October 17, 2009

TES - 2009 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 7

Iowa’s Record:  6-0, 2-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #11 (919 votes)
USA Today: #12 (785 votes)
ESPN Power Rankings: #10 (250 votes)
ESPNU Fan: #9
HARRIS: #11 (1697 votes)
BCS: Next Week!

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 WIN 24-21
October 10th Iowa v. Michigan Wolverines WIN 30-28
October 17th Iowa @ Wisconsin Badgers 12:02 pm, ESPN
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 17th 2009: Iowa Hawkeyes @ Wisconsin Badgers, 5-1, 2-1, Big Ten
Prior Games: 84, Series tied 41-41-2
Last Game: 2008, Iowa 38, Wisconsin 16

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: +9

Current Line: Iowa +3

Scoring Defense 15.8, Pass Def 171.0, Rush Def 134.3, Interceptions 12, Total Defense 305.3
Big Ten                 #3                       #1                          #6                             #1                    #3
NCAA                  #20                      #21                        #62                           #2                    #31

Scoring Offense 25.7, Pass Offense 232.8, Rush Offense 130.2, Total Offense 363.0
Big Ten                #9                             #5                                 #8                               #7
NCAA                  #75                           #46                               #80                             #67
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: Michigan

All right, well, let’s start off this week by reminding ourselves, that the 05-07 and first half of 2008 Hawkeyes would have most likely lost this game, crushing our hopes and dreams until the rematch next fall.  Yes, this team has the character to find a way to win, even when all cylinders are not working, and I feel sorry for the Big Ten team that is going to be facing us when we put it all together.  I think that is going to happen very soon.

Just as importantly, these Hawkeyes have nerves of steel, and falling behind is no big deal, they just have to keep running the game plan, and things will work out.

Which is good, as when your 1st pass is a pick-6, things could out of control pretty darn easily.  After a few viewings, I am still not sure if it was purely Stanzi’s fault, or partially Chaney’s.  It looked like a classic timing out route, and had that been the call, that’s where the pass would have been.  Alas, the Hawks are probably the only Div. 1 team to appear on ABC twice at 8:00 pm, give up a passing td on the 1st offensive play of one game, and a pick-6 on the 1st offensive pass of the 2nd one.  Top that Elias!

Anyway, how we would respond to that shock would go a long way toward how the rest of the night would go. 

Wegher starts us off by bringing the kickoff back to our 43.  After a 5-yard run by Brandon, the Hawks have to burn a timeout.   A pass to McNutt on the 3rd and 6 nets 10, then Wegher almost turns the corner for a 7-yard gain.  On the 3rd and 3, Stanzi hits – welcome back for this week – Tony Moeaki for 4 yards and the 1st down.  Kinnick buzzes with joy, our playmaker is back!  The Hawks are at the Michigan 32, and on the next play, it appears that DJK has made a catch at the 19, but the call is overturned.  Wegher then loses 2 yards, and a 3rd and 12 from the 34 looms. 

We have waited a month to see it, and there it was.  On the snap, Moeaki sort of half blocks, then releases, and Stanzi finds him about 4 yards past the line of scrimmage.  From there, the seas part, and Tony has himself a 34-yard touchdown.  All tied up, the Hawks have responded, and little did we know, but that was an inkling that the Iowa passing game was now emerging into a dangerous weapon.

Now Michigan tries to respond, but a holding call forces them into a 3rd and 10, and Forcier must pass for the 1st time.  Payback is a bitch, as his throw flies right into Hunter’s hands at the 35, and he takes it back to the Wolverine 19.  Iowa linebackers 1, safeties, 0.

Hawks stall after 8 yards, but Murray drills the 28-yard field goal, 10-7 Hawks.

The Michigan offense awakens, and an 11- play drive, highlighted by a Forcier 9-yard run, on a 4th and 4 from our 35, gets them to our 3.  Our no-rushing touchdown streak was not going to last forever, and after 33 quarters, we finally give one up to Minor, and now Michigan leads 14-10. 

The quarter ends with the Hawks going 3 and out, and the punt puts Michigan at their 30.  Two running plays nets a 1st down at the 40, but then Forcier loses the ball as he goes back to pass, and after it gets booted around for a bit, there is Hunter again, and he falls on it.  Hawks have the ball on the Michigan 46.

Hawks attack on 1st down, and this time Stanzi throws a dart to McNutt over the middle, hitting him in full stride, the play picks up 22.  But from there, 3 straight missed passes, and Murray is in again, this time from 41, and good.  Hawks within 1, 14-13.

