September 30, 2006

TES - 2006 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 5

Iowa’s Record:  4-0, 1-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #13 (864 votes)
USA Today: #13 (802 votes)
ESPN Power 16: #13
ESPNU Allstate: #12

2006 Iowa Football Schedule
September 2nd – Iowa v. Montana WIN 41-7
September 9th – Iowa @ Syracuse WIN 20-13 2OT
September 16th – Iowa v. Iowa State WIN 27-17
September 23rd - Iowa @ Illinois WIN 24-7
September 30th – Iowa v. Ohio State, 8:05 PM, ABC (7:05 PM in Iowa City!)
October 7th – Iowa v. Purdue (Homecoming) 12:05 PM, ESPNU
October 14th – Iowa @ Indiana TBD
October 21st – Iowa @ Michigan TBD
October 28th – Iowa v. Northern Illinois TBD
November 4th – Iowa v. Northwestern (Family Weekend) TBD
November 11th – Iowa v. Wisconsin (Senior Day) TBD
November 18th – Iowa @ Minnesota TBD

September 30th, 2006: Iowa Hawkeyes v. #1 Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-0, 1-0 Big Ten
Prior Games: 60, Buckeyes lead 43-14-3
Last Game: 2005. Ohio State 31, Iowa 6

Game Watch: ‘The Best Game Watch Outside Of Kinnick.’
BLONDIES SPORTS 212 West 79th, (Broadway/Amsterdam).
1 train to 79th street, half a block east.  Several parking garages are nearby.
NOTE: If sitting on bar stools/standing for 3 hours is not ideal for you, we will be reserving a couple tables on the restaurant side of Blondies.  We will not always have Hawkeye audio on the restaurant side.

PLEASE NOTE – Blondies opens at 11:30 – do not expect to be let into the bar before then!

First, would like to say hello to the 2nd City Hawks who are now on this game watch list.  NYC Hawks, should you find yourself in Chicago then you should make your way to – and I am not kidding – ‘Sedgwick’s Bar and Grill.’  It’s the home of the Chicago Hawks and I assure you that you will feel just as at home in my place as you do at Blondies. Chi-Town Hawks, I assume a boatload of you will be back in the IC this weekend and we will see you there.  I believe FAC starts at 5:00 at Jakes and moves on from there.

To you NYC Hawks that are holding down the Blondies fort this weekend – if anyone wants to grab the bag o’ flags from me you will need to meet me before I head to the airport at 12:30 pm Thursday.

Last Week: Illinois
Eh, so much for rolling into the Buckeye game with an offensive explosion.  Well, I guess you could consider the 3 touchdowns in 4 minutes, 8 seconds as explosive, but the fact that we again started slowly on that side of the ball is concerning. The Hawkeye teams that were winning double digit games the past few years could almost always be counted on to come out and score early, often the very first drive, and establish to the other team that they were going to be playing catch up and our defense could tee off on that.
 The Iowa running game is still not what we expected.  We have balance, as Young, Sims, and Greene all netted between 54 and 56 yards, so I think if we could get 150-200 yards a game to go with Tate’s passing we will usually be all right.  We were counting on Young to follow up last year with a Heisman-worthy mention this season, and to date that has not happened.  He seems a little hesitant to hit the line with the burst he did last year so I wonder if there is some minor lingering injury that the coaches are not letting us in on. We are going to have to run the ball better this week, you can bet on that.

Tate was his usual efficient self and as long as he is healthy we can count on him to ‘manage’ the game correctly and always keep us in it. Chandler only had one catch this past week and is it me or is Tate zeroing in on Moeaki as his go-to tight end?  He had the 35-yard td pass to finish up the td blitz at the end of the first half.  How nice it is to have tight ends on either side of the line that can make the big catch and keep the safeties occupied and away from doubling up on the receivers.  Those receivers – freshman Douglas again led the team in catches with 6 and he looks more and more each week to be a true diamond in the rough and is well on his way to becoming a star.

I was kind of surprised to see that Illinois gave the start to the Juice, and boy was I glad that he was not ready for it, either.  Illinois could have scored some points in the first half if Juice had been able to hit his open receivers, but he could not.   The defense again played their bend but don’t break style and I am sure they were bummed when the Illini got that 4th quarter td to avoid the shutout. Illinois almost ended up with the same offensive yardage as the Hawks but the difference came down to – finally – turnovers.  Juice was picked 3 times and Brasic got in for a few plays only to have his first pass also swiped.  We now have 5 turnovers in 4 games.  That total must grow on Saturday night.

All in all not the Illini whipping we hoped for but we are 4-0, ranked 13th, and the eyes of the country will be on the Hawks this week.  I am certain they will start better on Saturday.  They have to.

This Week: Ohio State
It’s safe to say you will not witness bigger hype in Iowa City anytime soon.  The top ranked team coming to town for the first true night game since 1992 is big enough, but now we know Game Day will be in Iowa City for the first time since ’96.  Note – if you will be back for the game, PACE YOURSELF.  Last thing you want to do is pass out and miss the game.  This game will be on ABC from sea to shining sea so be sure to set your dvrs!

