October 3, 2009

TES - 2009 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 5

Iowa’s Record:  4-0, 1-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #13 (788 votes)
USA Today: #17 (462 votes)
ESPN Power Rankings: #13
ESPNU Fan: #11
HARRIS: #14 (1102 votes)

2009 Iowa Football Schedule

September 5th Iowa v. Northern Iowa Panthers WIN 17-16
September 12th Iowa @ Iowa State Cyclones WIN 35-3
September 19th Iowa v. Arizona Wildcats WIN 27-17
September 26th Iowa @ Penn State Nittany Lions WIN 21-10
October 3rd Iowa v. Arkansas State Red Wolves 12:05 PM, ESPN2
October 10th Iowa v. Michigan Wolverines HOMECOMING, 8:05 pm, ABC
October 17th Iowa @ Wisconsin Badgers 12:05 pm, BTN/ESPN/ESPN2
October 24th Iowa @ Michigan State 7:05 PM, BTN
October 31st Iowa v. Indiana Hoosiers 12:05 PM, ESPN/ESPN2
November 7th Iowa v. Northwestern Wildcats TBD
November 14th Iowa @ Ohio State Buckeyes TBD
November 21st Iowa v. Minnesota Golden Gophers TBD

Outback Bowl 1/1/10, 11:00 AM, ESPN
Capital One Bowl 1/1/10, 1:00 PM, ABC

Rose Bowl 1/1/10, 5:00 PM, ABC
Sugar Bowl 1/1/10, 8:30 PM, FOX
Fiesta Bowl 1/4/10, 8:00 PM, FOX
Orange Bowl 1/5/10, 8:00 PM, FOX
BCS Title Game 1/7/10, 8:00 PM, ABC

October 3rd 2009: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Arkansas State Red Wolves, 1-2, 0-1, Sun Belt
Prior Games: 0
Last Game:

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: +5

Current Line: Iowa -21

Scoring Defense 11.5, Pass Def 171.5, Rush Def 132.8, Interceptions 9, Total Defense 304.3
Big Ten                 #3                       #3                          #7                             #1                    #3
NCAA                  #8                      #32                         #61                            #2                    #33

Scoring Offense 25.0, Pass Offense 204.3, Rush Offense 143.5, Total Offense 347.8
Big Ten                #8                             #8                                 #7                               #9
NCAA                 #75                           #71                               #60                              #81

Depth Chart for this week:

Game Watch: ‘The Best Game Watch Outside Of Kinnick.’
Opal Bar & Restaurant, 251 East 52nd St. Corner of 52nd and 2nd, 212 593-4321

Getting There:
6/E (no V on weekends) trains to 51st/Lexington Ave. Walk 2 blocks east, 1 block north to the bar.
M15 Bus – downtown on 2nd Ave, uptown on 1st Ave.
M50 Bus from the west side.
Several parking garages are in the area, but we strongly encourage you to take cabs or mass transit to our game watches!


Last Week: Penn State

Say it with me now – THAT WAS NOT AN UPSET.

Nope.  I knew we were going to win, otherwise I would not have typed it about four times in the Notes last week.  Of course, I was not counting on the rain, and that it would go down in that way, but I just knew it.  It was, after all, about the players. And Penn State had no business being ranked where they were, and we had no business being (not) ranked where we were. 

Sure, it was a bit scary in the beginning.  Iowa sputters out of the gate to a 3 and out, but only because Stanzi misses the wide-open Cheney Jr. on the quick release.  Donahue, 48 yards to the State 21.  He, warmed up, ready to go, not bothered by the rain.

It took 4 weeks to happen, but it had to happen sooner or later.  Spievey is the one beat deep on the 79 yard touchdown pass, and the Hawks are down 7 a buck 45 into the game.  Clark struts around on the field like a prizefighter – I suppose like the Wildcats a week before, he figured there would be more touchdowns to be had.  Sadly, he was mistaken.

Hawks then open the next series with a Wegher 28 yard scamper to the Penn State 40.  Hawks get 5 more yards on two plays, then on the 3rd down, Stanzi hits Sandeman smack in the hands, he drops it, drop kicks it, and Penn State snags it.  Wasted chance #1, still raining.

Now the Lions go on a 20 play, 10+ minute drive, where they successfully execute four 3rd downs, and one 4th.  But the Iowa defense kills it at our 11; Binns drills Clark on the 3rd and 4 to make the pass drop to the turf.  Field goal, Hawks now down 10-0, but much better than 14-0.  At this point, Clark has completed 6 passes.  The Lions would only catch 6 more all day.  And sadly for Clark, 3 of them would be snagged by the Hawkeyes.

