November 3, 2007

TES - 2007 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 10

Iowa’s Record:  4-5, 2-4 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 WIN 34-27 2OT
November 3rd Iowa @ Northwestern 12:05 PM, ESPN2
November 10th Iowa v. Minnesota 12:05 PM, Big Ten
November 17th Iowa v. Western Michigan TBD

November 3rd, 2007: Iowa Hawkeyes @ Northwestern Wildcats 5-4, 2-3 Big Ten
Prior Games: 68, Iowa leads 45-20-3
Last Game: 2006, Iowa 7, Northwestern 21

Current Turnover Margin: +9

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: Michigan State
All season, we have watched and waited, begged and pleaded, for someone on the offense to make a play that would spark the team and pop the cork that has been keeping our offense bottled up all year.

It took 30 dismal minutes but at halftime, a senior rose up in the locker room and told the team that the Hawks would run the ball and that would get them back into the game.
 And so tailback Albert Young took the offense upon his shoulders and through sheer force of will, cut his way through the Spartan defense for 34 carries and 179 yards, two touchdowns, and his runs to the one yard line set up the game winner in double overtime.

Even a pissed off senior can’t do that all on his own, so we must give credit to the offensive line for waking up and finding those lanes and sealing off the edges to allow Young to rack up yard after 2nd half yard. 

All this was accomplished thusly:  ‘Michigan State, we are going to line up and ram the ball down your throat, man up and try to stop us.’  As there was no pretense of an Iowa passing game to make the Spartans worry about nickel or dime formations.  I am quite certain should you just out of school Hawkeyes live to be 100; you will never see the Hawks win another game in which our starting QB completes just 5 passes.  For 53 yards.  Check that.  3 passes.  The other two came in the 1st overtime, the second one the 23 yard pass to Chaney Jr. that tied the score at 27.  That was his first Hawkeye touchdown, and Juvon Pugh would get his first just moments later, after Young took us to the goal and ran out of gas (and banged up his arm a bit, but he is ok for Saturday).

What a difference some ball movement can make for the Hawkeye defense.  In the 1st half, as the Hawk offense kicked in 3 and outs left and right, the defense was not able to force the Spartans into one of them.  Note, the Hawks had (-1) yard of offense in the 1st quarter.  As the offense began to click in the 2nd half, and the defense began to rest, things changed.  Five 3 and outs for the Spartans and they were shut out entirely until the final second of the game.

Even now, looking at the stats, it’s nearly impossible to believe we won this game.  The Spartans held the ball for 36:26.  Racked up 468 yards to 283 for us.  8-21 3rd down conversions – another anemic 2-13 by the Hawks. 

But, like the Hawkeye teams of a few years ago, the special teams played a large part in the outcome.  Murray with 43 and 47 yard field goals, the Hawks won the punt battle handily – getting possessions inside the 50 with good returns (and bad Spartan punts), Donahue looking all game like the punter we recruited.  His 82 yard punt fell one yard short of the Iowa record, kicked in 1962.  But for the day an exceptional 51.6 yard average, and he is your Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.

So that was probably about the most unusual game we are going to see for who knows how long.  But it counts as a win and we now sit needing two more to get to 6 and be eligible for a bowl game.  It might be Motor City but the way things have looked lately that is better than nothing! Rivals guesses we will be in Champs Sports against the Hokies.  Have to win some more games, of course.

Of the three games left two are back in Kinnick and are most definitely winnable.  But the Hawks are not looking ahead to the Gopher game, as they have some serious payback they need to hand out this Saturday.  There are a lot of tickets available for this one so if you are in Chicago or can get there, fill up that stadium and make this game feel like a neutral site.

This Week: Northwestern
The Hawks have dropped two straight to the Wildcats and both of them were ugly. Last year two of our turnovers turned into tds as we lost by 14.  But we basically stunk the entire game.  The year before that (The Infamous ‘Don’t Play The Beer Song Yet, Matt’ game) the Hawks gave up two touchdowns in the final two minutes to lose by 1.  As the Hawks have been in the habit lately of blowing winning streaks it’s time for them to blow one up themselves.

