The Kicking Game Vs Iowa 2019, 2021 & 2022

BigTenGuy

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The mantra about outplaying Iowa only to lose tends to ignore special teams, where the Gophers have decidedly underperformed versus Iowa, especially in the kicking game.

2019-Gophers miss a long first half FG (50 yards);Iowa scores TD on next possession.

Gophers miss a 4th quarter XP, making it a 4-point game, meaning a TD is needed on Gophers last possession.

Iowa makes its only FG attempt on possession starting at Gopher 39, after 15-yard Gopher penalty on punt.

2021-Gophers have long FG blocked; Iowa scores TD on ensuing possession.

Iowa makes both of its FG attempts, including a 50-yarder.

2022- Iowa makes both of its FG attempts. Gophers miss a 34 yd FG.

So in each of these years Iowa is perfect in FG attempts, and the Gophers miss 1 FG per year, 2 of which were long FG misses helping lead to ensuing Iowa TDs.
 

Some guy

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Literally 99% of posters commented on special teams as part of why we lost?
I’m not sure that your point as is earth shattering as you think it is. Everybody knows the gophers lost special teams.
 

GopherTakes

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Literally 99% of posters commented on special teams as part of why we lost?
I’m not sure that your point as is earth shattering as you think it is. Everybody knows the gophers lost special teams.
To be fair, before the game a lot of fans seemed to believe our special teams was "above average" which was simply just false.
 

Some guy

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To be fair, before the game a lot of fans seemed to believe our special teams was "above average" which was simply just false.
Our special teams are okay.
There probably isn’t much of a difference between above average and below average other than the date and how they perform that day.

We definitely aren’t GREAT special teams and we definitely aren’t the worst in the country either.


And I am not talking about before the game. I am talking about after the game
 

BigTenGuy

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Literally 99% of posters commented on special teams as part of why we lost?
I’m not sure that your point as is earth shattering as you think it is. Everybody knows the gophers lost special teams.
A fair critique. However, it seems to me that many of the people acknowledging we lost special teams think it does not undermine the overall conclusion that we outplayed Iowa, only to lose. But if you give special teams their due weight, especially against a team on a multi-year run of really good to great special teams, losing special teams in decisive, critical manner means that, in total, the Gophers did not outplay Iowa.

Hanging our hat on outgaining Iowa is an empty-calorie approach that ignores the importance of special teams, and frequently ignores the score of the game (e.g. 2019).
 
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GopherTakes

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Our special teams are okay.
There probably isn’t much of a difference between above average and below average other than the date and how they perform that day.

We definitely aren’t GREAT special teams and we definitely aren’t the worst in the country either.


And I am not talking about before the game. I am talking about after the game
Yeah I understand, it seems our ST unit is more of a liability than a strength currently. Our biggest issue is we haven't been able to flip the field on punts and our return game has been non existent the past few years.

I agree the variance from average to bad is quite small but we definitely won't be winning any games because of our special teams.
 

Some guy

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A fair critique. However, it seems to me that many of the people acknowledging we lost special teams think it does not undermine the overall conclusion that we outplayed Iowa, only to lose. But it you give special teams their due weight, especially against a team on a multi-year run of really good to great special teams, losing special teams in decisive, critical manner means that, in total, the Gophers did not outplay Iowa.

Hanging our hat on outgaining Iowa is an empty-calorie approach that ignores the importance of special teams, and frequently ignores the score of the game (e.g. 2019).
You can lose plays and still outplay someone overall.


Do you think that people who thought Mn outplayed Iowa think that Iowa didn’t win any plays?
 

Some guy

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Yeah I understand, it seems our ST unit is more of a liability than a strength currently. Our biggest issue is we haven't been able to flip the field on punts and our return game has been non existent the past few years.

I agree the variance from average to bad is quite small but we definitely won't be winning any games because of our special teams.
Two pretty large examples of that being true (Purdue missed field goal and Iowa missed field goal) but other than those two plays Minnesota special teams have been pretty serviceable.

We aren’t winning games on special teams. We may have lost two, but those were 2 plays.


