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Gophers seeking to end lopsided dominance by Iowa

BY BRENDAN STILES | NOVEMBER 18, 2009 7:21 AM

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Lately, the battle for Floyd of Rosedale has been fairly one-sided.

Coming into Saturday’s game at Kinnick Stadium, the No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes have won seven of their last eight contests against Minnesota. Last season, Iowa won the final Gopher football game played in the Metrodome, 55-0.

The blowout score may have been accidentally omitted in the Minnesota football media guide sent out this year, but it hasn’t been forgotten by head coach Tim Brewster.

“We know exactly what happened last year,” he said during the Big Ten football teleconference on Tuesday. “Obviously, Iowa was much better than us the day we played them. They played an outstanding game, and we did not play well.”

Entering his third year as the Gophers’ head coach, Brewster knows what is at stake this weekend.

“It’s a very meaningful trophy game,” he said. “It’s a big rivalry, and it’s important to the state of Minnesota, to our players, to our fans … it’s important to everybody. We’re going to take a football team down there that’s excited to play.”

Michigan

What once looked to be a great turnaround season for Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines is becoming a nightmare.

After losing, 45-24, at Wisconsin last weekend, Michigan now sits at 5-6 overall, needing a win against its chief nemesis Ohio State in the Big House on Saturday to avoid missing a bowl for the second-straight year.

The ninth-ranked Buckeyes come into college football’s biggest rivalry having won five straight against the Wolverines. They also sealed up a trip to the Rose Bowl last weekend after beating Iowa at home in overtime, 27-24.

“Everything has gone out the window, so to speak,” Rodriguez said during the Big Ten football teleconference on Tuesday. “It’s not only the big rivalry with Ohio State, but it’s also our seniors’ last home game.

“I don’t think you have to preach it to your kids because they hear about it every day, but as coaches, we want our guys to feel like it’s going to be the most special game of the year.”

Penn State

With talks of a second Big Ten team possibly getting a BCS at-large bid, the two most viable candidates appear to be Iowa and No. 13 Penn State.

This weekend, the Nittany Lions get one more chance to state a case for themselves to the BCS when they visit Michigan State, which became bowl eligible last weekend after a 40-37 win at Purdue.

Losses at home to both Iowa and Ohio State this season have given Penn State the perception of being a disappointing 9-2 squad. But having Joe Paterno at the helm, as well as a solid traveling fan base, are among the list of criteria the Nittany Lions will use to make their case for a BCS game, should they win this weekend at Spartan Stadium.

But even Paterno said he thinks his team has a fight on its hands against Michigan State, and among the Spartans he praised were quarterback Kirk Cousins and linebacker Greg Jones.

“[Jones] is as good a linebacker as there is in the country. If somebody has a better one, I’d like to see him, because [Jones] does everything,” Paterno said during the Big Ten football teleconference on Tuesday. “It’s a good, solid football team that has had some bad luck at times, but when they’re playing, they’re tough.”


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