Another week, another pass happy, spread, high scoring offense greets the Hawkeyes.  Mixed results against those so far.  Well, the Wildcats have scored a lot of points in some games and in others, not so much.  They started with wins over Northeastern and Nevada but in week 3 had the distinction of losing to Duke – in football.  One of the single worst teams in Division 1; that remains Duke’s only win.  Then back to back clobberings by the Buckeyes and Wolverines before back to back overtime wins against the Spartans and Gophers.  The second when Minnesota went for two in the 2nd overtime (and did not need to) and failed.  Two weeks back they knocked off Eastern Michigan and then gave up 21 4th quarter points to Purdue last Saturday to lose by 18.  So they sit at 5-4, needing one win to be bowl eligible, but really needing at least two, as they don’t travel well so no bowl is going to pick them over another team with the same record.  Not to mention they can’t even sell out their home stadium against a border state rival with their post season on the line.

As well as the Hawks have taken care of the ball this year (on pace to set the Iowa all time record for fewest turnovers) the Wildcats have not, ranking 10th in the Big Ten at -6.  That bodes well for the Hawks if both sides of the ball can work together as they did in half two last week.  A rested and ready defense, and one that should have Iwebema back, should be able to create chances for the offense.  They will need the offense to give them rest as the pass happy Wildcats average just over 310 passing yards a game, 9th best in the country.  They like to run screens too, so the d is going to running all over the place.  Their QB Bacher has a 129.7 rating, but just four more tds (15) than picks (11).  Good for stretches but prone to mistakes.  So if the Hawks can eliminate the running game and force the Wildcats to always throw the d-line will be able to tee off and hopefully disrupt things enough to force those Northwestern mistakes.  The line must get consistent pressure this week – and multiple sacks.

Young had his best rushing day at Northwestern in 2005, racking up 205 yards on 38 carries.  After his last game he must be pumped up to know that he seems finally back from the injuries of last year and ready for another standout performance Saturday.  If the Hawks can establish the run early it will make things easier for Jake, but know that he can’t possibly have a worse game so there is only upside.  If the progress we saw on the O-line last week can carry over both Jake and Albert will have the time and space they need to be effective, and each successful drive will have the entire team liking our chances.  And if we can get another effort like that out of our special teams it will make things just that much easier.  I sort of got the long run (for a td) that I wanted, last week, now I want a blocked punt.  We seemed pretty close to one Saturday so this could finally be the game. 

Shada is out (breaking your heart, I know) so Fletcher and Bernstine will man the corner on that side. I’ve a hunch one of those two will get a pick.  At this moment it looks like the rest of the guys who should be starting (that is, not hurt, or other) are good to go.  Klink has a busted hand but is expected to be in uniform (with a game ready cast) and good luck keeping him off the field.  Also, Sims was dinged up last week (foot sprain), that’s why we kept running Young without spelling him, but Damian looks like he will be back so we’ll have the one two punch in place Saturday. 

Alas, the ICPD Arrest Blotter must stay up again this week as now Douglas has been picked up for swiping three DVDs from Wal-Mart.  I was willing to cut him a bit of slack on the credit card thing, at least until the trial.  No longer.  Ferentz must boot him now. 

I need not remind you that the Wildcats inhabit the corner window of our bar.  And they will probably be extra feisty come Saturday.  I need all of you to show up so that we can pack the bar and force them into that corner, where, if there are enough of us, they can’t leave!  And they will be forced to sit there and hear us belt out the Beer Song.  So yup, I’m calling out you lazy peeps who should be there (and you know who you are) week after week but have been missing of late! 

We’ll soon learn if the 2nd half against the Spartans was an aberration or the sign of a complete team to come.  We are now in the final quarter of the season and all those minutes that the young kids have logged were tough to watch at times, but now they are closer to not really being freshmen or first year starters anymore.  And that’s when things could get interesting for Iowa football.

Last but not least – the 2007 NYC Hawks t-shirts will be on sale this Saturday!  Back to the pre-season price of just $20.00!  It you don’t have one for yourself you should – it’s black and this is New York City.  But black is cool everywhere, so consider the tees to be great stocking stuffers for friends and family back home.  And let’s face it – no matter where Hawkeyes live, they can never have too many Iowa t-shirts/sweatshirts/beer koozies.  We’ll lug the suitcase up from the Blondies basement at halftime, so have your cash ready and we’ll get you what you need.  Sorry, we are sold out of XXLs, but have everything else. 

A happy Halloween to you!  A quick check of the channels indicates there are no less than about 50 scary movies on, if that is your kind of thing.  I will be slipping in my fave (The Exorcist – The Version You’ve Never Seen) and downing a bag of Snicker Minis soon enough!  See you Saturday at noon!!!

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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