Gophers to start quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis versus Iowa

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			Gophers to start quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis versus Iowa
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The Gophers will start quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis in the Battle for Floyd of Rosedale against Iowa at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday, a source told the Pioneer Press.

The redshirt freshman QB will get his third start this season and second consecutive at home as sixth-year senior QB Tanner Morgan has dealt with an “upper body” injury after being knocked out just before halftime vs. Nebraska on Nov. 5.

While the Gophers lose experience with Morgan’s 50 career games, they gain athleticism with Kaliakmanis. He presents more of a threat to a stingy Hawkeyes defense.

Kaliakmanis has shown an ability to keep it on the read option, and when passing plays break down, scramble for positive yards and first downs. On the season, he has 21 rushes for 105 yards and one touchdown.

Kaliakmanis has a strong right arm and has completed 47 percent of his passes (27 for 58), with one touchdown and three interceptions across eight total games. He was 7 for 13 in the 31-3 win over Northwestern last week and missed on a handful of throw that could have significantly boosted his 64 total passing yards against the Wildcats.

Saturday’s rivalry game will be the latest and potential stiffest test for the redshirt freshman. The Hawkeyes are No. 1 in the nation in yards allowed per play, and Saturday’s weather is expected to have a temperature in the teens and gutsing winds up to 30 miles per hour.

The Antioch, Ill., native had his first significant action in the fourth quarter against Illinois on Oct. 15, when Morgan suffered a concussion. Kaliakmanis was a bit rushed in the 26-14 defeat and threw two interceptions with two completions in six attempts in the late comeback attempt.

In his first collegiate start, Kaliakmanis showed poise in front of 109,813 fans at Penn State’s annual White Out game on Oct. 22. Given the circumstances, the Gophers had a conservative approach, especially early. He ended with nine completions on 22 throws for 175 yards, with his first career TD and an INT.

Kaliakmanis’s second fill-in role was a successful uphill climb at Nebraska on Nov. 5. He led an offense to 20 unanswered points in the 20-13 victory, completing six of 12 passes for 137 yards.

The former four-star recruit is 2-1 as a starter at Minnesota.

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