October 24, 2009

TES - 2009 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 8

Iowa’s Record:  7-0, 3-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #7 (1092 votes)
USA Today: #8 (1037 votes)
ESPN Power Rankings: #6 (291 votes)
ESPNU Fan: #4
HARRIS: #7 (2045 votes)
BCS: #6 Avg .7869

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 WIN 20-10
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 24th 2009: Iowa Hawkeyes @ Michigan State Spartans, 4-3, 3-1, Big Ten
Prior Games: 40, Iowa leads 20-18-2
Last Game: 2008, Iowa 13, Michigan State 16

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: +11
+1.57, Big Ten #1, NCAA #4

Current Line: Iowa -1.0

Scoring Defense 15.0, Pass Def 167.0, Rush Def 127.6, Interceptions 15, Total Defense 294.6
Big Ten                 #3                       #2                          #6                             #1                    #3
NCAA                  #16                      #16                        #53                           #1                    #22

Scoring Offense 24.9, Pass Offense 230.7, Rush Offense 120.9, Total Offense 351.6
Big Ten                #8                             #6                                 #9                               #9
NCAA                  #81                           #47                               #93                             #79
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: Wisconsin

Without getting a wee bit too far ahead of ourselves, what is one trait of championship teams?  Resiliency. 

The 2009 Hawkeyes certainly have that.  Once again, after falling down by 10 points in a hostile road environment, they regrouped, made some halftime adjustments, and came out and dominated their way to victory.  These Hawkeyes now join the 1985 team as the most recent 7-0 starters.  That team fell the next well while ranked #1.   This team looks like it will keep climbing up the polls.

Not that it looked like we were going to have to come from behind.  Wegher bring the opening kick all the way to the Hawkeye 42, and then Stanzi hits (welcome back – to the starting lineup) DJK for 5, and then 11, and the Hawks are in business at the Badger 42.  Robinson gets stuffed for the 1st of our way-too-many tackles behind the line, but then on the 2nd and 13, he takes it 14 yards for the Iowa 1st down.

Stanzi rolls out to his right, but the pressure is there, so he forced to dump it off to Morse who gets dropped for 4-yard loss.  Adam gets 3 back, and then Stanzi is tackled after a one-yard scramble on 3rd.  The Hawks face a 4th and 11 from the Wisconsin 31.  This is a 48-yard field goal, which is one yard longer than Murray’s career long.  As he would show in the 4th, the yardage, no problem, but for reasons I don’t know, KOK and KF decide to go for it, and the 4th down pass is incomplete.  So much for the ‘score first on the road’ theory; though I think that will not happen again in either of our two remaining road games.

Badgers go to the run immediately.  And why not, as Clay carries 5 times for 25 yards to the Iowa 45.  But the Iowa defense stiffens, and on a 3rd and 9, Norm sends the house, and Angerer sacks Tolzein for and 8-yard loss, and the Badgers are forced to punt.

Hawks, with the ball at our 20, go 3 and out.  Donahue punts it back 50 yards with no return, Badgers get it back at their own 26 at 5:27 left in the 1st.

 Once again, a healthy does of Clay.  14 yards to the 40.  He gains 3 on a 3rd and 2 from the Badger 48, and the Badgers would not face another 3rd down until driving to our 18.  On that 3rd and 6, Klug rises up and knocks down the throw, then kicker Welch boots the 34 yard field goal.  Badger special teams holding their own for now – but their weakness would come back to bite them later on.

Hawks, once again, 3 and out, but this time Robinson drops the 3rd and 5 pass that would have netted the 1st, had he held on.  Too bad, as this was the change in possession that lead to the Wisconsin touchdown.

Donahue does his part, unleashing a 58-yard kick to the Badger 8.  But the Hawks are not able to apply the usual goal line pressure, and Tolzein competes first a 19-yard pass, and then a 21-yard strike, to the Badger 48.  Clay gets 3 yards, and then he takes it up the middle for 7.  But on the play, he gets stood up, and then bent back, and the injury looked far worse than it turned out to be. Following the injury timeout, he does get back to the sideline, and is moving around a bit.  At that point, he had 68 yards on 12 carries.

From there, back up RB Ball would gain 5 yards, but it was Tolzein’s passing that gets the ball to the Hawkeye 10.  A Badger wideout drops a wide-open pass on 1st down, but the Hawks can’t take advantage, and Ball gains the corner for the 10 yard score.  Hawks down 10-0, and after the 1st drive, we have not seen any life from the offense. 

