(Saturday, October 29th)
Final Score: Minnesota 22, Iowa 21
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - A three-yard touchdown run by MarQueis Gray with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as the Minnesota Golden Gophers recorded a narrow 22-21 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Big Ten matchup at TCF Bank Stadium.
Gray finished the afternoon with 62 yards rushing on 11 carries for the Gophers (2-6, 1-3 Big Ten) in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale, a rivalry that dates back to 1891. Gray also converted 11-of-17 passes for another 193 yards and a score as the squad snapped a four-game slide. Duane Bennett accounted for a team-best 101 yards and a TD on 20 rushing attempts.
The Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-2) were paced by Marcus Coker who ran for a game-high 252 yards and scored twice on 32 attempts, while James Vandenberg hit on 16-of-24 passes for 177 yards and a score, but was also sacked three times along the way as the squad had a two-game win streak snapped.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Vandenberg put the first points on the board as he hooked up with Marvin McNutt on a 12-yard TD pass play for Iowa.
However, before the half could end, Minnesota responded with a three-yard TD pass from Gray to Collin McGarry, knotting the score at 7-7 at the break.
The teams again traded scoring plays in the third quarter, but while the Golden Gophers were limited to a 28-yard field goal by Jordan Wettstein, the visitors landed in the end zone when Coker crossed the goal line from a yard away.
Coker came up big again for the Hawkeyes early in the fourth when he registered his second one-yard rushing TD of the day, making the score 21-10.
On the ensuing possession Minnesota drove 80 yards in 11 plays, eating up almost five and a half minutes on the clock, as Bennett scored on a one-yard run to cut the deficit to 21-16 following a failed two-point conversion try.
After Gray scored on the three-yard run late in the fourth quarter, the Gophers decided to shoot for a three-point lead with under three minutes remaining in regulation. Gray lofted a pass to Da'Jon McKnight in the left corner of the end zone, but pass interference was called and the ball was moved half the distance to the goal line. On the next attempt Gray tried to run around the left side but he was stacked up and held out of the end zone.
Luckily for the Gophers, the gamble didn't ultimately cost them as the defense held and gave the ball back to the Minnesota offense in the waning moments.
Minnesota, which controlled the ball for an astounding 13:25 in the fourth quarter alone, picked up the victory despite converting just 3-of-11 on third down.
In news made off the field this week by the Gophers, the program signed first- year head coach Jerry Kill to a seven-year contract through February of 2018. Kill, who has been hospitalized this season because of seizures, signed a memorandum of agreement when he was originally hired on December 6, 2010. He coached the first seven games of the season without a signed contract.
10/29 21:16:38 ET