October 28, 2006

TES - 2006 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 9

Iowa’s Record:  5-3, 2-3 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: Out
USA Today: Out
ESPN Power 16: Out
ESPNU Allstate: Out
BCS: Out

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 Loss 20-6
October 28th – Iowa v. Northern Illinois 12:03 PM, ESPNU
November 4th – Iowa v. Northwestern 12:10 PM, ESPN+
November 11th – Iowa v. Wisconsin (Senior Day) TBD
November 18th – Iowa @ Minnesota TBD

October 28th 2006: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Northern Illinois Huskies, 5-3, 3-2 MAC
Prior Games: 5, Iowa leads 5-0
Last Game: 1999, Iowa 24, NIU 0. Ferentz gets first win at Iowa.

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: Michigan
*so much for the ‘we don’t lose when we apartment-gate’ theory*

There are no moral victories in a 12 game football season, but one can find something positive in a game lost.  Namely, that the defense we have been waiting for finally awoke and gave Michigan far more than I am sure they expected for about 55 minutes.  They probably could have done even better if we had been able to sustain some more drives and keep them on the bench resting, but let’s face it, that was the top defense we will see all year.  We only gave the Wolverines 90 yards (net) rushing, just over 200 yards in the air, and Hart could only manage to gain 27 yards on the ground in the first half (he ended up at his average, but the sacks come out of rushing total). The defense kept the Hawks in it; all the way right up until the final score made it 20-6.  And that was without Iwebema, who did not make the trip, and Shada, who missed much of the game after injuring his ankle.  So all in all, a great effort on that side of the ball, and if they can keep it up over the next four weeks, the Hawks should have no problem finishing the season on a high note.
 Can’t really fault the offense for the effort or game plan (eh, I might have gone for it – 4th and inches - after that pick in Michigan’s territory instead of kicking the second field goal).  Michigan’s defense is just that good.  It will be interesting to see what happens when they line up against the Buckeyes.  Still, the Hawks did get chances to score touchdowns, but it was our inability to do so, while Michigan did, that lost the game.  We came nowhere near the 100+ yards of rushing that we needed to have, but at least Young came out and looked pretty good, and seems like he is at 100% for the stretch run.  Tate, on the other hand, needed surgery on his left thumb, after hurting it on that half sack/half tripped play.  I don’t think it really affected him the rest of the game (he’s throws right, after all), it was more the Michigan defensive line and some very questionable late hits that were not called that seemed to knock him off his game, just a little.  But he kept fighting right until the end, and after sitting out this week (well, he is out now…but don’t think he is not going to do his best to talk Kirk into letting him go if the thumb heals up quickly), he will be back to throw for about 425 yards against the Wildcats next week.

Special teams had their ups and downs.  Two for two on field goals, but that 65 yard kick return by Breaston set up a Michigan touchdown, which in the end proved to be a very critical play (especially as we had just scored and had momentum). Oh, how nice a blocked kick would have been.  Watch, we will get two this week in a game we win handily.

One last thing and we can put this game behind us.  There was that fumble by Hart that was not a fumble.  It was called a fumble by the officials on the field, Iowa recovers.  Meaning that for the play to be overturned in the review booth, there had to be clear and definite visual evidence that Hart was down before the ball came loose.  Well, I don’t know if the booth had more views of the play than we did, but in all the TV replays we saw, you could not see where the ball was when Hart went down (too many players around).  So they either had some other camera shots that we did not see, or they just plain blew it.  Plus, once they gave the ball to Michigan, they incorrectly spotted the ball one yard further than should have been (had Hart been down with the ball as they said he was), and that turned a 4th and 1 into a 1st down.  You will probably watch Iowa games for the next 5 years and not see Ferentz loose his cool like he did on that sequence. Oh yeah…this was the same crew that did the Michigan game in Kinnick in 2005.  If you are scoring at home, that now makes 5.  Five times this year Iowa has lost out on challenges where changes of possession were at stake.  I would be willing to bet that leads the country by a good three.

