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Iowa’s toughness was back against Minnesota

[ 0 ] September 30, 2012 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Someone mentioned to Iowa’s football players that Minnesota touted toughness after defeating Syracuse two weeks ago.

Guys such as linebacker James Morris turned it into personal motivational challenges in days leading to Saturday’s Big Ten Conference opener.

“If you’re physical, people are going to notice,” Morris said. “They’re going to say it. Anytime you’re self-promoting … it’s a challenge.

“We took that to heart. We said, ‘OK, they think they’re physical. We’re going to try and show them what physical is.’ I thought we did that.”

The Hawkeyes accomplished that on both sides of the ball during the 31-13 victory at Kinnick Stadium. Aggression continued to be Iowa’s voice as it improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

The offensive line —especially the left side of Brandon Scherff and Matt Tobin, with assistance from center James Ferentz — helped tailback MarkWeisman to another big day that included 21 rushes for 177 yards and a touchdown.

“Those guys have been moving people around all year,” said Weisman, who enters Iowa’s bye week with 515 yards and seven touchdowns on 74 carries.

His 7.0 yards per carry tops Big Ten rushers heading into the Hawkeyes’ open Saturday. His yardage total is fifth.

“I’m very confident out there in my ability,” Weisman said. “I’m confident the offensive line and (fullback) Brad Rogers will open holes. They’re making my life easy out there. They’re tough guys.”

Iowa’s toughness tout isn’t hollow, at least so far.

It also was true about a defense that limitedMinnesota to 299 yards, the Gophers’ lowest total since they put up just 156 yards in a 42-13 loss against Wisconsin six games ago.

It was true about an Iowa offense that had three plays exceeding 30 yards, including a 44-yard run by Weisman. That’s three more than Minnesota allowed while going 4-0 against competition with a combined 7-12 record after Saturday.

“It’s not just Scherff and I,” said Tobin, the left guard. “We have fullbacks busting it open. We have lots of things coming together to make it work well.

“Everybody’s fired up. We can’t wait until the next play starts.”

That’s scheduled for11 a.m. on Oct. 13 at Michigan State (3-2, 0-1).

“Rest and recovery,” Vandenberg said of this week’s to-do list. “And school.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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