Ensuing drive, Stanzi hits – welcome back – DJK for 14 yards on the 2nd down.  Hawks get the ball to the Penn State 40, but bog down again, and now it’s time for Donahue to see what he can do.  Rain, no problem, the 34 yard punt is downed by the Hawks at the 6. 

On 1st down, the Lions false start, and are now on their 3-yard line.  Royster barely avoids getting taken down in the end zone, it’s now 2nd and 15 from the 1, one yard gained on the play, and now 3rd and 14.  Clark drops back on the snap, and there is Binns again, hitting the Lion QB, forcing the fumble, but the Hawks can’t get on it before a State lineman does. Safety, 10-2.  But more importantly, noticed served.  The Iowa defense has awakened, the Lion O-line was about to be taught a lesson, and all the scoring that was to be done, would be done by the Hawkeyes.

Hawks take the free kick to the Penn State 38, but stall again. Donahue puts the punt out at the PSU 14, and as he leaves the field, looks pissed that it was not inside the 10.  

Lions go 3 and out, Hawks get the ball back at our 40.  This drive is highlighted by 4 plays to the PSU 24, the biggest one another strike to DJK, this time for 24 yards.  On the 1st down, Stanzi throws behind McNutt – the 1st of two distinct misses to Marvin when he had lots of green in front of him.  Two more incompletions, and the Penn State fans have nothing nice to say to Murray as he takes the field.  He, unbothered by that and rain, drills the 41 yarder, Hawks now down 10-5. 

Again, State 3 and out, and now the Hawks are on a long drive, thanks to a running into the punter call on what appeared to be on our own 3 and out.  The 5 yards are enough for the 1st down, and on that play, Robinson attacks the deflated Lion defense for 23, to just inside the State 45.  Hawks now false start, and on the 3rd and 15 from just inside the 50, Stanzi hits Reisner for 22 to the Lion 25.  Hawks go no further, and bring in Murray again, this time for a 42 yarder.  But it’s wide, and the State fans roar their approval as the half ends at 10-5 Penn State.

Still raining, but at least underneath the stands it’s dry.  Well, except where it is leaking.  A week after being in the classical beauty of Kinnick, Beaver stadium just plain looks like a dump.  Sure, the field is ok, but back inside, with all the exposed girders, the parts of the floor where it’s just dirt and not cement, and the weathered picnic tables that need a new coat of paint, it just does not do the 109,000 seats justice.  After somewhat drying off the yellow ponchos, we return for the 3rd, confident that the Hawks are going to start making the plays at any time.

Penn State comes out of the halftime with a 9-play drive to the Hawkeye 34, but in a sign of things that lie ahead, Clark completely misses that Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater is standing right in his passing lane.  Prater does not miss, Hawks have the ball back at their own 25.  Hawks manage to get it out to the 49, but a holding call dooms the drive, and must punt it back.  A 39 yard pass gets the ball to the Iowa 34 – this on a 3rd and 12, it was the pass the got Prater turned around as the much taller wideout made the leap to snag the ball.  But the Lions would only get a few more yards, and now it was time for the State kicker to miss, and he obliges, his 48 yarder coming up about 2 yards short. 

Hawks move the ball to the Lion 37, but then a sack, and a delay of game bring up a 2nd and 24 from the 50.  Stanzi tries to get it all back, throws into traffic, and the tipped ball is caught by Penn State.  They now have the ball at their 24, the 3rd quarter soon ends with the score still 10-5.  But as we would soon learn, this drive by Penn State was the beginning of the end.

Between the quarters, Matt and I agree, what we need to see is a defensive touchdown to spark the Hawkeyes. 

The Loins move the ball to the Iowa 47 rather easily, but from there, a no gain run and two incomplete passes force the punt.   Hawks set up in the punt-safe formation, which doubles as a trick play check, and return set up. But things are not safe on the State side of the line.  As the last line of defense, they have a safety.  He offers no resistance to a hard charging Clayborn – it’s blocked – bouncing once, now twice, he has it! He is running!  No one can catch him!  Touchdown Iowa, complete pandemonium in section NL, yellow poncho clad Hawkeye fans now in a quasi mosh-pit, made all the more interesting by jumping up and down on soaking wet metal bleachers.  Hawks go for two, but Stanzi is sacked.  I tell Matt, ‘we were here for 6-4, 11-10 is twice as exciting.’ Still raining, but the small corner of Hawkeye fans is suddenly warm and toasty, and making so much noise that the Lion fans seem unable to respond.

