Penalties, ‘inconsistency’ quickly halts Gophers

Minnesota falls to 0-4 against Iowa under Fleck.


Nur B. Adam

Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan prepares to launch a pass at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24. Minnesota fell to Michigan 49-24 in their first showing of the season.

Brendan O'Brien

Minnesota was unable to reclaim Floyd of Rosedale and lost its sixth straight game against Iowa, falling 35-7 Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium.

Not only are the Gophers 0-4 against the Hawkeyes under head coach P.J. Fleck, Minnesota has not had a lead in this matchup since 2016. The reason for this most recent loss to its border rival? The defense, which had another woeful performance, surrendered big runs and 347 yards to the Hawkeyes. But penalties and missed opportunities did not help the Gophers’ cause either.

Incomplete passes in the first half – 11 of them to be exact – stalled offensive drives that were previously powered by running back Mohamed Ibrahim. One of them proved to be costly when a pass from Tanner Morgan was out of reach of Rashod Bateman and went into the hands of Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner.

“Who cares about the stats? I just think we were inconsistent as a football team tonight,” Fleck said. “And take your pick. Whatever player, coach you want to pick. Offense, defense, special teams — we were just really inconsistent.”

The Gophers were unable to convert an initially promising opportunity into points. Gophers’ linebacker James Gordon IV was able to snag an interception on the third defensive possession of the game and returned it to Iowa’s 13 yard line. But a block in the back penalty from linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Fleck negated the return and pushed Minnesota back into its own territory.

Sori-Marin, considered one of the defensive leaders, later in the half fell victim to a targeting penalty and was ejected from the contest. In total, the Gophers exceeded 50 yards in penalties, the most of the season.

A third quarter drive that lasted almost 11 minutes appeared to be the drive Minnesota had been praying for all game, trying to make it a 14-7 game while also controlling the clock. Instead, it ended up resulting in another missed opportunity with a blocked field goal and an Iowa score five plays later. After this, the game fell out of reach for Minnesota, and Floyd of Rosedale ultimately returned to Iowa City for at least another year.