Gophers drop third straight

by Brian Hall

Thousands of Hawkeyes fans stormed the Metrodome field following No. 5 Iowa’s 45-21 victory over Minnesota on Saturday to celebrate their teams’ share of the Big Ten title and a possible Rose Bowl birth.

They waved roses, enjoyed the company of the Floyd of Rosedale trophy and even brought down a Metrodome goal post.

Despite attempts by Minneapolis police and stadium security to clear them off the field, the crowd carrying the goal post paraded its conquest around the Metrodome – much in the same manner the Hawkeyes had just run through the Gophers.

The Iowa faithful constituted a large part of the announced sellout crowd of 65,184. It was the largest crowd ever to watch a Minnesota football game, breaking the previous mark of 65,018 set in 1986 against the Hawkeyes.

“Well, they had more fans here than we did, so I don’t know why they wouldn’t,” said Gophers linebacker Ben West, referring to the tearing down of the goal post.

Iowa (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten) gave its fans plenty to celebrate with the 24-point win. The Hawkeyes earned at least a share of the Big Ten title with their first unbeaten conference season since 1942.

While Minnesota’s fans probably outnumbered Iowa’s, there were no doubts as to whose fans were the loudest.

“It is amazing how loud the crowd was in our home stadium,” Gophers senior Jake Kuppe said. “You couldn’t hear. It was as bad as playing at Ohio State or at Purdue.”

The Hawkeyes racked up 365 yards on the ground, the most given up by Minnesota (7-4, 3-4) this season. Running backs Fred Russell and Jermelle Lewis each rushed for more than 100 yards, the first time a duo has done so against the Gophers this season.

Iowa exploded for 20 plays of more than 10 yards, and its 45 points were the most Minnesota has surrendered since Indiana scored 51 Oct. 21, 2000.

“We are not proud of the fact that we got beat 45-21,” Gophers coach Glen Mason said. “We are not proud of the fact that we turned the ball over six times, and we are not proud of the fact that they ran at will.

“That might be the most disturbing thing for me,” Mason said.

Defensively, the Hawkeyes conference-leading run defense held Minnesota to only 80 yards. The Gophers entered the game with the Big Ten’s top run offense.

Minnesota also gave up a season-high six turnovers, allowing Iowa to start drives in Gophers territory five times.

“The true story line is the turnovers,” Mason said. “Six turnovers and four of which gave them touchdowns. You talk about a short field; it was a miniature field that they had to score. We can’t do those types of things against anyone, let alone a top-ranked team like Iowa.”

Following the contest, a few Minnesota players were surprised to learn of the postgame actions of the Hawkeyes crowd and the destruction of one of the goal posts.

“I think it is disrespectful,” Kuppe said. “They are a good team, but I don’t think the fans need to be doing a thing like that.”

Quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq said, “You don’t rip down another team’s goal posts. That is something you do at home. We will just have to go down there next year, get a win and tear down their goal posts.”

Barber to redshirt

mason confirmed Sunday that sophomore running back Marion Barber III will apply for a medical redshirt this season.

Barber has only played in two games – missing the last seven – and has carried the ball 19 times for 69 yards to go with three catches. Barber entered the season No. 1 on the depth chart.

Injury update

after the game, Mason said wide receiver Keith Matthews injured his knee and would probably be out for the remainder of the season.

Also, leading rusher Terry Jackson II had only two carries after being hurt last week against Michigan.

Meanwhile, starting linebacker Terrance Campbell spent the second half on the sidelines with his right arm in a sling. Gophers trainers evaluated freshman return man Danny Upchurch’s left shoulder after he came out of the game in the third quarter.

Other than Matthews, Mason said he expects to have everyone else ready for the Saturday game at Wisconsin.