Now the Lions again get out of their end rather easily.  But at the 49, Clark once again loses track of the Iowa defense, and this time throws it too high, tipped, into the arms of Angerer, who turns on the jets, gets the far corner, and takes it all the way to the PSU 24.  Beaver Stadium is stunned, and the chant of  ‘Let’s Go Hawks’ echoes through Happy Valley.

Now, the Iowa O-line is manhandling the State defensive front.  Robinson for 9 yards, then 2, and on the 1st and 10 from the Lion 13, runs through about 3 tacklers as he reaches the pylon and over, touchdown Iowa. The lead now 18-10, still raining, and between that and the sudden Hawkeye explosion, the yellow clad fans are making all the noise. 

Not for long, however.   Hawkeye kick coverage finally breaks down, and we allow the return plus subsequent personal foul that now has State at the Iowa 36.  Up 8, a td and 2 pointer ties it, Beaver Stadium roars again as the Lion offense takes the field.

On 1st down, Royster gets the corner turned, 10, then 15 yards, finally the Hawks get a man in front of him to slow him up.  Angerer does not slow up, and once he catches up, drills Royster in the back with his arm extended.  Out comes the ball, the Hawkeyes recover, D tackle Klug get the honors, and is rewarded for being so far down the field, never giving up on the play.

Hawks take 4 minutes off the clock, but must punt it back with 4:06 to go.  Still just the 8-point lead, the Hawks fans are hoping for another play, the Lion fans are yelling at their offense to do something.  Two incomplete passes bring up a 3rd and 10.  Hawks get pressure on the outside, Clark steps up, and there is Klug again, getting a paw on it, it settles into the arms of Edds.  Revenge of the Iowa Linebackers, suck it Sash!

Hawks now have the ball at 3:48.  The Penn State defense has given up, Iowa moves it to the Lion 14, and then with 8 seconds left, it’s that man Murray again, 31 yard chip shot field goal, all over but the shouting.  Which was me, saying ‘ha – 11 point spread!’

Just how good was the Iowa defense?  In the 1st two drives, 147 yards given up.  From that point on, only 160.  Penn State’s 4th quarter possessions – blocked punt, TD. Pick, Robison td. Fumble, then Edds pick, then end of game. 

Royster, just 69 yards on 17 carries, with 18 of those yards on one snap.  Clark, 12 for 32, 198 and the td, but 3 picks, and of course, 79 yards on the 1st play.  The Iowa defense is getting stronger by the week, and the Big Ten has most certainly noticed.

Not that it was a great game by the Iowa offense either, Stanzi just 11 for 26 and 135 yards. It takes DJK all of one game to lead the Hawks in receiving, 3 grabs for 50 yards.  Both young tailbacks played well, Wegher 5.2 yards on his carries, Robinson 4.6 on his.  But the Hawks were just 4-14 on 3rd down conversions, so after two good weeks they slipped a bit. In the end, it’s the plus 2 on the turnover margin, and the safety, and the punt block that were the difference.  The offense can have an off week when the other two squads are playing at such a high level.  And with the weather, it was to be expected that things could be a bit rough with the ball. 

I have often said that our previous trips to Penn State were about the nicest road games I have ever attended.  I guess the students that were there in the early part of the decade were so used to losing to us, they just could not say anything.  Now, after the two-year lay off, the Lions were winners in 2007, and they think they should have been in 2008.  So the f-bombs and crude sexual comments toward our ladies were freely flowing before kickoff.  Generally I just said ‘6 out of 7’, and that shut them up pretty quickly.   After the game, complete and total silence.  They could not even look us in the eye.  And I must say, the fact we are Iowans was obvious – besides the high fiving and ‘Go Hawks’ when passing other black and gold fans, the negative Penn State put downs were few a far between.  Yes, some of the Lion alumni were gracious enough to say ‘nice game’ to us as we made our way out of the stadium and back to the bus.

Of course, in the stadium, the best cheer was ‘We Own…Penn State.’  I kind of wondered, with us all crammed into one corner, if the ABC crews would pick us up making any noise.  On Sunday I booted up the dvr to watch it again and listen closely.  After the safety, a faint ‘Let’s Go Hawks’ could be heard in the nether land between by center left and rear left speakers.  But by the 4th, ABC must have moved their crews closer to us, and as the place emptied out of dejected Lions fans, we could be heard in full 5.1 glory.  Kirk, and several players, commented after that game that they had indeed been given a lift by our screaming and yelling.  Rain be damned, no one in the Hawkeye section left early, and this week, the players seemed to spend some extra time slapping hands over the rail.  It was, as they say, a total team effort!

