MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill had just finished addressing his team after last week's win over San Jose State when he was approached by Eric Kaler, the president of the university.
"I've got a lot of stuff on my mind after the game. He shook my hand and said, 'Good win. I'd sure like to have that pig back,'" Kill said.
That perfect nonconference record by the Gophers (4-0) won't mean much if they don't beat Iowa, one of their two biggest rivals. They'll play at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After wins at home over the Hawkeyes in 2010 and 2011, the Gophers traveled south last year and lost decisively, 31-13.
"They honestly just kicked our butt, and they kicked it for four quarters. They didn't just kick it for a half," Kill said this week as his team prepared for the annual game for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, the bronze pig that goes to the winning side. "How do you prevent that? You go back to work and try to get better, and we'll see if we got any better."
Iowa (3-1) dropped its opener to Northern Illinois but beat Western Michigan 59-3 last week. The Hawkeyes are relying on their usual power running game, with Mark Weisman leading the FBS with 95 carries. New quarterback Jake Rudock has rushed for four touchdowns. But the Hawkeyes have some flair, too: wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley returned two punts for touchdowns last week.
The Gophers have quite the rhythm going on the ground themselves. Ben Lauer, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound redshirt freshman, has taken over as the starter at left tackle, giving a beefy front five even more girth.
"We're hardly that kind of size, so it's going to be a real test for us," Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said of his defensive line.
Here are five things to know about this year's fight for Floyd:
EARLY DATE: This is the 107th meeting between the two programs but only the second time they've played in September. Last season was the first.
For 26 straight years, from 1984-2009, the Gophers and Hawkeyes met in November, often for the final regular-season game. They played in October in 2010.
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