October 21, 2006

TES - 2006 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 8

Iowa’s Record:  5-2, 2-2 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: Out
USA Today: #23 (172 votes)
ESPN Power 16: Out
ESPNU Allstate: #23
BCS: #23

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 Loss 38-17
October 7th – Iowa v. Purdue (Homecoming) WIN 47-17
October 14th – Iowa @ Indiana Loss 31-28
October 21st – Iowa @ Michigan 3:35 PM, ABC
October 28th – Iowa v. Northern Illinois 12:03 PM, ESPNU
November 4th – Iowa v. Northwestern (Family Weekend) TBD
November 11th – Iowa v. Wisconsin (Senior Day) TBD
November 18th – Iowa @ Minnesota TBD

October 21st 2006: Iowa Hawkeyes @ #2 AP, #3 USA Today/BCS, Michigan Wolverines 7-0, 4-0 Big Ten
Prior Games: 53, Michigan leads 39-10-4
Last Game: 2005. Michigan 23, Iowa 20, OT

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!  If you a couple of us in there earlier it’s so we can hang up the flags before the bar fills up.

Last Week: Indiana
You might excuse me for not really wanting to write much (thus think more) bout this game, but like the Hawks we must press on together. After the game the Hawkeye columnists and in some cases players were saying the Hoosiers “wanted” the game more.  Umm…what part of a 7-1 Big Ten season and BCS game did those Hawk players not want? No, it was not that the Hawks lacked the heart or intensity.  It was mistakes. From the obvious like the two missed field goals and two offensive red zone turnovers to the less obvious like the roughing the punter penalties, late hits out of bounds, etc, that kept Hoosier drives alive and the Iowa offense off the field. It was not that Shada gave up on any of those 3 touchdowns to Hardy – I remind you that kid torched our d-backs for 210 yards last year and he is going to be a first round pick in two years (he’s just a sophomore).  Yes, the d-line really had little impact on the game (just one sack, the QB connected on 19-25 passes or 76%, in just his 4th start) but they were missing King, our sack leader.  Safety Paschal was supposed to sit all game but was forced in at the end when his backup went out.  Had he been healthy and in there all game Shada would have a much more experienced free safety behind him to help with Hardy.  So it was injuries and execution that doomed the Hawkeyes, not some kind of letdown after we jumped out to the 21-7 lead.
 Yet there we were, knocking on the Hoosier end zone door, with 3 minutes left and it seemed certain we were going to win.  Another mistake, this time Tate’s throw was perhaps a bit high, but Brodell got both hands on it and should have brought it in at the 15 yard line.  He didn’t, and the Hoosier d-back behind him made a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight to snare the pick with one hand, and the game was over.  If we had scored there to win the game the Hawks would have won a gut-check game in the face of mistakes and missing playmakers. Instead, we fell one play short and the Hawks were ‘listless’ and the Hoosiers more ‘hungry’.  

So we move on from a game where we were the 17 point favorite to a game where we are the 13 point underdog.  If we make those mistakes this weekend we will be lucky to only lose by 13.  But our recent history against Michigan tells me the Hawks will look much sharper in the Big House Saturday.

This Week: Michigan
They can almost taste it, those in the paid-media who are salivating at the thought of 11-0 Ohio State and 11-0 Michigan meeting to wrap up the season with a title game appearance on the line.  And it’s true, if the Wolverines get by us both teams should coast to that November 18th match up in the Horseshoe.  Of course, none of the teams playing Ohio State or Michigan are just going to lie down and let that happen without a fight.  It begins this weekend and we are the last and best shot to wreck that game.

A look above shows that the overall history against the Wolverines is not the best, but the past several games have been very competitive – except for our 34-9 rout at Michigan in 2002 (I will never get sick of typing that!), their worse home loss since 1968.  There was the overtime loss in Kinnick last year in which the Hawks also played the officials in the first half, when we were dominating and would have built up too big a lead, if just playing Michigan.  Even the 30-17 loss at Michigan in 2004 was misleading because the Hawks turned the ball over 5 times and that lead to 27 of Michigan’s points. So we are 2-2 in the last 4 and could very well be 4-0.  That is the mindset the Hawks have to take into Michigan Stadium Saturday, in front of about 111K people.