And so we move on, with still a lot to play for.  We have 3.5 home games left so there no more road issues to worry about.  We are not going to go down in Kinnick to anybody that is left on the schedule, and the final game of the year in Kinnick North will be in the toasty warm environs of our home away from home.  We might need a little help, but the prospects of another Outback bowl are well within reason.

This Week: Northern Illinois
Everything you need to know about NIU is this: their running back, Garrett Wolfe, is a Heisman Trophy darkhorse.  During their first 5 games of 2006, Wolfe rushed for, oh, just 1,181 yards.  That’s the most, ever, for Division 1.  Now, in their last two games (Western Michigan, and perhaps the worst college team in the country, Temple), Wolfe has only managed 70 yards, total. So without seeing either of those games you can probably guess that both schools just put nine men in the box and dared the Huskies to pass the ball to beat them.  It worked for Western Michigan but not Temple, but then again, that was their 20th straight loss (ouch).  He is small, quick, and very fast, but if you know he’s coming, well, if Temple can stop him, I just wonder what he can do in Kinnick.  The Huskies did pass for almost 400 yards last week so they are not just about handing the ball to Wolfe, but again, that was against the Temple d.  The Iowa defense will be looking to build on their last great showing, and with the uncertainty over who will be running the Iowa offense, the d will be wanting to dominate the game and leave no doubt in the Huskie minds that they are in over their heads this week.

The Iowa message boards are seriously smoking today over who should get the start if Tate is not able to go.  I am firmly in the Jake Christensen camp.  By all accounts, Manson is the very ideal of what a teammate should be, and he has handled his time at Iowa with complete class and no sign of discontent since he lost the QB job to Tate in the summer of 2004. But this is the very best possible game to give a young QB his first start.  It’s a home game.  It’s non conference.  It’s a MAC team.  The defense is rolling.  The running backs will be juiced to out-yard their counterpart.  It all points to handling the ball to Jake and seeing what the lefty can do.  The other young QBs are expected to give Christensen a good challenge next Spring and Summer but it’s his job to loose in 2007.  He needs the playing time now because the opener next year will NOT be in Kinnick (shock, I know).  We open the 2007 season playing these very same Huskies – in Soldier Field.  That’s right, home of the unbeaten Bears.  Sure, the place will be at least half full of Hawkeye fans, but nothing beats getting your first real action at home.  Ferentz will probably not announce the starter till as late as possible, but I am hoping the kid has a good week in practice and is ready to go. He is the future of Iowa football and to date he has thrown 3 passes (completed all of them, too!).  He needs playing time.  If he tanks, Manson can replace him.

It’s all set up for a four game run, a 9-3 season, and a chance for another 10 win campaign after the bowl game.  Hard to think in those terms after what we have gone through the past few weeks but it is right there for the taking.  The only possible threat remaining are the Badgers, but they have not beaten anybody good, yet, and they are not going to get us at home. Things could get very interesting the next few weeks as the Buckeye/Wolverine unbeaten showdown on November 18th seems all but certain.  If West Virginia and USC go down, it’s possible that the loser of the Michigan/Ohio State game (if it’s a close game) could stay at #2 in the BCS and play…the winner of Ohio State/Michigan in the national title game.  Crazy, I know, but it’s a definite possibility.  Of course, if that happens, it means the Rose Bowl picks up the 3rd place team and all the other bowl eligible Big Ten teams slide up one slot in the bowl hierarchy.  Florida again in early 2007?  Just win the next four, Hawks, and we shall see.

Back at noon this week and next so there will be no need to stand outside in the cold (unless you get there before 11:30).  Don’t think of this as an off week cause you will want to see if the Hawks can stop Wolfe, and if not, how many yards he can rack up.  Besides, it’s on ESPNU, and you probably don’t get that channel, anyway.  Have a great END! of your week and we will see you at the bar!

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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