Minnesota cornerback Troy Stoudermire has respect for Iowa’s wide receiver corps, but he thinks his team has an advantage in the passing game.
“I think I match up really good with them,” said Stoudermire, a senior. “They’re really good receivers, but I feel like our defensive backs are really good also. It will be a good match-up on Saturday.”
There’s no reason why Stoudermire shouldn’t be confident. Minnesota is tied for the Big Ten lead in interceptions with seven. The Gophers are second in sacks with 11. Minnesota sophomore strong safety Derrick Wells has two interceptions and the other five are spread among other defenders.
Iowa, conversely, ranks 11th in pass efficiency and quarterback James Vandenberg is last among Big Ten starters. Vandenberg also has thrown only one touchdown this year.
“Our focus right now is a tight focus,” Stoudermire said. “We’re not cocky or anything, but we’re ready to go to Iowa and beat them.”
Today’s game is the 106th meeting between the longtime rivals. It’s Iowa’s most-played rivalry, while Minnesota has played only Wisconsin more than the Hawkeyes.
Oddly, this is the first time Iowa and Minnesota will ever have met in September. From 1983 through 2010, at least one of the teams closed out the regular season against the other. The earliest they had ever played before Saturday was on Oct. 2, 1909.
The teams play for Floyd of Rosedale, a 98.3-pound bronze pig. The teams first met for Floyd in 1935 and the statue was instituted in 1936. Minnesota has won the traveling trophy in each of the last two seasons. For more on Floyd’s background, click here.
The game also marks the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s first homecoming. Minnesota last served as Iowa’s homecoming opponent in 1979.
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