Now the Badger special teams begin to let us back into it.  Welch’s kickoff only lands at our 20, and Robinson takes it back to our 35.  Wegher gains 5 on 2nd and 10, and then on 3rd down Stanzi finds DJK again, this time for 34 yard to the Badger 26.  Iowa offense - awake at last.  They get as far as the 27, but stall, and Murray is called on this time, and drills the 37-yard field goal.  Hawks on the board, so Hawkeye Nation is able to feel a bit better.

After the kickoff, the Badgers insert backup QB Phillips into the game.  Why, after Tolzein has just lead a td drive?  Clay is stopped for no gain on 1st, and Phillips runs twice, but is unable to get the last yard need, so the Badgers have gone 3 and out.  Hawks return the favor, and then the Badgers return it right back, and the half ends with one more Wegher carry. 

Not the best effort by either the Iowa defense or offense.  But, down only 7 points, and the Camp Randall faithful had to be somewhat unsettled during the break, knowing the Iowa coaching staff was making those halftime adjustments. 

Halftime stats: yards, them 172, us 79.  1st downs: them, 11, us 3.  Rushing yards, us, only 23, with about 5 plays where our tailbacks (usually Wegher) run smack into Badger defenders right after getting the ball.  Nowhere to go but up, really, and the Hawks take the field ready to see if that 2nd half magic will return for another week.

It does.  Clay, clearly not all the way back, gains 3, than 1 yard.  It should be noted, that besides his injury, the Iowa line was now finally getting in the backfield with some consistency.  But the defense can’t stop the 3rd and 6, and the pass gains 14 to our 49-yard line.

The Badgers try Clay again, but the Hawks know he is coming, and stuff him for a 2-yard loss.  On the 2nd and 12, Tolzein sees the Iowa linebacker covering his man in the left flat, and heaves the pass to the outside to avoid him.  Oops, Spievey is right there, and this time, he gets his hands all the way on it, and the Hawks have forced the 1st turnover of the day.  Hawkeye ball, at our 46.

1st down, Stanzi hits Moeaki (1st catch, where you been young man?) for 4 yards.  Not much, but glad to see him finally getting some action.  Robinson only gains 2 on 2nd down, but then Stanzi his Stross on the slant (nearly getting him decapitated with the high toss) and the offense has new life.  Stanzi gets 2 yards avoiding the Badger defense, then Robinson would gain 12 over 2 carries to set the Hawks up at the Badger 27.  Stanzi misses DJK, and them Adam gains 3, and the 3rd and 7 is set.  Stanzi feels the pressure and has to step up, but the Iowa O-line has given him the time he needs.  He airs it out for the back corner of the end zone, and there is Tony, making a diving catch, touchdown Iowa, and Camp Randall is stunned into silence and foreboding. 

10 all, and Badgers go 3 and out.  Momentum clearly has shifted.  Hawks get the ball back at our 20 after the punt, and now it’s time for Wegher to find some running room, 3 yards, then the corner turned, 16 more.  Hawks now at the 40, but Reiff commits false start, and Brandon can only gain 1 on the 2nd down.  On the 3rd down, Stanzi holds on to the ball too long, loses it, and there is #50 again, Badger ball at the Hawkeye 25.  Lady Mo’ has swung back.

But, Prater breaks up the 3rd down pass, and Welch comes on to try the 38-yard field goal.  Too bad for him, it’s not a 40-yard kick, as that would have had enough room to curve over the upright.  But it’s a 38-yard kick, and he misses it wide right.  Special teams advantage – Hawkeyes.

Now, good teams take mistakes like that and make them fatal, and the Badger defense was wearing down, thanks to all those 3 and outs by their offense.  Stanzi to DJK for 8, and then 11 more on the 3rd and 4, Hawks are at our 38 when the 3rd quarter comes to an end.  In the quarter, the Hawkeye defense has allowed the Badgers just 30 total yards.

The timeout does no good for the Badger defense; Stanzi hits Reisner for 21 to the Wisconsin 41, then DJK again, down the far sideline for 24 more.  From the 17, Robinson runs for 7 yards to the Badger 10, and on the 2nd down, takes it all the way in, breaking about two gassed Badger tackles as he hops into the end zone.  17-10 Hawkeyes, as ESPN panned the cameras around the Camp Randall crowd, you got the feeling they knew the end had come.

But, there were still 13 minutes and 15 seconds left.  No matter, Clay held to nothing on 1st and 2nd, and 3rd down pass comes up short, another 3 and out, and the Hawkeyes have the ball back at our 40 after the punt.

