Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell (22) runs a pass for 74 yards to score the Hawkeyes' second touchdown against Minnesota during the first half at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, September 28, 2013. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
PLAY OF THE GAME
- TIME: 3:00, second quarter
- SCORE: Iowa 10-0
- DOWN AND DISTANCE: Iowa faced first-and-10 at its 26
- FORMATION AND PERSONNEL: Iowa – Three receivers, tight end, running back, shotgun. Minnesota – six defenders at the line of scrimmage, five at the second level and none deep. Safety Brock Vereen was injured and was not on the field.
- WHAT HAPPENED: Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell lined up on the right side. Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray backed up. The Gophers blitzed, rushing six defenders and leaving five at the second level about eight yards off the line of scrimmage. Iowa QB Jake Rudock threw to Powell, who caught the ball on a tunnel screen and took two steps parallel to the line of scrimmage. Four Iowa offensive linemen ran in front of Powell. Guard Andrew Donnal and tackle Brett Van Sloten sealed off the outside by attacking safety Cedric Thompson. Wide receiver Tevaun Smith blocked Murray to the outside. Guard Conor Boffeli and center Austin Blythe sealed off the inside, leaving a clear lane for Powell. Powell burst through an opening and raced untouched for a 74-yard touchdown.
- WHY IT WAS IMPORTANT: Minnesota had built slight momentum nearing the end of the first half. The score put Iowa up 17-0 and gave the Hawkeyes clear control of the game.
- THE QUOTE 1: “We’ve been practicing that,” Powell said. “They play aggressive on the perimeter and they gave us a good look, and we took it and we scored off of it. I was looking for (the safety). I was expecting the safety to be there, but it was clear as day.”
- THE QUOTE 2: “I went to block the guy and then after that I saw the guy with the ball was gone,” Van Sloten said. “I ran to try to catch up to him, but I’m an offensive lineman and I’m not going to catch up to him.”
- THE QUOTE 3: “If a team is blitzing on a screen, I’m sure almost every offense, that’s what you want,” Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock said. “If they blitz on a screen, that’s when you want to call a screen..”
- THE ANALYSIS: It was the perfect play at the perfect time. It was Powell’s first offensive play and Murray respected his speed by backing up. Iowa exploited Minnesota’s defensive tendencies, caught the Gophers in a blitz, and once Powell broke past the second level, it was a simple race to the end zone. Minnesota defensive end Thieren Cockran gave chase, but nobody can beat Powell to the end zone.