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Minnesota Golden Gophers 2014 opponent profile: Iowa

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers face the Iowa Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Stadium on Nov. 8 to begin what is expected to be the most difficult four-game stretch of the season. The Gophers close the season with two home and two road games against teams that are expected to be at or near the top of their respective divisions.

2013 Record: 8-5 (5-3 Big Ten)

2013 Offensive Statistics: 26.3 points scored per game, 377.0 total offensive yards per game, 179.9 rushing yards per game, 197.1 passing yards per game, 22 turnovers, 24 sacks

2013 Defensive Statistics: 18.9 points allowed per game, 303.1 total offensive yards allowed per game, 128.4 rushing yards allowed per game, 174.7 passing yards allowed per game, 21 turnovers forced, 15 sacks allowed

Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz (120-100 in 18 seasons as head coach, 108-79 in 15 seasons at Iowa)

Key Returning Offensive Players: RB Damon Bullock, RB Jordan Canzeri, WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, QB Jake Rudock, OL Brandon Scherff, RB Mark Weisman

Key Returning Defensive Players: DL Carl Davis, DB Desmond King, DB John Lowdermilk, DL Drew Ott, DL Louis Trinca-Pasat

Outlook: The Hawkeyes exceeded expectations in 2013. That won’t happen in 2014. Historically, they are better when expectations are low. This season, they are projected to be near the top of the Big Ten’s West Division and close to double digit wins.

They probably won’t reach that high, but should be a factor in the division race. The West Division has tiers with Wisconsin and Nebraska at the top; Northwestern, Iowa and Minnesota in the middle and Illinois and Purdue at the bottom.

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