The Hawks go backwards on 1st and 2nd downs, and it brings up a 3rd and 13.  No problem, Stanzi somehow fits it into a double covered (in fact, interfered with) Moeaki, he makes the falling down grab regardless, Iowa 1st down at the Badger 36.  6 more to DJK, then incomplete on both 2nd and 3rd down, but – the Badgers are offside on the 3rd and 4, and the 5 yards gives us the ball their 25.  Dace then gives 5 back with false start, and then Wegher loses 7 on a sweep that goes in the wrong direction.  Stanzi gets 14 of those back by hitting DJK, but then on the 3rd and 8 from the Badger 23, Stanzi is sacked back to the 31.  From there, it’s a 48-yard field goal, and Murray puts it through with enough to spare from 55, which I trust the Iowa brain trust noted.

20-10 Hawkeyes, it’s all over but the shouting.  Badgers do manage to move the ball out to midfield, but then Tolzein does not count on Edds being able to run the 20-yard ‘in’ pattern with his wideout, and when the ball gets there, it’s AJ who looks like the receiver.  He does not drop it, Iowa pick #2 on the day. 

Hawkeye ball, at the Iowa 31.  Robinson, 13 yards, and then 15 more for the Badger personal foul on the play.  Adam now, over left tackle for 21 more to the Badger 20, but from there, we just go into clock killing mode, and the Badgers get the ball back at their 20 with 2:24 left.

1st down, Tolzein sacked by Clayborn and Daniels, and that can’t have felt good.  2nd, he gets 6 yards back, but then on 3rd, he finds Spievey again, and Amari is now back in the groove, Hawkeye pick #3. 

3 victory formation plays, and then the game is over.  Iowa retains the Heartland Trophy, to go with the CyHawk Trophy, while Floyd is resting comfortably in Iowa City.

You recall the 12 carries for 68 yards at the time of Clay’s injury.  For the game, he finished with 75 yards on 21 carries.  True, the Hawks only netted 65 ourselves (Robinson gained 91 on 20 carries, lots of negative plays), but we held the vaunted Badger rushing attack to 87 net. As expected, once the defense took away the ground game, the Wisconsin passing game was not able to pick up the slack.  Badger 1st half yards, 172. 2nd half yards – 58.

Stanzi, a much better 17-23 for 218, the one td, and no picks.  Yes, the fumble, but that will happen from time to time when you get drilled.  A well-managed game by Ricky, I think he may be getting it, and this could be the week that the Iowa offense finally puts it all together.

So it took 7-0, with two tough Big Ten road wins, to get the voters to notice.  The computers, on the other hand, are somewhat impartial, and according to them, it goes Florida – Alabama – Iowa.

Not that we want to get ahead of ourselves.  Another tough road game awaits.  Then 3 of the last 4 are at home, but we are now the hunted.  But we also find ourselves in a position that we could not have possibly imagined after 4 weeks of Big Ten football

About an hour after the Beer Song ended, the Buckeyes somehow found a way to lose to 1-5 Purdue.  Well, two Pryor picks and two Pryor fumbles, to be exact.  That’s two weeks in a row the Buckeye offense has been made to look terrible.  Anyway, that loss now means that everyone else in the Big Ten has a conference loss.

It’s a sports cliché, but it’s true. Our fate is in our hands alone.  The 7-0 1985 Iowa Hawkeyes went on to claim the outright Big Ten title.  This team could do that – and so much more.

This week, it’s just about Michigan State, and I have no doubt that KF is keeping the players focused on this game alone.  Once again, the offense has some things to work on.  The defense, now with the NCAA interception lead, will want to stay there.  And I am sure they would like to toss a shutout here or there.  Plenty to do in Iowa City, so the Hawks should be ready when they take the field in East Lansing.

Week 7: Michigan State

Yes, you are correct, the Hawks are playing in East Lansing for the 2nd time in two years.  That’s the Big Ten scheduling computer for you, the same one that has us starting on the road to open the conference 9 out of 11 years. 

The biggest question going into the weekend is ‘which Spartan team is going to show up?’  The team that started 1-3, or the current team that is 4-3?

The Spartans opened up with an easy victory over Montana State.  The next week, they entertained Central Michigan.  State was favored by 14, but the Chippewas got within 1 on a td pass with 32 seconds left.  They went for the win, but failed on the 2 point conversion.  But then they burned the Spartans with an onside kick (that everyone knew was coming), and got the ball far enough to try a 47 yard field goal.  It missed – but State was offsides on the play, and the Central kicker did not miss his 2nd chance, from 42 yards out.  Chippewas 29, Spartans 27. 

