October 27, 2007

TES - 2007 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 9

Iowa’s Record:  3-5, 1-4 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
USA Today:
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 Loss 38-20
October 6th Iowa @ Penn State Loss 27-7
October 13th Iowa v. Illinois WIN 10-6
October 20th Iowa @ Purdue Loss 31-6
October 27th Iowa v. Michigan State (Family Weekend) 12:05 PM, ESPN2
November 3rd Iowa @ Northwestern 12:05 PM Channel TBD
November 10th Iowa v. Minnesota TBD
November 17th Iowa v. Western Michigan TBD

October 27th 2007: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Michigan State Spartans 5-3, 1-3 Big Ten
Prior Games: 38, Iowa leads 19-17-2
Last Game: 2004, Iowa 38, Michigan State 16

Current Turnover Margin: +8

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: Purdue
It appears that indeed, it is a rebuilding season, and that’s too bad, as it sure would be nice to have a fluid offense to pair with our seasoned defense.  Once again, this loss was not the fault of the guys on that side of the line, but they did not have their best day either.

The stats are scary so I’ll be brief.  3-16 third down conversions.  18%.  Abysmal.  Jake 17-40, 177 yards.  Early on the receivers were giving him no help, dropping passes left and right.  It must have rattled him because for the rest of the game he was short, long, high and low way too often.  Guess when guys can’t hold onto passes that hit them in the hands a QB tends to ‘aim’ the ball as opposed to ‘throwing’ it and that’s what you get.  To make things worse Ferentz could not exactly bench anybody for dropping passes – due to late in the week injuries the Hawks only had 3 true wide receivers make the trip.  Young averaged a very good 6 yards plus on his 7 carriers but only played in bout half the game after he banged his knee up.  With him out the Hawks could only tack 77 rushing yards onto the passing total.  Given the ball inside the 50 four different times by the defense, the offense could only muster 6 points.
The defense did all they could to keep the Hawks in the game, but too many easy, long,  3rd down conversions, and dumb penalties (4 of them gave the Boilermakers a first down) all added up to 35:04 of ball possession for Purdue, and that number would kill about any defense in the 2nd half.  We were one play away from tying up the game after we closed to 14-6 at the 8:19 point of the 3rd, but on the next drive Purdue drove 80 yards, the dagger coming on a 3rd and 12 on our 33, a 33 yard td pass to Bryant, who ate us up. Nine catches for 167 and 2 tds on the day. 

DJK took the next kickoff back 50 yards to the Purdue 36, but after yet another 3 and out, Purdue again drove the field and that was it.  Iowa made a nice effort to get all the way down the field early in the 4th, but Jake was picked inside the 10, and the Hawks never again threatened.

Ferentz gets a bit testy when the media calls out players (as I am unpaid, and not media, I can say what I want…ha!) but the time comes from time to time that the coaches need to be put on the hot seat.  Every week now there is a lot more ‘gee, wish we had a new offensive coordinator’ talk floating around the bar, and the way the 1st half ended Saturday it got a lot louder.  First, with about a buck twenty left, the Hawks faced a 4th and 8 from the Purdue 38.  The offense is struggling, needs a spark, and a big play here could provide it.  Even a first down could.  We punt.

Hawks force the Boilermakers into a 3 and out, their punter shanks it and we now have the ball at their 41 with 48 seconds left, trailing 14-3.  Four-yard pass, timeout.  2nd down, incomplete pass, 3rd down, 5-yard sack.  It’s 4th and 11 at the Purdue 42 in the waning seconds.  Due the Hawks try the deep pass and hope for a great play or defensive penalty?  Nope.  Another punt.  This time executed brilliantly by Donahue and downed at the 1-yard line.  The half ends.

So the Hawks were not able to build on the ball moving success found against the Illini, but they did not forget how to do it, they just could not execute.  Such is the way with a young offense and while that game sure sucked to watch, there is hope that in the games ahead they will be able to make those critical passes, catches, and runs to hold onto the ball and generate scoring (not field goals) chances.  There are four games left, 3 of them at Kinnick, and the Big Ten games are all against the teams in the bottom of the heap with us, so the season is not lost yet.

