made it more comfortable. That really gave us a great boost – no question.”

In his final game at Kinnick Stadium, Kaeding tied his own Iowa records of 16 points, four field goals in one game and longest field goal (55 yards).

He is Iowa’s all-time points leader (351 points), and Saturday’s effort moved him into third place on the all-time Big Ten kicker scoring list.

“The uprights looked pretty big today to be honest with you,” Kaeding said. “I just went out there and didn’t really think about it too much.”

Besides the 55-yarder, Kaeding had field goals of 27, 33 and 38 yards.

Abdul-Khaliq sets record

Despite his three fumbles and an interception, Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq passed Rickey Foggie for the teams’ all-time lead in total offense.

With his career-high 388 yards passing and 22 yards rushing, Abdul-Khaliq now has 7,617 yards of total offense in his career, leaving Foggie (7,312) behind.

Abdul-Khaliq injured his left shoulder last week but said he felt fine Saturday.

“I felt pretty good once the adrenaline kicked in,” Abdul-Khaliq said. “It really wasn’t an issue. I’m not going to say that it was a reason why I did this or didn’t do this today. We just didn’t click.”

Maroney misses 1,000

With Marion Barber III out, freshman Laurence Maroney had a golden opportunity to join Barber as a 1,000-yard rusher this season.

But Maroney’s 69 yards left him just 10 shy of the millennium mark.

Had Maroney picked up the extra 10 yards, he and Barber would have been only the 28th duo in NCAA history to each rush for 1,000 yards in one season.

In addition, Maroney would have been the fifth current Gophers player to rush for 1,000 yards in his career, joining Barber, Thomas Tapeh, Terry Jackson II and quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq.

Road warriors

Saturday’s loss was Minnesota’s first road loss of the season.

Prior to Saturday, the Gophers beat Ohio, Penn State, Northwestern and Illinois to go 4-0 on the road.

The Gophers had not gone over .500 on the road since 1999 when they beat Northwestern, Illinois, Penn State and Iowa at their home stadiums en route to 8-3 season and a berth in the Sun Bowl.

Truly a game of inches

After Maroney’s fumble with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter, Iowa got the ball inside its own 1-yard line.

And then things got a little strange.

After a quarterback sneak by Hawkeyes quarterback Nathan Chandler moved them to the two-yard line, a flag was thrown.

After discussing the play for a few minutes, the referees determined that there was no foul on the play and that the play never happened. So the teams lined up again.

A false start by the Iowa offensive line moved the ball back about a foot.

Then, pinned further back, the Hawkeyes went with a hard count to try to draw Minnesota off sides. The Gophers didn’t bite, and Iowa was whistled for a delay of game.

The referee proceeded to grab the ball, already so close to the goal line, and move it back not more than a couple of inches. The crowd laughed.

At the end of the sequence, Iowa was flagged for two penalties for, officially, zero yards.