Loss Puts Gophers in Dubious Company

Mike Sherels

The Gophers had their moments at Iowa but still lost, tying them for a record they'd prefer to forget.

The Gophers finished with more yards than their opponent for the first time this season, held Iowa to 68 total yards in the second half, pitched a shutout for the final 30 minutes and got a 54-yard field goal from kicker Joel Monroe.

And still lost.

The Gophers showed some life but still tied a dubious school record in a close-but-no-cigar 21-16 loss to Iowa. Minnesota (1-10, 0-7 Big Ten) extended its losing streak to nine games and tied the 1983 team for the most losses in school history.

The Gophers close their season next week at home against Wisconsin, hoping to avoid finishing without a victory or tie in the Big Ten for the first time since 1983.

It's somewhat ironic that the Gophers set a school record for yards allowed in a season (now at 5,781) in a game in which the defense wasn't the primary problem. Minnesota gave up season lows in yards allowed (296) and first downs (17).

Iowa managed only 68 total yards and four first downs and was 1 of 8 on third down in the second half.

"At halftime we reached a breaking point on defense," senior linebacker Mike Sherels said. "We said enough is enough and put our foot down. It's time to start playing like we know we can play."

The Gophers, however, dug themselves too big of a hole, especially with their offense struggling for most of the game.

The Gophers had three consecutive three-and-out series to start the game and managed only 15 total yards in the first quarter. They finished with 315 total yards (125 rushing, 190 passing) and nothing came easy.

They needed a career-long field goal by Monroe and a 22-yard touchdown catch by Eric Decker with one minute 38 seconds left in regulation to make the score close.

"I'm very frustrated right now and disappointed," freshman quarterback Adam Weber said.

Weber completed 24 of 41 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. He also led the team in rushing with 70 yards on 11 carries. But he also threw an interception in the third quarter, and the offense failed to capitalize on a day when the defense finally gave the team a chance.

NOTES

  • TE Jack Simmons, who has played the entire season with a broken bone in his right foot, caught four passed for 60 yards.

  • QB Adam Weber set single-season school records for completions (237), pass attempts (412) and total offense (3,073).

    GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Mike Sherels — Making his first start in five games because of a hamstring injury, the senior had a team-high nine tackles with one sack.

    KEEP AN EYE ON: K Joel Monroe — His 54-yard field goal at the end of the first half tied for fifth longest in school history and was Minnesota's longest since 2003. His previous long was 39 yards.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I asked them after the game, ‘Who just feels like you've been stuck in the gut with a searing knife?' Everybody did. I said that's good because that means we have a chance." — Minnesota coach Tim Brewster on the close loss.

    LOOKING GOOD: The defense, for a change. Minnesota held Iowa to 68 total yards, four first downs and 1 of 8 on third down in the second half. Iowa's offense is not very good but that qualifies as a major development for the Gophers.

    TE Jack Simmons, who has played the entire season with a broken bone in his right foot, caught four passed for 60 yards.

    QB Adam Weber set single-season school records for completions (237), pass attempts (412) and total offense (3,073).

    STILL NEEDS WORK: The Gophers are having a hard time running the ball right now. They finished with only 125 rushing yards, including 49 by starting tailback Duane Bennett.

    LB Steve Davis collected only one tackle after posting double digits in tackles the previous three games.

    DE Derrick Onwuachi had a critical personal foul penalty after a third-down stop for hitting quarterback Jake Christensen, who was clearly on the ground.

    ROSTER REPORT:

    Freshman returner Harold Howell did not make the trip because of disciplinary reasons but is expected to play this week.

    No new injuries were reported.


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