September 16, 2008

TES - 2008 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 2

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

2008 Iowa Football Schedule
August 30th Iowa v. Maine WIN 46-3
September 6th Iowa v. Florida International 12:05 PM, BTN
September 13th Iowa v. Iowa State 12:05 PM, BTN
September 20th Iowa @ Pittsburg TBD
September 27th Iowa v. Northwestern 12:05 PM, TBD
October 4th Iowa @ Michigan State 12:05 PM, TBD
October 11th Iowa @ Indiana TBD
October 18th Iowa v. Wisconsin TBD
October 25th Bye Week
November 1st Iowa @ Illinois TBD
November 8th Iowa v. Penn State TBD
November 15th Iowa v. Purdue TBD
November 22nd Iowa @ Minnesota 7:05 PM, BTN
September 6th, 2008: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Florida International Golden Panthers 0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt
Prior Games: 0
Last Game:

Current Line: Iowa -27

Current Turnover Margin: +1

Depth Chart for this week:

Game Watch: ‘The Best Game Watch Outside Of Kinnick.’
BLONDIES SPORTS 212 West 79th, (Broadway/Amsterdam).
1 train to 79th street, 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.  We will not always have Hawkeye audio on the restaurant side.

Last Week: Maine

Thanks to everyone who turned out Saturday and kicked the season off to great start!  Yes – we are working on getting some functioning audio set up for week 2 so we can hear the Fight and Beer songs in all their glory.  If you were to touch that cd player, you would understand.  To say it’s crusty is an understatement.

So we beat Maine by 43 points.  As noted last week, pretty hard to tell a whole lot from such a contest, but at least our margin of victory was in line with most of the top schools who were playing non-BCS, or Div. 2 squads.  Well, except for VA Tech.  And the @ Pitt game looks much less frightening this week – if you saw the ‘highlights’, it’s not that they just lost to Bowling Green, Pitt just plain looked bad.  And I knew Michigan was going to lose to Utah.  Oh, how I wish we played them this year!
What did my eyes behold, Iowa scoring a TD on the first drive of the game?!

Anyway, there were things we could learn from this contest. First, the O line seems to have made strides.  They opened up holes for 245 rushing yards, and gave up only 1 sack.  Could it be, our running game might actually be one of the strengths of the team this year?  Greene, 109 yards, a td.  Freshman Jewel Hampton, 68 yards on just 9 carries, including a 19 yard td run on his very first college touch.  He also added a 22 yard score for good measure.  O’Meara kicked his first td with his 23 yard effort.  I think Greene could have done more if he was in a little better shape; he will get there. Just, altogether a joy to see the Hawks exert some muscle and shove the ball down someone’s throat.  Been a long time coming.

The QBs, a combined 18/29, 212 yards, one td, one pick (both Jake). He had some wobbly throws there in the beginning, and that pick was a very bad under throw.  But, he played better when he returned in the 3rd, looking more comfortable, firing the ball with more zip and accuracy.  Stanzi, he does look the part.  He had thrown 4 passes before Saturday and the only one to be caught was not by us.  Yet he appeared very comfortable on the drop back, went through his progressions, and delivered a true ball more often than not.  Yet nothing was really done by either QB to grab the reigns, so expect the quarterly rotation to go on again this week.

The wideouts had a few game 1 drops, but I think we can begin to see that this unit is going to be outstanding down the road.  TE Meyers, 4 catches for 44 yards and a td. Once Moeaki is good to go, we have the potential to inflict major damage with our tight ends.  Brodell just had one snag, for 16 yards, but I loved seeing the Hawks use him in the end around play (that is not a reverse), and when he did get the ball, he carried it for 24 yards. That play is going to cause some problems for defenses down the road – at the snap, we can hand off to the tail back, hand off to the end, or do neither, drop back and launch a play action pass.  A Hawkeye quasi-triple option (not really).  Maybe that old dog KOK is learning some new tricks….

The Iowa Special Teams – one again, special!  8 kicks (3 field goals, 5 extra points), all of them, down the middle, with plenty of leg to spare.  Brought a tear to my eye.  Just one punt on the day, Donahue dutifully rolled it to sleep at the Maine 4. What a joy to see Brodell back returning punts again. 5 chances, 76 yards, a 15.5 per return average.  Even when he is making his moves, he is still heading down field.  In space, his speed kills.  Look for him to break one for a td, either this week or next.  The kick return team only allowed Maine an average of 14 yards on kickoffs, while the Hawks rolled up over 23 yards per on the (just 2) kickoffs we got from the Bears.

