September 29, 2007

TES - 2007 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 5

Iowa’s Record: 2-2, 0-1 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
USA Today: 3 votes!
ESPN Power 16:
ESPNU Allstate:

2007 Iowa Football Schedule
September 1st Iowa @ Northern Illinois WIN 16-3
September 8th Iowa v. Syracuse WIN 35-0
September 15th Iowa @ Iowa State Loss 15-13
September 22nd Iowa @ Wisconsin Loss 17-13
September 29th Iowa v. Indiana (Homecoming) 12:05 PM, BTN
October 6th Iowa @ Penn State 3:35 PM, ABC or ESPN2
October 14th Iowa v. Illinois TBD
October 20th Iowa @ Purdue TBD
October 27th Iowa v. Michigan State (Family Weekend) TBD
November 3rd Iowa @ Northwestern TBD
November 10th Iowa v. Minnesota TBD

November 17th Iowa v. Western Michigan TBD

September 29th 2007: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Indiana Hoosiers 3-1, 0-1 Big Ten
Prior Games: 68, Iowa Leads 38-26-4
Last Game: 2006 – Indiana 31, Iowa 28

Current Turnover Margin: +5

Depth Chart for this week:

Use above in conjunction with –

Iowa City PD Arrest Blotter:

Game Watch: ‘The Best Game Watch Outside Of Kinnick.’
BLONDIES SPORTS 212 West 79th, (Broadway/Amsterdam).

1 train to 79th street, then 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.  Call the bar at 212 362-4360 to reserve table space. We will not always have Hawkeye audio on the restaurant side, however.

Last Week: Wisconsin
All right my friends. As tough a loss as that was, at least we saw things to make us think better days are ahead for Iowa football. Yeah, we love shoot outs, but for us old timers it was nice to see a good old fashioned, war of attrition, Big Ten football game.

And what a battle it was.  30 first downs, with 18 punts.  10 of those punts were ours, and in a sign that maybe the punt team is channeling last year’s, the Badgers could only manage -2 yards returning one of them.  An up and down day for the special teams as a unit – DJK nearly returned (just one man he could not beat) the kickoff after Wisconsin took the 14-10 lead, Murray hitting two pressure packed field goals in his first college start, but again, another blocked field goal that played a major part in the outcome.  As things are not going as we would like on the offensive side of the ball we have to have zero gaffs in the special teams.  Or more precisely – they need to kick in some points.  And I don’t mean field goals.
Of course we cannot heave enough credit onto the Hawkeye defense.  Rose up and stuffed P.J. Hill for 3 quarters, swiped two turnovers (what a great all around game by A.J. Edds – just a sophomore, his upside seems huge), and once again, giving the Hawks the chance to win the game. But like the special teams, the offense could use some scoring help from the d – too bad that first Badger fumble was not scooped up by a defensive back who could have taken it to the house. In the decisive 4th quarter the d-line most noticeably ran out of gas.  I know we are thin on experience here, but Norm has got to get more of the young guys in there to spell the starters.  I think we can now expect the front 7 to give us stellar efforts like that the rest of the season (the ABC crew mentioned more than once we had perhaps the top front 7 in the Big Ten), so it will be crucial to give them snaps off so that effort can be there for 60 minutes.  If those guys can produce efforts like they did Saturday, the Hawks will have a chance to win every game that is left.

The news is a: not good, and b: good for the long run, when it comes to the offense.  I just got a text from Rivals (at the Ferentz press conference) saying Brodell is out for the season with a hamstring tear (it looked like that when it happened) and Moeaki is out for a ‘few’ weeks with a dislocated elbow, and a busted bone in his wrist, from the same play. Wideout Stross returns this week so it won’t be all freshmen on the wings as Jake drops back to pass. Then again, on some plays, it will be.  That’s the good news – things will be rough for a while, but with all these kids getting intense Big Ten playing time this year, the future is bright at this position, if a bit scary right now.

Still, the offense did have some moments.  The 63 yard, 33 second touchdown drive to regain the lead with 4 seconds left in the first half.  The highlight reel touchdown catch by DJK.  In the second half, the Hawks figured out that running to set up the pass was not working so much, and showed the rarely seen (by Iowa) spread offense (4 receivers) for long stretches.  Mixed results with the spread, I am sure they are working on it this week. There were plays out there the offense could have made, and needed to.  After we recovered the kick return fumble (on the 24) to open the 2nd half the Hawks would have been in command of the game if they could have stuffed the ball into the end zone.  As it was, that was the blocked field goal possession. Later in the 3rd the Hawks escaped from their own 1 yard line and got all the way to the Badger 43 – when a false start turned a 3rd and 3 to a 3rd and 8, and Jake was sacked and we had to punt.  A score there, after a 90 something yard drive would have done much for Iowa momentum heading into the 4th quarter.  And of course, on the final drive, there were those two long passes that were just out of reach of the receivers.  In both cases they seemed to slip or have trouble getting off the line smoothly and that played a part.  But that’s all part of growing up, and those plays will be made in games to come.

