Quick hitters

October 31, 2011

—Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill got his first Big Ten and his first trophy game victory. “I don’t believe we won the game today without the fans,” Kill said.


—MarQueis Gray passed for 193 yards and a touchdown and ran for 62 yards and a touchdown. This was the first game this year that he scored as both a runner and passer. “He has to be a respected youngster and a player. This was certainly a big growth spurt in his [Gray’s] development today,” Kill said.


After a Duane Bennett fumble, Gray huddled the offense together on his own on the sideline. “It needed to be done,” Gray said. “I need to do it more often. I need to be a leader on this team.”


—The Gophers’ offensive line didn’t allow a sack, opened lanes for 178 yards rushing and allowed Gray time to find receivers for 193 yards.


—The Gophers’ defense sacked Iowa’s James Vandenberg three times Saturday. Minnesota now has eight sacks on the year. That matches its total for the entire 2010 season.


—Minnesota held Iowa to a 36 percent conversion rate on third down. By far, it’s the lowest percentage the Gophers have allowed in Big Ten play.


—Kim Royston had a career-high 16 tackles on Saturday. He leads Minnesota with 77 tackles on the year. “I’ll be in good and early at rehab icing, but I’m a safety and you’ve got to make plays,” Royston said.


—Iowa’s Marcus Coker ran for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota last gave up a 200-yard rushing performance to Chad Spann from Northern Illinois in 2010, then led by Jerry Kill.


—The Gophers lost the possession battle 31:50 – 28:10 to the Hawkeyes, but they held the ball for almost the entire fourth quarter to come back and win. Iowa held the ball for only 1:35 in the fourth quarter.


—Walk-on kicker Jordan Wettstein made his first start when Chris Hawthorne couldn’t play due to a muscle strain. Wettstein made his first field goal of the year and successfully kicked the onside kick that allowed the Gophers their game-winning drive. “His feet probably haven’t even hit the ground. He did a great job kicking,” Kill said.


—The Hawkeyes missed two field goals in the first half. Their kicker, Mike Meyer, had previously converted all four of his field goals in Big Ten play.


—Freshman wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts from Edina caught two deep passes from Gray for 100 yards. This was his first 100-yard game.


—Kyle Henderson notched his first sack for a 12-yard loss and forced his first fumble, which the Gophers recovered. “That was a miracle play. It really changed momentum of the game,” Henderson said.


—Minnesota defensive tackle Brandon Kirksey’s uncle, Christian Kirksey, plays for the Hawkeyes’ defense. Brandon said he messaged his uncle earlier this week with a picture of the pig and said, “If you want it, you got to come get it.”


After the game, Kirksey had a bandage on his face where the Floyd of Rosedale trophy was dropped and hit him during the celebration. “I think it was the right ear,” Kirksey said.

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