So we racked up nearly 460 yards of offense, broke in some new talent on that side of the ball, and look like we are going to be able to move the ball better, perhaps much better, than we did last year.  But, I must nitpick from time to time.  Our 3rd down conversion percentage, just 31%. True, on 3 of those 4th downs, we kicked successful field goals.  And yes, we did go for it on 4th down 4 times, and converted 3 of them.  Going forward, that number must go up – about 20 points.  Maybe not this week, but by week 3, absolutely.

Ok, the defense gave up 20 more yards than I wanted.  Of course, 37 of those yards came on the first play after we scored.  With our blown coverage, that should have gone for a td, good for us, the receiver fell down making the catch.  But after that one pass, the Hawkeye backfield allowed Maine only 46 more yards, the rest of the way (passing).

A.J. Edds was everywhere.  Stuffing the run, drilling wideouts on underneath routes, running downfield, stride for stride, in pass coverage.  It was he that got the tip that we picked off to snuff the Maine opening drive threat.  He is also the one who chased down the Maine QB for the safety, not only scoring two points, but giving us the momentum back just two plays after Jake was intercepted.  The 2nd pick, also, off of the mitts of A.J.  #1 game ball for week 1.

Two things to note about the defense.  I know, we only gave up 220 yards, but 104 of those were on the ground, to one guy.  At an average of 5.0 per carry.  Got to button that up against the weaker teams, as we must be ready when the likes of Hill come calling.  Edds did have a horse collar penalty (flag football, coming soon), and the Hawks also collected two 15 yard face mask calls.  Penalties happen, of course, but we must avoid the personal foul/auto 1st down kinds when the competition gets tougher.

The Black Bears played hard from the first snap to the final gun, and I think they all got through it without any major injuries. Can’t be easy going on the road and up a division; hope this experience was valuable to the players and they can use it as the try to move up in the CAA standings.

All in all, a comfortable victory, we get some key playmakers back either this week or next, and the conventional wisdom is that football teams make the greatest leap from week 1 to week 2.  If that’s the case, this Saturday should also be a cakewalk.  We are back into Division 1 this week – but the odds makers think even less of this team than they did of our Division 2 opponent.

This Week: Florida International

FIU.  A school that has been playing football since 2002, and in Division 1 since 2005. To date – most known for the major league worthy brawl against the Hurricanes in 2006 (available on YouTube).  The jury is still out on if they won the fight, but there has been no doubt about the on field results.  0-12 in 2006 and 1-11 in 2007.  That one win was in their last game of 07, against North Texas.  Name the mascot, if you can.

Last week, they fell at Kansas, 40-10.  Not sure how they got the ten, as the Golden Panthers could only muster 136 total yards.  Their coach (2nd season) was a 4-year letter winner at Miami in the late 80’s – and played against the Hawks in the 1990 game in Miami.  So he knows what it takes to win games, but recruiting to FIU has got to be tough in a state that includes FSU, The U, and UF, not to mention South Florida.  Oh, and the other top SEC schools that manage to get a few playmakers out of there from time to time.  Their work is cut out for them.  They will open a newly renovated and expanded stadium (against South Florida) when they return home next week.  Maybe that will help inch them in the right direction.

Their offensive coordinator spent some time at Purdue under Tiller, so look for it to be a pass first type attack.  Well, an attempt at one.  73 net passing yards against the Jayhawks.  A good test for our D line and the young secondary.  Let’s see 3 picks this week, and how about 4 sacks.

The way things stand now, the starting battles continue as they did last week.  Left guard, kicker, and QB.  We will most likely have one of our hurt linebackers return, an outside chance at Moeaki and maybe Stross, and if things go our way early, look for more freshmen to take the field to get that valuable snap experience.

For the first time in several seasons, our bartender James will not be with us this weekend.  It’s a worthy reason, his wedding.  He will be back after those obligations are taken care of.

Joining us at the bar this week will be our Chicago Hawkeye friends, RJ, Rich, and Tim.  How will you know them?  Look for the Hawks ‘tailgating’ outside the Duane Reade on the corner, before kickoff.

Once again on the Big Ten network, and the Spartans, Wildcats, and Wolverines all play at the same time, also on the BTN.  So get there by noon so we can stuff the bar with Hawkeyes and force the Wolverines (and any Buckeye that show up) into the restaurant side.  We will have all the flags hung up this week, so there will be no doubt whose space it is.  Reminder, Blondies opens at 11:30 am.  But, depending on what time they got out of there Friday night, it might be more like 11:45.

I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend.  See you on Saturday!

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.  
  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. Should the Hawks lose, you don’t have to drown your sorrows by yourself.  Pain is a drink best shared with friends.
  8. The best chicken wings in the City.  Extra napkins – required. FYI.
  9. 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.
  10. Have cable?  No Big Ten Network for you, yet. The bar has DirecTV.



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