If we were a bit disappointed that we did not roll into this game with more momentum, the Buckeyes cannot feel a whole lot better about this game.  They outright struggled with Penn State last week (at Ohio State) and the Lions are an empty shell of the Big Ten champs of a year ago.  The score was 28-6, but in fact the Lions were one play away from tying the game right up until the final 3 minutes, when Ohio State returned two Lion interceptions for game sealing touchdowns.  Troy Smith, the Buckeyes senior QB, only threw for 115 net yards on 12-22 passing with one td and two interceptions. All-Everything Ted Ginn Jr. just caught two passes for 15 yards and the Lions also did a very good job of limiting his effectiveness on punt and kick returns.  Pittman did run for 110 yards on 20 carries, but I am quite sure the Iowa front seven trump Penn State’s so we shall see if the Buckeyes can run this week.

On the defensive side of the ball Ohio State graduated 9! (nine) starters last year.  Now, it is true that programs like the Buckeyes get all those blue chip and 4 star recruits that they can just plug in and expect excellence.  But Iowa will bring a much more experienced passing attack than the Buckeyes have seen all season (remember, Texas started a redshirt freshman QB).  If the Hawks can run the ball at all, play action will put great pressure on the Buckeye defensive backs as they must keep track of both wideouts and two excellent pass catching tight ends.  Another factor to consider is the Hawks have really not opened up the playbook in the first four games.  I am sure Kirk will have a few surprises to spring.  Yes, the Buckeye defense will be great in time but this is an early season opportunity to catch them in the learning process. This game is not in the Horseshoe, it is in Kinnick and even for top programs the road can be a very unfriendly place under the right conditions.

And it would seem we have just that.  This is only the second true night game in Kinnick history (the first being Miami).  This is the Big Ten home opener and the Hawks have won their last five. Kinnick will be LOUD when the Buckeyes have the ball (provided the Hawks are not trailing) and after watching the Giants game Sunday you could see what a crowd dedicated to noise can do to an offense.  The Hawks are ranked 13th in both polls.  That could mean bad luck for someone and let’s bet it’s not the home team. A win here and Iowa starts 5-0 for the first time in 11 seasons.  More importantly, it would propel Iowa right into the middle of the BCS picture and national title hunt.

What must the Hawks do to win this game?  Some thoughts:

  1. Score early.  Early and often, if possible, but get the lead and keep the crowd in the game.
  2. Punt and kickoff toward the sidelines to keep Ginn bottled up.
  3. The cornerbacks have to grow up this week.  They cannot give too big a cushion to Ginn and the Buckeye wideouts but they also should not try to jam them on the line and get beat deep.  This will be the matchup to watch.
  4. D-line must have a great game to keep pressure on the QB and allow the linebackers to contain the run and help in pass coverage.  If we have to blitz we are very vulnerable to the speedy receivers.
  5. Win the turnover battle.  Period.  They are superior in raw talent so we must not give them any help.
  6. Remember where they are.  If we are going to be the elite program we want to be we have to protect the home turf.
  7. We are not going to shut the Buckeyes out, but do not let them score on big plays that turn the momentum on a dime.
  8. If you are going to the game, please be prepared to loose your voice as you yell and scream when the Buckeyes are trying to do their snap counts.

This kind of feels like one of those games where they say the first team to say, oh, 24 points wins.  That might be about right.  Before Saturday I was thinking this looked more like a shootout but I am not thinking that now.  The Hawks will need to play solid football for 60 minutes, start quickly, keep the plays in front of them, and remember that the entire nation will be watching and this is their chance to put Iowa on every map in football mad America.

A Look Ahead:
Who cares?  Win this and it will take 7 days to recover from the partying we will do in Iowa City that night.

Have a safe trip back to everyone who is going back to campus and to those of you who will be in town be sure to yell just as loud at the bar. We will be able to hear you in Kinnick, I am certain.

Why You Should Watch The Iowa Games At Blondies Sports
  1. A room full of Iowans, and Quasi-Iowans.
  2. Iowa games in glorious audio – we control the bar side stereo.  That means you hear the game.  And the fight song.  ON IOWA.  The Beer Song.  Maybe a little Hawkeye radio audio from the Capital One Bowl.
  3. A bar decked out in Hawkeye banners, flags, signs, etc.  Like the Sports Column…minus the attitude.
  4. It is a bar – meaning that once the game kicks off, you don’t have to drink Coke.  That is, unless you want to.  
  5. Speaking of audio…actual Hawkeye Marching Band alumni have been known to break out the brass and start jamming.
  6. Prizes.  From time to time, there will be raffles of cool Hawkeye gear.
  7. James the Bartender is back.  He was with us from 2001-2003, so he is as much a part of NYC Hawkeye football as Matt, I, and all the regulars.  Take care of him and he takes care of you!
  8. Should the Hawks lose, you don’t have to drown your sorrows by yourself.  Pain is a drink best shared with friends.
  9. Maybe the best chicken wings in the City.
10. New for 2006!  New FLAT SCREEN TVS at Blondies!



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