By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - It was a sellout crowd of 51,382 that welcomed the 4-0 Gophers into TCF Bank Stadium Saturday afternoon for Minnesota's homecoming game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Looking back at the day, it wasn't the early morning fall drizzle that dampened the spirits of Gopher fans on Sunday but the uncharacteristically sloppy play the frustrated Gopher Nation.
Heading into the weekend, the Gophers were known to have been careful with the football committing only three turnovers through the first four games. They were also the least penalized team in the Big Ten conference heading into play. All of that seem to have flown out the window when the Gophers kicked off the conference schedule with a 23-7 loss to Mark Weisman and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The morning started with a surprise as sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson suited up and took to the field after missing the previous week with a hamstring injury that had previously threatened his status against Iowa.
"We repped both of them all week," Jerry Kill said of his two quarterbacks Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner after the game. "We felt comfortable that if [Philip] could play he would...he felt that he was 100% and he would be able to go."
Nelson struggled to do what he does best on the ground Saturday and the Gophers offense never got rolling. Normally one of the Gophers leading rushers, Nelson was stuffed for -18 yards on 9 rushing attempts. All-in-all, the Gophers run game struggled mightily as all running players (QBs & RBs) combined for just 30 yards on the ground
"I've said all along they're a better football team than they were a year ago," Kill said. "They won the line of scrimmage today without a doubt...that's where the games are usually won or lost"
On the contrary, Iowa's star running back Mark Weisman torched the Gophers defense for 150 yards averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Through the air it was Jake Rudock who was 15-for-15 passing for 218 yards and a touchdown. Up and down the field the Gophers were beaten, looking undisciplined and sloppy as they accumulated 5 penalties for 45 yards.
So it's back to the drawing board and then to the practice field for Jerry Kill and the Gophers who head to the "Big House" next week to face off against a good but beatable Michigan team.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN