By: Jordan Kruger | KFAN.com
9/28- The 4-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers finally start Big Ten play this weekend, against the Iowa Hawkeyes. (3-1) This weekend marks the first real test for the Gophers. The Hawkeyes are arguably one of the bottom feeders in recent years in the Big Ten. This match-up will be a very good measuring stick for where the Gophers sit among Big Ten teams.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are coming off of two big wins. Two weeks ago the Hawkeyes defeated Iowa State, and last week Iowa handled Western Michigan. Iowa has been a sneaky team in the Big Ten in recent years, coming up with a major upset. Two year ago they upset Michigan and last year it was Michigan St.
This game is going to be a ground battle, and a great ground test for the Minnesota defense. The Hawkeyes have a great offensive line, accompanied by a good tailback in Mark Weisman. Weisman was a break out walk on last year, and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this year.
The Gophers will start Mitch Leidner again, with Philip Nelson still being hurt. Leidner had good success last weekend against SDSU, both through the air and on the ground. Leidner has been a great fill-in for the Gophers at QB, having a passer rating of 133.9. Leidner has had great success because of his ability to use his feet, and I look for him to do just that against Iowa.
This game is going to be a battle, and I look for a great finish. This will tell a lot about the Gophers and what we can expect from them the rest of the season. I predict a 21-17 Gopher victory on Saturday afternoon. The Gophers will have to use Leidner’s ability to scramble, and extend plays to have good success against the Hawkeyes defense. I also expect David Cobb to get a significant amount of carries and to have a couple of touchdowns also to balance things out.