MINNEAPOLIS — As dominating as Iowa was in Saturday’s 23-7 win at Minnesota, the Hawkeyes left the field at TCF Bank Stadium with more than a bronze pig.
Even after taking the Golden Gophers out of their game and limiting Minnesota to 30 rushing yards, they left with questions.
“I’m happy with where we are at this point, but I still don’t really know where we are,’’ linebacker James Morris said.
Has Iowa turned the corner?
Or, was the effort against the Golden Gophers simply a repeat performance of the dominating way the Hawkeyes handled Minnesota 31-13 a year ago in Iowa City?
Morris figures only time will tell.
“We need to make sure every week that we’re trying to improve how we play,’’ Morris said. “It’s fully possible that we could come out next week and not play as well.’’
Morris talked during the preseason about how this year’s senior class wanted to leave a legacy, especially following the 4-8 season Iowa endured a year ago.
Morris senses progress, but he also remembers that Iowa’s current 4-1 record isn’t that far off from the 4-2 record the Hawkeyes midway through the 2012 season.
But, time has taught Morris not to rush to judgment.
“You can’t get ahead of yourself,’’ the senior said.
That is among reasons Morris tempers his enthusiasm for what transpired on the field Saturday, pointing out that it was simply the first of eight Big Ten challenges which await the Hawkeyes.
“It’s not something I think that you can measure in statistics, though people might try to,’’ Morris said. “But, I think the guys are improving. We just need to continue to do that.’’
Morris found himself in the middle of the action against the Gophers’ run-oriented attack, finishing with eight tackles, a sack and an interception.
The body of work felt good to Morris, certainly a game to remember, but it didn’t feel like a defining moment.
“I remember back in my freshman year I thought, ‘Man, we have the potential to be a juggernaut,’ but sometimes you come out and don’t execute,'' Morris said. "So to say where a team is, it’s hard to define that.''
But what about that 4-1 start?
“I was really hoping we’d be 5-0,’’ Morris said. “I’m happy with where we are, but I’m certainly not satisfied. I knew going into the season that if this was a team that was going to be successful, we were going to have to improve on a week-by-week basis. I think we’ve done that to an extent, but we have a lot of room to grow left.’’