The Wolverines gain one 1st down on their next possession, but must then punt from their 34.  After the kick, the Hawks gain the ball at our 24.  Two runs nets only 4 yards, and on the 3rd down, the Iowa vertical passing game comes alive.  Stanzi hits a diving Stross for 33 yards to the Michigan 41.  On this 1st down, Stanzi nearly throws a pick, as he comes back across his body trying to hit Wegher for the dump off.  But it falls to the turf.  On the 2nd down, Eubanks gets a bit trigger happy and snaps the ball over Stanzi’s head – all Ricky can do is fall on it for a 14 yard loss.  From Herbstreit, the obligatory ‘not many plays for 3rd and 24’, the expected screen or draw play upcoming.  From Musburger, the Hawks just want a few yards to set up Donahue, who can then pin Michigan inside the 10.  Surely, he says, the Hawks wont try a high-risk play.

Well, KOK must have seen something he liked from the Michigan secondary, and so Stanzi drops back, steps up, and heaves it down the center of the field.  There, somehow the Wolverine free safety has allowed DJK to get behind him, and with that sliver of a window, Ricky finds his target.  This is not really a diving catch, but one made, over the shoulder, while falling down, with the cornerback falling down on top of him.  No problem, 47 yards, Hawks 1st and goal at the Michigan 8. 

Wegher takes it 5 yards to the 3, and then Stanzi gets drilled trying to sneak the ball over the line at the pylon.  3rd and goal from the 1, and we knew what was coming, and the Wolverines should have known as well.  But they don’t, and this time, Brandon even lands on his feet after completing the up and over.  20-14 Hawks, the lead was ours, and never again to be surrendered. 

Both teams trade 3 and outs, and Michigan gets the ball back at their 19 with 2:38 left in the half.  A couple Minor runs nets 14 yards; then on a 3rd and 5, Forcier hits Odoms for 35 yards to the Iowa 30.  On the play, Spievey flashes in front of Odoms as the ball arrives, by my count one of two plays on the day where he had an interception plainly in his grasp and could not come down with it.  But the Hawks rebound, and stand up Minor at the line on the 1st down.  Angerer pops him from behind, the ball pops out, and Clayborn calmly grabs it, and then jogs off the field as the Hawks have forced turnover #3.

Hawks now have the ball at our own 31, with 1:19 to go.  On the 3rd and 10, Stanzi hits DJK for 11, and then Wegher for 9, then Morse for 16 to the Michigan 31.  There are 3 seconds left, and Ferentz sends the field goal team in to try the 47 yarder.  That happens to be Murray’s career long, but for reasons I still don’t know, the Hawks, though set with about 6 seconds left on the play clock, fail to snap the ball, and the resulting delay of game pushes the field goal back to 52 yards. I am sure Murray is sufficiently ticked off to not be entirely focused on the kick; sure enough, it comes up just short and left.  Half ends at 20-14, so far, so good, but everyone is feeling that the Hawkeyes can play better, and hope that the halftime adjustments will produce the 2nd half pull away from the Wolverines.

Michigan obliges with a 3 and out to open the 2nd half.  Hawks get the ball at our 14, and from there, a Robinson 19 yard rush, then 11 yard pass to Moeaki, gets the ball out to our 44.  There, Stanzi scramble for 12 yards, then Robinson runs for 15, then 6, yards more, and it seems the Iowa offense has found that extra gear and there is no stopping them now.  But, two passes kill off the 2nd, and then 3rd and 4, and Murray is again called on, and hits the 40 yard field goal.  Hawks up 2 scores, 23-14. 

Michigan needs 4 plays to get to the Hawkeye 41, but can’t move from there, and Forcier pooch punts it to the Iowa 15.  We then go 3 and out, and lose on the field position exchange, as the Wolverines have it at their 43 after the punt return.

The next drive is hard to swallow for Hawkeye fans, as Michigan does not even need a 3rd down to move the ball to the Iowa 1 in nine plays.  There, Minor scores again, on the drive he runs for 44 of the 57 total yards.  23-21 Hawks

Hawks then move from the 28 to the 50, but stall, and must punt the ball.  Michigan returner Matthews feels the heat, drops it, and Lowe falls on it for the 4th Wolverine turnover.  Now with the ball at the 16, Stanzi hits Moeaki for 10.  Ricky misses DJK on the 1st down, then Wegher is just barely caught from behind on the 2nd, and the Hawks face a 3rd and goal from the 3 as the 3rd quarter comes to a close.

Brandon then gains two yards to the 1, and the Hawks decide to go for it.  Stanzi rolls out, but throws it too soon – had he waited, Moeaki had the corner to himself, but with the quick throw, Tony has not cleared the linebacker, so the pass fails. 

The Iowa defense does its job and forces the quick, no yardage gained, 3 and out.  Sandeman returns the punt 20 yards to the Wolverine 42. 

