Ten down. Two to go.
Iowa was outscored in the second half Saturday night, but the lead never shrank below five in the fourth quarter, meaning a 40-35 win over rival Minnesota in the battle for the Floyd of Rosedale and a 10-0 start for the Hawkeyes, who look destined for a spot in the Big Ten title game.
In fact, Iowa is just one win away from clinching a Big Ten West Division championship.
Saturday's win got the Hawkeyes to double digits for the first time since 2009 and the fourth time under Kirk Ferentz. It's just the eighth season with at least 10 wins in program history. One more win would match the program record for wins in a single season, and two more wins would make for the winningest season in school history.
So not a bad start for the 2015 Hawkeyes.
Saturday, Iowa got a challenge from border rival Minnesota, the normally offensively challenged Gophers dropping 35 points on the Hawkeyes' defense, the most scored by an Iowa opponent this season. But Iowa matched its second-highest point total of the year with the winning 40 points.
The teams traded first-half touchdowns, with LeShun Daniels' scoring run giving the Hawkeyes a brief lead until Mitch Leidner tied things up on a touchdown tote of his own. C.J. Beathard waltzed in for an easy touchdown in the second quarter, only to be answered by Brandon Lingen, who caught a Leidner pass and took it 40 yards for a game-tying score.
Marshall Koehn booted a 47-yard field goal, and Daniels scored from two yards out in the final minute of the second quarter to give Iowa a 24-14 advantage at halftime.
Koehn kicked another field goal midway through the third quarter to push the lead to 13, but the Gophers sliced it down to six on Rodrick Williams' touchdown run with a minute to go in the third.
The scoring exploded in the final frame, with Beathard rushing in for another touchdown in the first minute of the period, boosting the Hawkeyes' lead to 12 after failed two-point conversion attempt. Minnesota executed a halfback pass to perfection when running back Shannon Brooks hit Drew Wolitarsky for a 42-yard touchdown, bringing the margin to just five with five and a half minutes to play. Daniels ran in for his third touchdown of the game with two minutes left to grow the lead back to 12, but Brooks made Iowa sweat with a touchdown run 45 seconds later. The Gophers couldn't get the onside kick to work for them, though, and the Hawkeyes ran the clock out for the win.
For two good defenses — Iowa has one of the best in the country — there was a shocking amount of offensive success. The Hawkeyes gained 506 total yards of offense, while the Gophers amassed 434 yards. Neither team turned the ball over.
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Leidner threw for 259 yards and a touchdown, as the Gophers, adding Brooks' 42-yard completion, threw for more than 300 yards. Two Minnesota receivers were over 100 yards, as KJ Maye caught seven passes for 106 yards and Lingen caught six passes for 105 yards. Wolitarsky caught three passes for 71 yards.
Beathard had 213 passing yards and added 50 on the ground, plus two rushing touchdowns. Daniels went for 195 rushing yards on 26 carries, hitting the end zone three times. Iowa totaled 272 rushing yards.
Iowa, ranked No. 5 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, kept its record spotless with the victory and is on track for a spot in the Big Ten title game. A lot is to be determined in the East Division, as undefeated Ohio State plays Michigan State and Michigan in the final two weeks, with all three teams still capable of winning the division title. However, out West, only Wisconsin has a chance to challenge Iowa for the division championship. The Hawkeyes would have to lose their final two games and the Badgers would have to win their final two games for that to happen. And Iowa losing twice seems quite unlikely, as its final two contests come against Purdue and Nebraska.
Minnesota, meanwhile, fell to 4-6 with the loss and is 1-5 in conference play. The Gophers' final two regular-season games come against Illinois and Wisconsin. They will have to win both games to earn bowl eligibility.