So the quasi-decade ends with the Hawks 7 up and 1 down.  If you count our 1 win 1999 season, Ferentz is now 7-2 against JoePa.  The all time best record against him is held by Lloyd Carr, who went 9-2 against Penn State during his Michigan years.  We are not losing to them in Kinnick in 2010, so when we venture to Hawkeye Valley again in 2011, Kirk will pull even with Lloyd, and then begin to make the record all his own.

I must also say the Paterno is a class act.  He offered no excuses, has always been quick to praise Kirk, his staff, our work ethic.  I hope he is able to outlast Bowden, so the NCAA wins record can stay here in the Big Ten where it belongs.

Gasp, look who is now ranked!  And yes, the coaches who vote in the USA Today poll really don’t know anything about teams they don’t play, as they have Penn State still 4 spots ahead of us.  Don’t look now, but some talking heads have been saying the road to Pasadena now runs through Kinnick!  As full time driver of the bandwagon, I say, hop right on.  

Some hardware to be handed out as well, Clayborn, the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week, and Angerer, the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Week.

So, after that thrilling Big Ten opener, we return to Kinnick to face  - a Sun Belt team.  A classic ‘trap’ game, but I think the Hawks have enough to work on this week that they won’t be looking ahead to the Kinnick show down that looms next week.

Week 5: Arkansas State

You may not have ever heard of this school, in fact, they have only been the Red Wolves for a year now, previously being ‘the Indians,’ which does not go over so well these days, even in Arkansas. 

They are known to me.  Back in 2003, the Hawkeyes and Missouri Paper Tigers were all set to kick off a 4-year series on the gridiron.  Well, the Hawks won 11 games in 2002.  During the summer, the Paper Tigers suddenly decided that they wanted to play the (now Red Wolves), instead of us, for the next two seasons.  They were in fact, ducking us, and with good reason, as our 10 win teams of 2003 and 2004 would have blown them out.  Still, a border battle game, Big Ten v. Big 12, it would have been great to see.  So, after the first game was bailed out on, the Hawks said screw it, and cancelled the last two games.  If you have been reading these Notes for a while, you know that I hope the Hawkeyes and Paper Tigers should wind up in a bowl game some day.  I am certain that the class act that is Ferentz will still try to put up 63 points.  And I’ll be right there, screaming for every one of them.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Another week, another spread option offense.  This time, however, the QB, senior Leonard, might take to the ground quicker then Clark did last week. Not that he is a serious weapon, running for all of five yards against the Troy defense in their Sun Belt opening loss last Saturday. 

Running was a problem as a whole for the Wolves, racking up only 70 yards net, plus 2 for 9 on 3rd downs, with 3 turnovers.  Each a lost fumble.  Again, this was against Troy, in a home game for Arkansas State.  It’s entirely possible that the Iowa defense is in a totally different universe, and the yards could be hard to come by.

Which is comforting, because if there is any part of a football team that should not be affected by looking ahead, it’s the defense.  They did give up a big play and lots of yards on the next series last week, so they can do better.  I think they will come out and play as hard as they can, as putting some fear into the Wolverine spread attack might be in the back of their minds…

On the other side of the ball, there is breaking great news today (Tuesday).  Brian Bulaga is over his sickness (thyroid), is cleared to play, and expected to start Saturday. Now, I am sure he won’t be able to go the whole game yet, so Reiff will surely spell him some, and he has been playing better each week.  DJK is back on the 2-deep, and Moeaki is getting closer – and I am positive he will do everything he can to get in, and get some snaps before the next game.  So, with our starting O-line finally intact, the young tailbacks could find some series holes, and to a right handed quarterback, there is no greater comfort than having your All-American left tackle protecting your back.  Yes, that is the kind of thing that I believe could have Stanzi starting much quicker this week, and the Iowa offense might finally be ready to find that elusive gear.

Might this be the week the Hawks have twin 100-yard rushers? 

The coaches are saying all the right things about the Wolves, but the Hawks are putting the now tied for 2nd best Div. 1 winning streak on the line (8 games).  Saturday also presents the Hawkeyes with their 1st chance to open 5-0 in the Ferentz era. I don’t think the coaches are having any trouble keeping the players focused only on the Red Wolves.

The defense and special teams will bring their A games, and I truly believe the offense will finally find some rhythm now that the starting O-line is playing.  For the first time this season, the Hawks will face a team that has already lost.   The UNI game got their attention, expect the Hawks to come out ready to play, and ready to put the game out of reach by halftime.

After baking in black two weeks ago, and soaking and freezing in gold last week, I am back at the cool comfort of the bar Saturday.  Hope to see all you NYC Hawkeyes there!



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