Defense shines late to save Hawkeyes

Somehow, this Iowa football team is just one home win over Nebraska away from being a Big Ten West champion again.

The final chapter in a season that’s been shaping up well lately, despite much early turmoil, came in Minneapolis on Saturday, where the Hawkeyes clinched a 13-10 win over Minnesota. Combine the win with Illinois’ loss earlier in the day and the Hawkeyes have the help they need to reach Indianapolis again.

Jack Campbell was legendary. Drew Stevens was clutch. Spencer Petras at least saved his biggest shot of the night to buy time.

Let’s look at the testimony.

Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta (84) takes a short pass up past Minnesota defenders Jordan Howden (23) and Justin Walley (5).

Offense: What would Iowa’s offense have been like without Sam LaPorta’s injury?

The Hawkeyes were unlikely to light the scoreboard regardless of their offensive weapons all being healthy. But Sam LaPorta, who left the game with a leg injury after a monster in the first quarter, put a significant strain on Iowa’s offensive flow.

LaPorta finished with four grabs for 95 yards, including a huge 58-yard catch and run on a tunnel screen that set up Iowa’s first field goal. The Hawkeyes had 106 passing yards in the first quarter and 115 in the last three quarters.