At the line, Stanzi sees that the Wolverines have 9 players in the box.  After the play action fake, he rolls to his right.  At the snap, Moeaki (at the left of the line) moves behind the Michigan front, and into the open space as he moves across the field.  Reisner is also there, but the pass goes to Tony, and he is escorted down the field by his fellow tight end, touchdown Iowa, 30-21. 12:56 to go; now it’s time for the Hawkeye defense to shut the door.

They do, as Michigan goes 3 and out again.  Hawks get the ball back at our 24 at the 11:44 mark.  Stanzi runs for 2 yards on the 3rd and 1, but the Hawks are called for holding, and are unable to overcome the penalty, must punt.  The Hawks make the tackle at the Michigan 25, but after the play, some chippiness ensues, and it’s Lowe who gets flagged for the slap to the helmet.  15 yards, ball now at the Michigan 41.  But it’s not Forcier who takes the field to try and lead the comeback, it’s backup QB Denard Robinson.

Who is not so much a passer, but more of Wildcat style QB.  The Hawks fail to adjust, and he leads an 11-play drive, the only time the Wolverines face a 3rd down in it, the ball is on the Iowa 3 yard line.  There, Robinson scores (maybe, he might have been down, but it’s not reviewed), and the Wolverines are again within 2, at 30-28. 

Michigan tries the onside kick, but the ball goes out of bounds at their 45. Hawks go uber-conservative, and punt the ball back to the Wolverines with 90 seconds left.  I think we all expected to see Forcier again, but nope, it’s Robinson.  He moves the ball 21 yards in 2 plays, and a bad feeling starts to creep over the bar and stadium.  Thankfully, running is what he does best, and his next throw sails well over his wideout’s head, and into the arms of Greenwood.  Victory formation, Hawks have avenged the Kinnick Stadium winning streak game, and the Beer Song rings loud and true throughout Hawkeye Nation.

But the victory did not come without a price.  On the last punt that he handled, Chaney Jr. got up slowly as ABC went to commercial.  He never appeared again, and today (Tuesday) Ferentz confirmed it was an ACL tear, and the junior is out for the rest of the season.  So the Iowa passing and return game takes a hit, even as it gains a major asset with the return of Moeaki.  But, it seems that DJK is now back in the good-enough graces, so he should be seeing the field earlier from now on, and Sandeman and others can handle the punt returns.  Get well soon Paul, we look forward to seeing you back out on the field in 2010.

There has been a fair amount of griping on the Hawkeye boards over ‘just’ a two point win, but let us not forget that this win is just #11 in 55 games against Michigan.  They are rebuilding, but they can put a lot more 4 and 5 star recruits onto the field than we can, so it’s not surprising that they have some playmakers that can produce points.  Once again, it’s about winning above all else. We have reached 6-0 for the 1st time since 1985, continue the 2nd longest winning streak in Div. 1, and have already sowed up bowl eligibility.  Though not a bowl that we would be satisfied with – more work to do.

It takes Tony just one game to claim the weekly Mackey award, with his 6 catch, 105 yard, 2 td effort.  Stanzi completes 20-38, not a great percentage, but aside from the 1st pass, no more turnovers (though a couple were close).  He passed for 284 on the day, and with his newfound over-the-top confidence I think he is going to top 400 here pretty soon.  Yes, our rushing effort was sub-standard again, although you probably didn’t realize Robinson had a nifty 7.0 yard average on his 10 carries  (Wegher, only 21 on 13 attempts).  Not a bad week for the O-line, in most of those cases Wegher was running into 8 or 9 man fronts.  I think we showed enough in the passing game this week to make teams think twice about doing that.  If the passing clicks from the start, the running will follow, and that compete offensive game will be within reach. 

Not that 30 points is bad, but 3 field goals – ok this week, but we can’t be kicking 3 field goals on the road.  Hawks must have better red zone execution.

Yes, the defense did give up 195 rushing yards, and not 1, but 3 rushing tds.  I trust the line is tearing it up in practice this week, I don’t think you really want to see the likes of Klug and Clayborn when they are angry.  Then again, the Wolverines only completed 11 passes for 124 yards, so the defense took that away.  Let’s not forget, the 1st interception lead to an Iowa field goal, the 2nd sealed the game.  Two timely turnovers that played a very large role in the final outcome, forced by the defense. 

It’s all Big Ten from here on out, and the Hawks have much to play for.  So I don’t think there will be any kind of letdown like after Penn State.  And once again this week, there are enough things to work on for both the offense and defense, so the preparations should be intense and focused. 

Week 6: Wisconsin

Well, it’s Homecoming in Madison, and the Badgers are coming off a heartbreaking performance in Columbus last week, so they are going to be fired up.  Then again, the Lions were all fired up, and we know how well that turned out of them

Let’s recap the Badger meltdown:
Out 1st downs OSU, 22-8
Out passes OSU, 250-87
Out rushes OSU, 118-97
Total Yards Badgers 368 Buckeyes 184
TOP Badgers 42:47 Buckeyes 17:13

Final score, Badgers 13, Buckeyes 31.