Punting you have a point. We need to improve at punting.
Punt return is a tough one.
Against Rutgers the returner was playing too far forwards. Against Iowa he was playing too far back. Against Wisconsin in 2018 special teams won the game for us. So I’m not sure it’s a problem that’s indicative of the program or this years team. Hopefully they fix it. It seems to be worse than we would like but better than 2020.

Kickoff team we get a lot of touchbacks. Hard to evaluate.
Kick return we fair catch a lot. I would fair catch unless I thought I had a guy who can take it the distance. The downsides of starting at your own 13 on a penalty are bigger than the upsides of starting at the 35 instead of 25. Others disagree in philosophy.

If we were great at everything we would win more games. I agree
 

Gophergrandpa

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A lot of people talked about Iowa's special teams advantage. For me, the difference on a brutally cold day goes well beyond FGs; it is where punting left us in terms of relative field position.

Here is where Iowa's drives started (own side of field unless indicated): 21; 34; 25; 20; 25; 25; 37; 9 (fumble recovery); MN 45 (interception).

Here is where Minnesota's drives started: 22; 29; 28; 11; 15; 3; 3; 45; 25. The highlighted starts (thanks to Iowa's great punter) came after MN tied the game 10-10. While our yardage total against Iowa is very impressive, these successive starts very deep in our own territory are on a brutally cold day are effectively a 12th man on Iowa's defense. And our conservative offensive play calling down the stretch made explosive plays pretty unlikely. So each drive was going to be a long, arduous slog with a magnified number of opportunities for a mistake to be made. And yet we still almost won the game.

This year at least it wasn't just the FG kicking that made Iowa's special teams better. It was also our respective punting games. Iowa's punt ST is great at flipping the field--which magnifies the risk of a mistaken play for its opponent. We're kind of meh on using punts to flip the field.
 
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BigTenGuy

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You can lose plays and still outplay someone overall.


Do you think that people who thought Mn outplayed Iowa think that Iowa didn’t win any plays?
No. I just disagree with the conclusion that the Gophers outplayed Iowa in 2019, 2021 and 2022.
 
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Some guy

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A lot of people talked about Iowa's special teams advantage. For me, the difference on a brutally cold day goes well beyond FGs; it is where punting left us in terms of relative field position.

Here is where Iowa's drives started (own side of field unless indicated): 21; 34; 25; 20; 25; 25; 37; 9 (fumble recovery); MN 45 (interception).

Here is where Minnesota's drives started: 22; 29; 28; 11; 15; 3; 3; 45; 25. The highlighted starts (thanks to Iowa's great punter) came after MN tied the game 10-10. While our yardage total against Iowa is very impressive, these successive starts very deep in our own territory are on a brutally cold day are effectively a 12th man on Iowa's defense. And our conservative offensive play calling down the stretch made explosive plays pretty unlikely. So each drive was going to be a long, arduous slog with a magnified number of opportunities for a mistake to be made. And yet we still almost won the game.

This year at least it wasn't just the FG kicking that made Iowa's special teams better. It was also our respective punting games. Iowa is punt ST is great at flipping the field--which magnifies the risk of a mistaken play for its opponent. We're kind of meh on using punts to flip the field.
The difference in the punting was 3 yards
The net difference was 7 yards

If those drives started at the 18, 22, 10, and 10 that would make a difference but punting wasn’t the reason the gophers were on a negative field the whole game. A lot of it was circumstance. That’s why Iowa plays the way they play.

Minnesotas defense played well but even when they got stops they often didn’t get them fast enough even if the offense flipped the field.
 

Some guy

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No. I just disagree with the conclusion that the Gophers outplayed Iowa in 2019, 2021 and 2022.
You can feel free to disagree
I don’t agree with that statement either.
I never made that statement.

I did make the statement that Minnesota out played them in the last 2/3 of the game those three years. Which wasn’t good enough.
 

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A lot of people talked about Iowa's special teams advantage. For me, the difference on a brutally cold day goes well beyond FGs; it is where punting left us in terms of relative field position.

