October 6, 2007

TES - 2007 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 6

Iowa’s Record:  2-3, 0-2 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 3:35 PM ABC (Big Ten markets), ESPN2 everywhere else.
October 14th Iowa v. Illinois 12:05 PM, ESPN2
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

October 6th 2007: Iowa Hawkeyes @ Penn State Nittany Lions 3-2, 0-2 Big Ten
Prior Games: 19, Penn State leads 10-9
Last Game: 2004 – Iowa 6, Penn State 4

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: Indiana
So – some of you peeps at the bar challenged me to find something positive to write about this game.  And so I present – through two Big Ten games the Hawks have not allowed a single punt return yard.  HA! You all owe me a drink.

Alas, that was pretty much it.  Especially concerning the ‘special’ teams, who not only did not kick in some points as I had wanted, but in fact gave 7 of them back (negative points?) with the two missed field goals (one by each kicker) and the botched extra point (by Signor).  A lost fumble on a punt return, too.  Certainly did not make things any easier for the offense or defense, which had problems of their own to overcome.
 Let’s start with the O-line/Jake giving up 9 sacks.  Often after a 1st down that gained 6, 7, 8 yards, thus putting us back at 3rd and longs that we failed to convert: 27% for the game.  Yes, a few of those sacks were the fault of the QB not getting rid of the ball sooner.  Part of that problem is when your young receivers are not running the right routes or seeing the defense line up blitz packages (needing to break off the routes so the QB can dump it off right away).  And it was very obvious that Christensen is missing his new security blanket, Moeaki.  Some of those plays that resulted in sacks could probably have been 10-15 yard completions to him, had he been there in between the hash marks.  The Hawks made things interesting with the last second touchdown to end the half, but that was just dumb luck – the Hoosier secondary should have just knocked the ball down, as you hear time and time again, in that situation. 

Yet the Hawks gained a very respectable 428 yards total and held the ball for just short of 33 minutes.  Normally that would not lead you to think you could loose a game by 18 points.  If the defense could have given us the effort they gave us the week before, the game would have been much closer.

In fairness, Klink and Moylan were both out, and that was a bad combination.  With Moylan out Shada moved back to safety and Fletcher took over his corner spot.  Bad idea.  Fletcher got torched on more than a few passes, and there were times that Shada seemed out of position – obviously, he is not a safety.  To compound that, after Godfrey picked off that Hoosier pass in the end zone and took it out to the 30, a block in the back by Shada moved the ball back to the Iowa 2.  After the Hawks were forced to punt out of the end zone, the Hoosiers had the short field, and that resulted in the first 39 yard td pass to Hardy.  The 3rd touchdown, the 70 yard fumble return by Lewis, well, that was just a freak play and those are going to happen from time to time.  If we were as good as we wanted to be we would overcome those, but right now, we’re not.

Then after the Hawks made it 21-14 (oops, 13) in the 3rd quarter, the defense needed to make a stop on the next drive.  They did not.  Indiana got down to the Iowa 27 and faced a 4th and 5.  After a time out, Lewis had too much time and found a receiver for a first down at the Hawkeye 3.  Then a holding call (defense) made it first and goal at the 1, and one play later it was 28-13, and the Hawks were done.

Should you be scoring at home (don’t, it’s depressing), the Hawks have now lost 7 straight Big Ten games.  You have to go back to the first year of the Ferentz era (1999) to find a slide like that, when we were 0-8 in the conference, part of a 14 game slide between the year before and after.  So if we lose Saturday, that’s a Big Ten season down the drain.  However, our salvation could be at hand.  We return to Happy Valley, where things began to turn around for the Hawks in 2000.  In the last two weeks the Nittany Lions have looked much like the Lions of our five game winning streak (including four straight in Happy Valley).  I refuse to acknowledge anything they did the last two seasons because they did not have to play us, so let’s hope that indeed, they will be ready to self destruct when the Hawks roll into town, as they have done so williningly before.