At least when Stanzi throws a pick-6, he rebounds.  Not the case for Badger QB Tolzein, a junior and 1st year starter.  Late in the 1st quarter, he throws an 89-yard pick-6, and then early in the 3rd, he does it again, this time from 32 yards out.  Then, after the Badgers kick a field goal to get within 21-13, they allow the ensuing kickoff to be brought back 96 yards to fall behind 28-13.  I think from there, the Badgers probably just gave up.

Wisconsin opened 5-0, in the preseason beating Northern Illinois, Fresno State (in OT), and then Wofford, and then topping the Spartans in Madison, 38-30, and then the Gophers in the Twin Cities 31-28.  But they finally ran into a good defense, and superior special teams – which they are about to run into again this Saturday.

The 2007 game (Badgers won, 17-13) was a classic Big Ten war of attrition.  Both Moeaki and Brodell were lost for the season in a game that featured 20 punts.  Much has changed since then, though some things remain the same – namely, Iowa and Wisconsin are more or less mirror images of each other. 

No spread option to worry about this week, the Badger QB was in the negative for rushing last week, though the 6 sacks by the Buckeyes hurt that number.  The Wisconsin O-line had an off week and now they get a fired up Iowa defense.  That defense will be tasked with shutting down the Badger running game – tailback John Clay ran for 184 and 142 in the first two Big Ten games, but the Buckeyes held him to 59 yards on 20 carries last Saturday.  His backup, Brown, is questionable for the game due to a concussion.  If the Hawks can take away the running attack, I think the defensive secondary will be ready to claim the NCAA interception lead from SMU.  We have yet to take one of our 12 back for a touchdown…perhaps we scan stir some bad memories for the Buckeye QB early in this one. 

On the offensive side, we can expect the O-line to be that much better, now that they will have had two weeks with all 5 starters intact.  Their 1st priority will be to contain Badger defensive end Schofield (#50).  So far, he has 6.5 sacks, and 14.5 tackles for a loss, and the second stat leads the nation.  Bulaga, you have been not up to par yet – understandable after missing so much time.  This is the week to find yourself all the way back to your All American form.

If need be, the Hawks can also rely on our extra O-lineman, Tony Moeaki, to help contain him.  You simply cannot overstate the impact he can have now that he is back.  At 6’4 250, he is too big for a cornerback to cover, as he uses his body so well to ward off smaller defenders.  If safeties help cover him, they leave at least one Iowa wideout in single coverage on the outside, and then Stanzi can go deep.  If the Badger linebackers are selling out to stop our running game, he will eat them alive over the middle.  Pay too much attention to him over the middle, and you will miss McNutt on his crossing routes.  Keep your linebackers back to help cover him, and now the Iowa running game can exploit the 2nd level when getting through the D-line.  He is a matchup nightmare, and yes, I think that he alone can help the Iowa offense find the next level starting this week. Oh, and let’s not forget Reisner, you pay too much attention to Tony, you leave him wide open for 15 yard gains in the middle of the field.  As long as the Hawks don’t turn the ball over, I don’t think the Badger defense will be able to slow us down with any consistency.

We also have the distinct advantage in special teams.  Sandeman showed right off that bat that he can return punts, and after being ‘out kicked’ last week (no matter, the Michigan kicker out punted his coverage too often), Donahue will be primed to make the Badger offense go along way.  The Iowa kick return has also found now life with Wegher back there, and that is an area where the Badgers suffer, in both defending and returning.  The Hawks have been opportunistic with sub-par special teams – I think they will produce a touchdown Saturday.

As was the case with Penn State, once the game begins, the emotions level off, and skill takes over.  It’s a road game, yes, so let’s review what the Hawks have to do to emerge with a win.  Win the turnover battle, be at least 50% on 3rd downs, and turn red zone chances into touchdowns, not field goals.  Remember, today is the Ides of October, and as the 2nd half of the season begins, the Hawkeyes tend to get stronger, each and every game.

The Badgers are giving up 29.6 points in 3 Big Ten games.  I like it, 31 for the Hawks.  The Hawkeye defense is giving up 15.8 on the season, and will be fired up after giving up 21 last week (1st td, not on them).  So, that’s about 17 for Wisconsin.  We have won 5 out of 7, pounded them last year, and are a better team in 2009.  The win Saturday matches the 1985 club at 7-0, and then the work begins to take down the Spartans.

Back at noon (eastern) Saturday, so you don’t have to find something to do all day long!  If you are in NYC, you don’t want to do anything but hang out in a bar watching football, anyway, as the forecast is for rain and 45 degrees.  So I’ll see all you Hawkeyes at Opal!  Enjoy the last day of your week!



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