Here is where Iowa's drives started (own side of field unless indicated): 21; 34; 25; 20; 25; 25; 37; 9 (fumble recovery); MN 45 (interception).

Here is where Minnesota's drives started: 22; 29; 28; 11; 15; 3; 3; 45; 25. The highlighted starts (thanks to Iowa's great punter) came after MN tied the game 10-10. While our yardage total against Iowa is very impressive, these successive starts very deep in our own territory are on a brutally cold day are effectively a 12th man on Iowa's defense. And our conservative offensive play calling down the stretch made explosive plays pretty unlikely. So each drive was going to be a long, arduous slog with a magnified number of opportunities for a mistake to be made. And yet we still almost won the game.

This year at least it wasn't just the FG kicking that made Iowa's special teams better. It was also our respective punting games. Iowa is punt ST is great at flipping the field--which magnifies the risk of a mistaken play for its opponent. We're kind of meh on using punts to flip the field.
Tough to measure your Special Teams units against Iowa. Its a focus and LeVar Woods is one of the best in the country - more than likely their next Head Coach when Ferentz retires.

I understand your point though. Special Teams matters a lot more than people think. Its how you can close a 100 yard gap in yards gained................
 



Ope3

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A lot of people talked about Iowa's special teams advantage. For me, the difference on a brutally cold day goes well beyond FGs; it is where punting left us in terms of relative field position.

Here is where Iowa's drives started (own side of field unless indicated): 21; 34; 25; 20; 25; 25; 37; 9 (fumble recovery); MN 45 (interception).

Here is where Minnesota's drives started: 22; 29; 28; 11; 15; 3; 3; 45; 25. The highlighted starts (thanks to Iowa's great punter) came after MN tied the game 10-10. While our yardage total against Iowa is very impressive, these successive starts very deep in our own territory are on a brutally cold day are effectively a 12th man on Iowa's defense. And our conservative offensive play calling down the stretch made explosive plays pretty unlikely. So each drive was going to be a long, arduous slog with a magnified number of opportunities for a mistake to be made. And yet we still almost won the game.

This year at least it wasn't just the FG kicking that made Iowa's special teams better. It was also our respective punting games. Iowa is punt ST is great at flipping the field--which magnifies the risk of a mistaken play for its opponent. We're kind of meh on using punts to flip the field.
You can feel free to disagree
I don’t agree with that statement either.
I never made that statement.

I did make the statement that Minnesota out played them in the last 2/3 of the game those three years. Which wasn’t good enough.

The 1st Iowa punt in the 4th Quarter and subsequent blown up return could have been the difference in the game. Let it go and it might have rolled into the end zone for a touchback. At worse they would have only been 2 yards further back than where the drive started.

Drove for more than 80 yards before Mo's fumble. That would have been enough for a TD. Granted different play calling and defense with an adjusted starting point, so perhaps it would have played out differently.
 

Some guy

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The 1st Iowa punt in the 4th Quarter and subsequent blown up return could have been the difference in the game. Let it go and it might have rolled into the end zone for a touchback. At worse they would have only been 2 yards further back than where the drive started.

Drove for more than 80 yards before Mo's fumble. That would have been enough for a TD. Granted different play calling and defense with an adjusted starting point, so perhaps it would have played out differently.
Correct. Special teams is hugely important. In fact, people who claim Minnesota outplayed Iowa with a couple exceptions list special teams and turnovers as the two exceptions.


I am just saying people overblow how bad our special teams is. We are medium quality. Not bad. It shows more when you go against one of the better teams in the country at it. I think another game that we badly lost special teams was Rutgers.
 

Ope3

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Correct. Special teams is hugely important. In fact, people who claim Minnesota outplayed Iowa with a couple exceptions list special teams and turnovers as the two exceptions.


I am just saying people overblow how bad our special teams is. We are medium quality. Not bad. It shows more when you go against one of the better teams in the country at it. I think another game that we badly lost special teams was Rutgers.
Agreed. One game where they stepped up was at Nebraska, making the FGs in difficult conditions and executing the punt after the much discussed 4th & 1 debate.
 




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