This Week: Penn State
Now taking you back to the fall of 2000.  After winning just 1 game in 1999, the Hawks entered the new season with the real prospect of not getting any wins at all.  We would end up having the 9th toughest strength of schedule, in the country.  Fortunately, the Hawks knocked off Michigan State in Kinnick (win #1), and then a couple weeks later went into Penn State, where the Lions were already beginning to slide into the abyss. Still, not a game the Hawks had any shot at winning. It was a good defensive battle that found the teams heading into the second overtime tied at 23. The Hawks got the ball first and could just manage a field goal.  Needing that to tie and a td to win, the Lions instead tossed the ball to the Hawks, who caught it, and Iowa had their first Big Ten road win for Ferentz.  A week later they knocked off Northwestern, and then tragically lost the Gopher game in the waning seconds – just falling short of a 4-4 Big Ten record, a year after 0-8.  Still, the 3-5 was progress.  In 2001 the Haws would win 7 games, then in the next three seasons after that, 31.  Of those 38 wins, 4 came at the expense of those Lions.  The Hawkeye turn around began that Saturday in Happy Valley, so maybe history can repeat itself this one.

We would like to forget about the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and in each, we did not play Penn State.  A correlation?

Our last trip there was the classic, 6-4, ‘we will give you a free safety cause we bet you can’t drive 40 yards to kick the game winning field goal’ game.  It was the nicest road game I have ever been to.  The Nittany Lion fans lost their voices yelling and screaming profanities at the Penn State offense, so they had nothing left to hurl insults at us.  This year’s Penn State offense is probably not that bad – but in the last couple weeks they have been sort of looking like they are trying to get there. 

The Lions opened the season with wins over cupcakes Florida International, Notre Dame, and eternal ESPN Bottom 10 placer Buffalo.  Then they opened the Big Ten season at Michigan and fell 14-9.  Not a bad loss, and not really the fault of the Penn State defense, obviously.  This past Saturday they traveled to Illinois and gave away the game to the Fighting Illini, 27-20.  Literally, as Lion QB Anthony Morelli tossed 3 interceptions inside the Illinois 30 yard line.  3 field goals wiped out in a game they lost by 7 points.  They also tossed a lost fumble in there (in Illinois territory) and allowed the Illini to score a td on a 90 yard kickoff return.  This marked the first Illinois win over a ranked team since the 2001 season.  Formerly ranked team, I mean, as the Lions dropped out after falling to 0-2 in the Big Ten.

As is usually the case, the Lions sport a very good linebacking corps, one of them, Lee, racked up a very impressive 17 tackles against the Illini.  We can probably count on Morelli to help us out some but our offense is going to have to execute much better if we are going to put up the kind of points we need to shut up a crowd of 108,000.  So that means, again, establishing the run (a little better last week, as Young almost hit 100 yards), the offensive line must protect better, and Jake must be smarter with the ball.  In total defense, the Lions are rated #7 in the country (#5 in sacks) with the Hawks checking in at #9.  So this has the potential to be another hard fought, low scoring, punt happy game, and Iowa will have to force turnovers and not have the special teams make mistakes that cost us points or field position. 

It’s looking as if Klink and Moylan are going to be out again this week.  If Morelli has time that is kind of frightening, but Mitch King is really starting to emerge as a backfield threat, so let’s hope he, Iwebema, Kroul, and Mattison can disrupt the Lion offense enough to force Morelli into those bad, momentum-killing decisions.  On the offense side of the ball, the young receivers and QB have had another week of practice, and another week of hearing that they need to step up.  They can count on Penn State to stack the line to try and stop the running game, so again, we’ll have to pass the ball to open up our full offense. 

There will be a bit more space at the bar this weekend for those of you who are not making the trip.  Note, the Iowa cd should still be in the cd player there, so have Patty or James fire up the Fight Song when the Hawks score, and (let’s all pray here) Beer Song after the game is over!

We are back at noon next week so we’ll see you all at the bar bright and early on the 13th.  Have a great weekend and start to next week all, and hopefully we will be able to kick that Saturday off with a toast to the end of our losing streak!

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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