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Hawkeye waving tradition 'emotional,' Gophers' Fleck says

The Iowa Children's Hospital overlooks Kinnick Stadium during the first quarter of a game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Oct. 28, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. Jeffrey Becker / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers had a rough first quarter against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 29. They trailed 7-0 and had two offensive drives stall in the red zone.

That was briefly pushed to the side when they participated in the Hawkeyes' fans new tradition of waving to patients in the children's hospital across the street from the stadium.

As Hawkeyes players and coaches prepared for the second quarter, the Gophers went out to the hash marks and joined in the heart-felt moment that has grown in popularity in its first season.

"Emotional, it really was," Fleck said Monday. "... It's amazing that the kids are getting us to smile; it's not the other way around. I think that is what was really special about it. There are so many things that are bigger than college football. There are so many things that are more important than the win or the loss, and that is one of them. I know it's a young tradition, but that one pulls at your heartstrings."

It was Fleck's first battle for Floyd of Rosedale with the Hawkeyes, which ended in a 17-10 loss, but the tribute will be what sticks with him most.

"I will always remember the wave," he said.

'Not worried' about Brooks

On Monday, Gophers running back Shannon Brooks appeared questionable to play Michigan in Ann Arbor at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Minnesota's second-leading rusher left the Iowa game after undergoing tests for a possible shoulder injury, according to KFXN-FM.

But it doesn't seem to be a concern for Fleck.

"Don't know yet," he said. "I'm not worried about it, though."

Estes update

Before freshman cornerback Justus Harris had his redshirt removed two weeks ago, freshman Rey Estes was going to be the next man up in a depleted secondary. That changed when Estes, a converted quarterback, hurt his wrist in practice.

"Now it's, 'Oh my gosh, do I play a true freshman with a wrist injury?' " Fleck said. "But he's going to be fine. He'll wear this cast in practice for a week or so."

Fleck said any redshirts removed in the final four games would only be in emergencies.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.