October 13, 2007

TES - 2007 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 7

Iowa’s Record:  2-4, 0-3 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 12:05 PM, ESPN2
October 20th Iowa @ Purdue 12:05 PM, ESPN or ESPN2
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 13th 2007: Iowa Hawkeyes v. #18/#19 Illinois Fighting Illini 5-1, 3-0 Big Ten
Prior Games: 67, Illinois leads 37-28-2
Last Game: 2006, Iowa 27, Illinois 7

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: Penn State
All right, I guess the Hawks have now hit rock bottom, and there are two choices.  Dwell there for a while and become the team everyone in the Big Ten can’t wait to play, or figure out some way to move the football and start climbing back up that ladder.

It turns out the vision we had of offensive line greatness after games 1 and 2 was simply overstated.  It has not helped that we have not been able to really get the 5 guys on the field who were supposed to start the season (Richardson still can’t get passed his bad knee), and in fact the Hawks had to shift guys around at the last minute Saturday.  Our 48 total yards rushing is testament to that.
On the flip side the Lions racked up 256 rushing yards, but again, it’s hard to fault the defense when they must be on the field for 36 and a half minutes.  That was because the Hawks could manage just two first downs through the first 3 quarters of the game. I am having a very hard time remembering a football game at any level that equals that.  The defense really did a good job right up til the end of the second quarter, and part of their problem (besides being on the field in that heat, which was unbearable just to sit there and watch) was not just the lack of execution by the offense, but the play calling itself.

To wit: after the Hawks fell down 10-0 with 57 seconds left in the 1st half, does Ken instruct the offense to come out shooting?  Try to move down field to get into field goal range, at worst, and a td, at best?  Remember our final second touchdowns in multiple games already this season?  I guess not.   Young run, 4 yards. Young run, no yards.  Penn State time out, Young run 5 yards, Iowa punt.  Penn State goes from their 20 to Iowa’s 36 in 3 plays and viola, 53 yard field goal, and now the Hawks must score two touchdowns to win and not just one.  That was just one series, but the Iowa offensive play calling has got to change if teams are (as they should) selling out on the run.

Once the Hawks got on the board in the 4th they had the ball two more times with time to get down field to get within 6 points.  On both drives, false starts killed them.  Granted with that many people yelling at you it is hard to hear, but the Hawks knew what they were getting into, and should have been prepared to use the silent snap count effectively. 

There were a couple of bright spots.  Donahue averaged almost 46 yards on his 11 punts (perhaps now the highly recruited punter is ready) and once again the Hawks did not turn the ball over.  Our plus 8 turnover margin is #1 in the conference and 9th in the nation.  Most football fans around the country must think that stat is a mistake, as it’s pretty hard to lose four games in a row when getting that many turnovers.  Yet we have done it.  But it does bode well for the future that these kids value hanging onto the ball.

This Week: Illinois
I sure hate to think, let alone type (pain shooting through body), that the Hawks could be in trouble with Illinois coming to town.  They are off to a 5-1 start, having knocked off rated (then) Penn State two weeks ago, and #5 Wisconsin this past weekend (in C-U).  The Illini rankings above represent their first appearance in any poll (besides the ESPN Bottom 10) since the 2001 season.  Illinois football.  Ranked.  My Mac just gave me the BSOD.  

Illini QB ‘Juice’ Williams returns and he might be the most dangerous dual threat QB the Hawks face this year.  He ran for 92 yards in the win over the Badgers and was a respectable 12-19 from the air for 120.  He is probably most lethal when he is on foot so the Hawks will need to make sure they do not lose containment at the line, and force him to throw the ball, where are odds of shutting him down will increase.  The hybrid option/stretch offense the Illini run also sports running back Mendenhall who has rushed for just short of 775 yards, on pace for a 1500 yard season.  He is also a dump off threat, catching 18 balls so far.  This adds up to a rushing average of 261 yards per game, 5th best in the nation.  I don’t have to tell you the Hawkeye defense needs to shut that down so they can get off the field and save their energy for chasing down the quarterback.

Another week, another 6 days of practice and game prep, another prayer that the spark the Iowa offense finally showed in the final quarter at Penn State can be parlayed into early and often ball movement Saturday.  I kind of get the feeling the Hawks just need one play – be it a long run, or a long pass, or a pick six, blocked punt, whatever, that will spark the whole team and we will finally see the result we are looking for.  I’m not sure if it will happen this week but good God I can’t stand the thought of losing to Illinois in anything, especially football.  Coming home to Kinnick and the mascot-less Illini coming to town should have the Hawks ready to go with the opening kick.  Despite the losing streak, the mood of the team seems all right (if you believe the coach).  And has been the case every week, the young Hawks now have 60 more minutes of game experience and one of these Saturdays that will turn into touchdowns.  Multiple touchdowns.

Klink and Moylan may play, but don’t bet on it.  Late word now that Dace is having surgery on his knee so he is done for the season, and Ferentz says he will get the extra year on the medical redshirt if he wants it.  Moeaki might make it back for Michigan State.  So far this season the Hawks have played more true freshmen than any year of the Ferentz regime and there are still more who could get field time in the games ahead.  So while 2007 will probably bring an end to our Florida/Texas bowl streak, they will be within reach again soon.

Back at noon this week, next week, and based on our record (and who we play), most likely every week from here on out.  I would guess the Illini bandwagon is probably pretty full these days and while Blondies is not their NYC home, you can bet on a least some of them being there Saturday.  So be ready to yell and sing with all you got and with a little luck and a lot more execution, the Beer Song could at last make an appearance!

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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