The Wolverines, you recall, stumbled to a 7-5 record last year, just as we did, and they entered the season with about as many questions as the Hawkeyes.  They have done a better job of answering them so far.  The Michigan defense has played exceptionally well, having given up no more than 21 points in any game (to Notre Dame), and they lead the nation in rush defense, allowing only 32 yards a game. So it goes without saying that if the Hawks are going to have a shot they have to defeat the run defense and get Sims and Greene somewhere up over the 150 yard mark, total.  If the Hawks can run the ball it means the o-line is doing its job and protecting Tate, which will be key as the Wolverines are 8th at 3.5 sacks per game.  The stadium will be loud, of course, so besides scoring early the Hawks will need to sustain drives and convert third downs to keep the Hawk offense on the field and the fans in their seats and quiet.

The Iowa defense needs to tighten things up in a hurry. Having Paschal back will help a lot, but it will also be key if King can go (he is not listed on the 2 deep, but it’s a hamstring injury, so he is probably day to day).  The defensive line MUST get pressure on Michigan QB Henne; he is cruising along with 14 tds and only 4 interceptions through the first 7 games (Tate, 11 and 6).  It does appear that super receiver Manningham, who has 9 touchdowns in the first 6 games, will not play, but Michigan can still throw the ball to guys like Steve Breaston and some very capable tight ends.  Oh, and the run defense must be sharp. Wolverine RB Mike Hart is 7th in the country at 130 yards per game.  D-line, you were not up to your level of play last week, so you better find your game because we are going to need your best on Saturday.

This game has the potential to come down to special teams. You might remember those wacky punt formations that Michigan tried using against us a couple years ago. They don’t do that any more but we are going to have to win the punting game.  Kick coverage will again be a focal point and please, could we finally get a kick block of some kind this week?!  I guess we have been lucky the past few years with our great kicking game and almost automatic field goal kicking.  Schlicher must bounce back and make every attempt he gets this week.  We can not leave any points on the field on Saturday.

Turnovers killed us last week and it’s not a matter of winning the turnover battle this week.  We must, yes, but we simply cannot have any.  Nothing changes momentum or gets the crowd into the game quicker. Sims, hold on to the ball, receivers and tight ends, if Tate gets the ball to you, you have to catch it. As bad as we executed last week we have to be just that good this Saturday.  We saw that it was possible against Purdue. After an off week let’s hope it shows up again.

The Wolverines could only manage to beat Penn State by seven last weekend (in Happy Valley), a game in which they held the Lions to negative rushing yards.  I wonder if they were looking ahead to us coming to town.  And then there is the ‘Curse of 2’.  The past two weeks the team that has moved into the #2 spot in the AP Poll (Auburn, Florida) have fallen the very next Saturday.  Will Saturday make it three in a row?

It seems there is just some hang-up with the Buckeyes that we no longer have with the Wolverines. The Hawks are going to have to do pretty much all those things that were on the ‘keys to beating the Buckeyes’ list but I don’t think Michigan is quite as good as the Buckeyes.  Still, there will be no margin for error.  If we are going to pull the upset the Hawks of last Saturday must be ‘flushed’ from their memory.  Then maybe – just maybe – the Big House will be silent and depressed. Just as it was in 2002 (but don’t bet on a Hawkeye rout).

It will just be easier to give you the link to the 2-deep, but remember that it is posted on Monday and guys can get better or worse before Saturday:
*as of Wednesday afternoon, there are no starters who are outright ‘out’ this week.

Game time 3:35 so you can do your usual Friday night partying and still make it to the bar in time to make kickoff.  We are the only true Big Ten game at 3:30 so the bar should be ours once the early games clear out.  Be prepared for a full house, enjoy the rest of your week, and we will see you Saturday afternoon!

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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