The next week, they fell to Notre Dame, as the Irish picked off the Spartans game winning pass attempt (at the ND 4) with just under a minute to go. Notre Dame 33, Michigan State 30.

They then opened the Big Ten in Camp Randall, and the Badgers converted 3 Spartan turnovers into touchdowns, to win it 38-30.  Several Spartan fans I know where stopped from jumping off the GWB.

State then rebounded to hold off Michigan in OT, and then beat a 1 win Illini team 24-14, and last week topped the (Northwestern) Wildcats by the same score.

So the script was flipped, where the Spartans are usually a fast starting team who fades down the stretch, they are now trying to stay on a roll after the dismal first month.

Here is noteworthy news – back to back weeks against traditional pro style offenses!  Ringer is gone, Hoyer is gone, the Spartans had to find some new offense when the season began.  Their top rusher, Caper, has rushed for 338 yards and 6 scores, but his primary backup Winston is out for the season with a knee injury.  The Hawkeye defense should be able to take away the Spartan rushing attack, let’s just hope it does not take a half to get started this week.

Spartans soph QB Cousins missed the Illinois game with an ankle injury, but he returned last week and played pretty well.  When he drops back to pass, the Hawks must identify senior wideout White, #24.  He leads the team with 45 catches for 635 and 6 tds, but he really blew up last week, grabbing 12 passes for 186 and 2 scores.  Then again – the Northwestern pass defense is rated #86 in pass efficiency, we are #5.  I would assume Spievey will be assigned with covering White, and Amari finally found his full game last week.  Beware Spartan QB.

Might this be the week the Hawkeye offense finally puts it all together?  The Iowa O-line still needs to show improvement, but they now have had 3 weeks with the 1st team on the field, so let’s hope they are looking more like their potential Saturday.  The Spartans have racked up 12 sacks in the last 3 games, but season to date they have only picked off 4 passes, which ranks them 10th in the conference.  If they are sending extra people, it will open up the Iowa downfield passing game, which should get a natural lift anyway with DJK back in the starting spot, and Tony causing havoc over the middle.

A more solid O-line will also help the young tailbacks, who will be looking for a breakout game after being mostly bottled up last week.  They have yet to fumble, which is really quite amazing for two kids who never played a snap before this season.  The Spartans do have a good run defense themselves, but with their #85 ranked pass defense, look for the Hawks to open up the running game with the vertical passing game.  As long as we don’t make the obvious mistakes, our offense should have the advantage all night.

Spartan linebacker Greg Jones is the Big Ten’s leading tackler, and his over 12 per game is good enough for #2 in the NCAA.  He will get his tackles – the Iowa offense must make sure it’s back there in linebacker territory, 5 to 7 yards downfield.  His presence should also have an effect on the other side of the ball – the Iowa linebackers will want to show him up with their complete coverage skills – Jones has zero career interceptions.

The special teams are pretty much a push, rankings wise.  The Spartans are 2nd in the Big Ten with the 10.5 yard punt return average, but Donahue has only given up 46 total return yards all year, so look for him to continue with the high kicks that have our coverage on the doorstep when the punts are caught.  Still waiting for the Hawkeyes to break a long punt return – on the road would be a good place to do it.

Just what are the Hawkeyes playing for?  No Iowa team has ever started 8-0 on the season.  Those early 1920’s Hawkeye teams that won 20 games in a row had 7 game seasons.  They ran the table in back to back years and tacked that onto a 6-0 start in the 3rd season.  So, this week is not just about this season, it’s about Iowa football history, and of course, the goals that lie ahead of us in the weeks to come.  The Hawkeyes have never won here with Kirk as the head man – it’s time. 

Some of the talking heads think this is a ‘trap game’ for the Hawkeyes.  Umm…we host Indiana and Northwestern the next two weeks.  Do they really think the Hawkeyes are really looking all the way out to Columbus?  No.  Iowa will be focused on this game only, and the Spartans are going to pay the price.

DJK is overdue for a td; he has not had one since Iowa State.  Tony will get one, Wegher will get an over the top touchdown, and I think Robinson will find the end zone as well.  In our 3 road starts, the Iowa defense is allowing 7.6 points per game.  All right, I think the Spartans can do a little better.  Hawks 31, Spartans 13.

Once again we are faced with killing time until the Hawkeyes kick off at 7:00.  You can watch ISU - Nebraska at noon (you would have to be in a bar for that one), and then Michigan – Penn State at 3:30 (on ABC).  Or, you could do something productive all day long.  Me, I’m going with football!

Enjoy the last day of your week Hawkeyes!  Hope to see you all on Saturday night!



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