MINNEAPOLIS -- Shonn Greene set Iowa's single-season rushing record, Ricky Stanzi's arm was in rhythm, and the Hawkeyes defense battered the Gophers in a 55-0 victory on Saturday night to sour Minnesota's last game at the Metrodome and retain possession of Floyd of Rosedale.
The Gophers, who move into a new stadium back on campus next season after 27 years playing indoors and downtown, absorbed the second-worst home loss in their history behind an 84-13 defeat by Nebraska here in 1983. This was their most lopsided Big Ten loss ever.
Greene, all 235 pounds of him, plunged through the line for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries to propel Iowa (8-4, 5-3) into to a fourth-place tie in the conference with Northwestern.
The Hawkeyes and their faithful fans, thousands of whom hooted, hollered and taunted the home crowd with spirited chants of "I-o-w-a," could be headed for a New Year's Day bowl game with the Outback still a possibility.
The Gophers (7-5, 3-5) closed the regular season with four straight losses after cracking the national polls in October and fell to their border rivals for the seventh time in the last eight years.
Adam Weber had, arguably, his worst game in two years as quarterback, throwing two interceptions and finishing 14-of-28 for 127 yards. The Gophers were held to 7 yards rushing.
Almost all of the Minnesota fans were gone by the beginning of the fourth quarter, leaving the building for all the black-and-gold-clad folks to revel in a resounding ending to what Kirk Ferentz called earlier this week one of his most satisfying seasons as Iowa's coach. Unlike in 2002, when a win here sent the Hawkeyes to the Orange Bowl, the goal posts stayed upright.
The crew of yellow-coated security guards standing along the end zone wall was nearly doubled in the third quarter, and nobody made it on the field to help the players celebrate with the bronze pig these teams have played for since 1935.
Greene's 1,729 yards rushing this season broke Tavian Banks' record set in 1997. Stanzi rolled out of the pocket with ease in the first half, avoiding several sacks and completing 15 of his 28 attempts for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
Minnesota's Eric Decker returned from a sprained ankle that hampered him the last two games, keeping him from playing at all against Wisconsin and in the second half of Michigan, and had two receptions for 33 yards.
The Gophers will still go to a bowl game, because the Big Ten has only seven eligible teams, but this sure wasn't the way they wanted to finish their final month at the Metrodome.
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