This Week: Michigan State
Saturday marks game number 1,100 for the Hawkeyes.  My how time flies as I recall game 1000 several years ago (and I have the t-shirt, somewhere).  It’s Family Weekend in Iowa City so the festivities will be on and the tailgating will start early for our first showdown with the Spartans since 2004. 

2007 marks year one of the Mark Dantonio era at Michigan State.  Mixed results so far, with a 5-3 record but only 1-3 in the Big Ten.  The Spartans opened the year with four wins, including a victory over Pitt and thankfully Notre Dame.  Then a close 37-34 loss to the Badgers followed a week later by a 48-41 loss to the Wildcats.  Two weeks back they thumped Indiana 52-27, then this past Saturday spotted the Buckeyes a 24-0 lead and made things interesting when they took two Ohio State turnovers back for tds, on successive drives, in the 3rd quarter.  Spartans finally falling, 24-17.

Those points add up to an average of 34+ per game, and clearly we are not, at least based on what we have seen lately, going to win this game in a shootout.  The QB stats are pretty close between Jake and junior Brian Hoyer (who we have not seen, with our two year Michigan State layoff), but the Spartans have the clear advantage in the running game.  Their two top backs have gained 1489 yards so far compared to a Young and Sims total of 911.  That’s a battle we are going to have to win, period.  Strong running game opens up safe efficient passes which leads to 3rd down conversions which lead to long drives and points.  Iwebema was knocked out of the Purdue game but he is back on the two deep so let’s hope the line can stay healthy and rested enough to stuff the running game, and we are going to have to get a much better game out of the defensive backs than we got last week. 

The Hawkeye offensive line must contain Spartan defensive end (and the way he is playing, he could be from Sparta) Jonal Saint-Dic.  He already has the Big Ten record with eight forced fumbles and he also has nine sacks, 5th best in the nation.  Moeaki was dressed last week but did not play, and it would help if he can go this week, but Ferentz says 50/50 at best.  Myers must step up to the plate – if he can get open over the middle at the snap it will mean Jake can make the quick 3 step drop and be rid of the ball before JSD can hunt him down.  The Hawks should try slants, screens, and quick hitters to Young out of the backfield to slow down that pass rush. Stross (maybe) and Sandeman (likely) returning would help with those pass patterns.  We are going to have to be able to run the ball, obviously, both to keep possession for ourselves, and wear out and slow down the fast Spartan defense.  It’s also time we saw Young or Sims break off a long run for a touchdown. 

The Hawks put everything together (except multiple touchdowns) in the home win over Illinois – holding their 30 point average to just 6.  Iowa will have to do something like that on Saturday.  I have this wild fantasy that the offense could score – oh, 24 points if all goes well.  Ball control and a ball-hawking defense could make that enough.

I’m sorry if you did not get last week’s notes (my own notes go to 3 different emails of my own and I didn’t get any of them), as there were some TWC related web issues going on at my pad that night. 

In other news – after the game Saturday, folks will head over to Carver Hawkeye to witness the Black and Gold Blowout, the first public appearance of Coach Lickliter and his 2007-08 basketball team.  The early word from practice is that the new staff is drilling defensive and ball movement fundamentals into the players and they have a much more ‘teaching’ type environment than we had with the last coach.  Perusing the boards at Rivals it seems that most people are not caring so much about the number of wins this year.  They are going to enjoy watching Iowa Basketball again and any shockers the Hawkeyes can pull off this season will just be a bonus.  I concur. 

As you know, the New York Spartans also call Blondies home, so the bar will be good and rowdy this weekend.  Nothing out of control, as their peeps are good sports like we are.  We might also be joined by one of the leaders of the UIAA back in Iowa City, so be sure to be all decked out in the colors and have your Fight  (and later Beer) song voices ready to go at the 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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