(Saturday, November 27th)
Final Score: Minnesota 27, (24) Iowa 24
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Duane Bennett rumbled into the end zone from six yards out with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter to lift the Minnesota Golden Gophers over the 24th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, 27-24, in the final regular-season game for each school.
Bennett carried the ball 11 times for 63 yards for the Gophers (3-9, 2-6 Big Ten), who won back-to-back games to finish the season. DeLeon Eskridge rushed for 95 yards on 21 carries and also scored once.
Minnesota senior quarterback Adam Weber completed 13-of-25 passes for 164 yards in the annual battle for Floyd of Rosedale. Iowa had won eight of the last nine meetings between these teams.
"How about them Gophers? Who would've ever thunk it, as we like to say. What an outstanding effort by the players, the coaches," Minnesota interim head coach Jeff Horton said. "It started right from the get-go. We talked all week how the game was going to be won up front on both sides of the ball, and our guys just came out and played so hard the whole game."
Ricky Stanzi connected on 10-of-22 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns for the Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4), who lost three straight to end the year.
Marcus Coker carried the ball 21 times for 90 yards. Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos each caught a TD pass, with Johnson-Koulianos also adding an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
"There are a lot of things we need to fix right now," Stanzi said. "It's a team loss, but it's really tough when you're on the road, lose and it's a trophy game. I think we kind of need to evaluate a lot of different things and get back to work. Maybe bring a new attitude and energy and amp it up a little bit."
Holding a 20-17 edge late in the third quarter, Minnesota was driving when Eskridge lost the football. Brett Greenwood recovered the ball for Iowa at his own 30-yard line. Johnson-Koulianos caught a 21-yard pass on the first play to put the ball near midfield, and McNutt capped the eight-play march with an 18- yard TD catch to give the Hawkeyes a 24-20 lead with 11:35 to play in the game.
Following a pair of punts, the Gophers took over at their own 23 with 7:36 remaining. Da'Jon McKnight caught a 40-yard pass on the second play to put the ball at the 18-yard line. Faced with a 3rd-and-4 from the 12, MarQueis Gray rushed for six yards and a first down. On the next play, Bennett rumbled up the middle for a score and 27-24 Minnesota advantage with 4:31 left.
Coker fumbled the football on Iowa's ensuing possession. The Gophers picked up a few first downs to run the remaining time off the clock.
Eric Ellestad made a 26-yard field goal on the opening possession of the game to give Minnesota an early lead. The Gophers then recovered an onside kick to get the ball right back. An 11-play march ended with Gray scampering into the end zone from 14 yards out for a 10-0 lead with 5:44 left.
The Hawkeyes bridged the first and second quarters with a 13-play, 70-yard drive. Faced with a 3rd-and-goal from the seven, Stanzi found Johnson- Koulianos in the end zone to cut the gap to 10-7 with 14:53 remaining until half.
Following a Minnesota punt, Stanzi fumbled the football. The Gophers recovered the ball at the Iowa 23-yard line. Eskridge rumbled into the end zone from the 11 just two plays later to make it 17-7.
Johnson-Koulianos returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to cut Iowa's deficit to three with about 12 minutes to go.
Minnesota took a 20-17 edge into the locker room after Ellestad and Hawkeyes kicker Michael Meyer exchanged field goals.
Minnesota leads the all-time series, 60-42-2...The Gophers racked up 382 yards of total offense, compared to 218 for the Hawkeyes...Weber made his 50th consecutive start on Saturday. He owns the all-time record for starts by a quarterback in the Big Ten and tied the all-time record for consecutive starts (50) in the Big Ten at any position...The Hawkeyes are bowl eligible for the 10th straight season.
11/27 20:01:24 ET