Yes, we finally gave up not one but two touchdowns, but that is still the best number in the country for a defense.  The first one, on the Hill fumble into the end zone;  I’ve seen the replay over and over since then.  Our best shot to get that ball was right at the beginning, as (I think it was Humpal) had that swipe at it as he fell away from the ball.  We never had possession in the initial scrum, as far as any camera angle was concerned.  Yet after that 10 minute delay and punch to the gut the Hawks came back with the 33 second touchdown drive.  No hanging their heads at the touchdown streak ending.  Time to start a new one!

This Week: Indiana
And now, a brief review, of what was to go wrong in the back half of 2006.

Hawks lead the Hoosiers 21-7 in Bloomington, on the way to a 6-1 record, another double digit win season, and January bowl game.

Then – the Hawks just fall apart.  Nothing that Indiana really did, it was our own execution.  Literally – not a ‘lack of.’

Two Indiana red zone turnovers.  Two missed field goals.  Multiple penalties on successful 3rd down stops, including late hits out of bounds, and roughing the kicker.

Hoosiers now lead 31-28 but the Hawks move right down the field, on the way to the winning td, or at least, tying field goal.  Tate slightly overthrows a pass to Brodell at the Indiana 15 and Andy gets a finger on it, and that’s all.  Behind him the Hoosier defensive back makes a sensational one handed grab of the tipped ball and the game is over.

Hawks never recover, and worse, seem almost to phone it in until they awaken at the Alamo Bowl.

So now the Hoosiers come to Iowa City on Homecoming weekend, and where it was a major shock they knocked off the Hawks last year, it would not be such a stretch if it happens this time.  The Hoosiers have the best wideout in the Big Ten in 6 foot 7 James Hardy.  He simply has eaten the Hawks alive the last two years, racking up over 300 yards and 4 tds in the two games.  Getting the ball to him is dual threat QB Kellen Lewis, who has already been the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week when he ran for 199 yards and two tds, and tossed 3 more, in their win over Akron.  Obviously it’s going to take the best game the corners have had to date, and we will have to usually double Hardy with a safety as well.

The defensive line will need to contain Lewis in the pocket and if he tries to flee somebody needs to pound him into the dirt and make him think twice about running again. Better yet, the Hawks need to just keep the Hoosier offense off the field.  The Illini rushed for 288 yards against them last week, knocking off Indiana 27-14, in a game that Illinois QB Juice Williams did not even hit the century mark in passing.  There has been no evidence in the past three weeks that Iowa can do that on the ground, but maybe this week things will click again.  Be it running or short passes out of the spread formation, the Hawks will need to control the clock – and hang onto the ball.

Which we have done well, not turning the ball over in two straight games.  The Hoosiers are also +5 on the turnover margin, and that was with 4 turnovers in the loss to Illinois.  The Illini also blocked a Hoosier punt – and the Hawks are way overdue for one of those.

The Iowa offense just needs to keep plugging away.  If Indiana sells out to stop the run, the young receivers will simply have to be ready to make the catches and make the Hoosiers pay for the single coverage on the outside.  There were signs that the passing game was starting to come around in the 2nd half at Wisconsin.  As you will always get with new players, every play is one snap closer to that raw skill morphing into experience.

* As you learned from Matt’s Wednesday morning email, there will be a drawing of cool Hawkeye gear during halftime this week!  We will be selling the tickets during the first half so make sure you have enough cash on hand for the number of tickets you want (hint: best value, 20 bucks, 15 tickets!).

Reminder for those of you in NYC – Blondies does not open until 11:30, and they will not be letting anyone in prior to that.  As this is a noon game the bar will be ours, so don’t worry bout getting in if you show up close to kickoff!

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 past dramatic games.
  3. A bar decked out in Hawkeye banners, flags, signs, etc.  Like the Sports Column…minus the attitude. New NYC Hawk banners for 2007!
  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 – again in 2007. Our own personal bartender.  
  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. It’s economical – the more fun you have at the bar, the less you can have on Saturday night.  Thus you save money on Saturday nights.



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