November 21, 2009

TES - 2009 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 12


Iowa’s Record:  9-2, 5-2 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #15 (633 votes)
USA Today: #1 (584 votes)
ESPN Power Rankings: #13 (184 votes)
ESPNU Fan: #13
HARRIS: #14 (1176 votes)
BCS: #13 Avg .4529

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 WIN 15-13
October 31st Iowa v. Indiana Hoosiers WIN 42-24
November 7th Iowa v. Northwestern Wildcats Loss 17-10
November 14th Iowa @ Ohio State Buckeyes Loss 27-24 OT
November 21st Iowa v. Minnesota Golden Gophers 12:02 PM, ESPN

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


November 21st 2009: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Minnesota Golden Gophers 6-5, 3-4 Big Ten
Prior Games: 102, Gophers lead 59-41-2
Last Game: 2008, Iowa 55, Minnesota 0

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: +2
-.18, Big Ten #5, NCAA #57

Current Line: Iowa -10

Scoring Defense 16.91, Pass Def 165.7, Rush Def 128.7, Interceptions 19, Total Defense 294.5
Ranks
Big Ten                 #3                       #1                          #6                             #1 tie                    #3
NCAA                  #17                      #10                        #43                           #2 tie                    #11

Scoring Offense 24.1, Pass Offense 230.8, Rush Offense 114.5, Total Offense 345.3
Ranks
Big Ten                #8                             #6                                 #9                               #10
NCAA                  #84                           #48                               #98                             #87
Depth Chart for this week:
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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!

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Last Week: Ohio State

Another week of bitter disappointment for the Hawkeyes, and we in the Hawkeye Nation.  It was not so much the loss, it was the fact that if we had executed like we can, we would have won the game in regulation.  We gave it away, and it was a bit from every part of the team this week. 

I seem to recall typing ‘no missed field goals, and no dropped red zone passes’ in the notes last week, and you saw why.  7 points left off the scoreboard.  Now, it’s hard to say that if Stross had caught that pass, and Murray made that chip shot field goal, every other play would have happened as they did.  Then again, maybe they would have, and the game would have ended with Sash picking off a desperate Pryor heave to preserve the 31-24 Hawkeye victory.

The other thing that hurt us was the absence of Wegher.  Apparently he had a rib injury, gave it a try in warm ups, but never made it into the game.  Adam did as well as we could have hoped, for a kid that we didn’t hope to have back for this game.  But if Brandon had been in there, I think the one two punch of those guys would have been enough, not to mention Wegher’s ability to break long gains on screen passes, which could have opened up more of the offense in general.

And then there was the other kid, James Vandenberg.  So much more than we could have hoped, and it could have been even better without the 5 dropped passes, one of which lead to one of his 3 picks.  It was immediately evident that he has the touch to place the ball in that one spot where our receiver can catch it, but the defense can’t make a play on it.  We have seen the future, and it looks good. 

The game started out well enough – Hawks win the toss, but once again defer, and the Buckeyes agree to the 3 and out.  Sandeman (welcome back) fair catches the punt at the 25, and the James lead Hawkeye offense took the field.

Adam, first carry, 2-yard loss.  He and James actually bump into each other’s legs, so it was not the Buckeye defense that makes this play.  2nd and 12, Vandenberg rolls out to the right, and hits Stross for 5 on his first pass of the day.  3rd and 7, all eyes on the quarterback, and he finds DJK on a little slant and in route, 12 yards, 1st down Iowa.

Now he hits Reisner for 9 more, and in a sign he was watching and learning  (Northwestern) last week, bring the Hawks up to the line, quick snaps it, and surges forward for the 3 yard sneaking 1st down.  He has taken his first hit, is up, fine, and ready to go.  Adam loses 2, and then gains 2 back, to bring up a 3rd and 10.  He hits McNutt for 7, but the Hawkeye drive has stalled at the Buckeye 41.   Donahue boots it very high, so there is no return, and downed at the OSU 13.

Pryor rolls out to the left on 1st down, but the Iowa downfield coverage is excellent, so he is forced to throw it away.  Buckeye tailback Saine gains 4 yards, and it looks like the Hawks are again going to force a 3 and out.  But, Pryor breaks a tackle at the line, and picks up 7 yards, 1st down Buckeyes.  He then tries a pass to the right, but Prater is there to end the play after 2 yards.  On 2nd, Pryor fires over the middle, but Greenwood (welcome back) knows the pass is coming, and arrives at the ball just as it gets to the receiver, incomplete.  3rd and 8 now, Pryor scrambles out of trouble, though the Iowa defense contains his downfield options and he steps out 3 yards short, and the Buckeyes are now punting again.

This punt, not good, and Sandeman fair catches it at the Hawkeye 43.  We are in business; let’s see what the kid can do.

Adam for just 1 to start, then a screen to Robinson picks up 7 more, 3rd and 2 from the Buckeye 49.  He fires it for DJK, and the Buckeye corner gets there before the ball does, pass interference, 1st down Hawks at the OSU 34.  James goes back to Stross for 6, and then Adam finds a seam in the Buckeye line and darts 14 yards, to the Ohio State 14.  Here we are, red zone, we have got to stuff it in. 

Adam loses 1, and then picks up 6 on a pass from James into the right flat.  3rd and 5 from the Buckeye 9, Vandenberg is making his pre-snap reads when Vandervelde jumps, false start (his 1st one), 3rd and 10 now back at the 14.  KOK rolls James out to the left, and Stross is wide open as he heads to that corner of the end zone.  Vandenberg puts it where only Trey can grab it – yes, he has to go down to get it, but it hits him in the hands, and then falls to the turf.  Murray in, the 32 yard field goal is good, 3 zip Hawks, but it should have been 7 zip, 4 points off the board.

The Buckeyes hold on their kickoff return, and so begin the next drive from the 15.  Two runs, one gaining 5, the 2nd gaining 0, bring the 1st quarter to a close.  In it, the Iowa defense has only allowed one Ohio State 1st down. 

The 2nd quarter begins with the Buckeye 3rd and 5.  Pryor fires it over the middle, and Angerer is right there, but he is unable to stop it, 6 yards gained, 1st down.  Now the Buckeyes try a healthy does of tailback Herron.  He gains 6 yards, and then on 2nd down, gains 10 more – but the Hawkeyes should have had it stopped after about 4 yards, Herron drives the pile all the way out to the 41 yard line.  Four more runs get the Buckeyes to the Iowa 46, where OSU faces a 3rd and 8.  We need the stop, but the line is unable to get the heat on Pryor, and he completes a 15-yard strike to Posey for the 1st, at the Hawkeye 31.  Saine rushes for 4, but then the Buckeyes commit the false start, and it’s now 2nd and 11.  Back to back passes to Saine net 8, and then 7 yards, on both snaps, Pryor has all day back there to make his reads, the Iowa line is keeping him in the pocket, but they are not able to get back there to force his hand.  1st down Buckeyes, at the Iowa 17.

Finally, the defense makes the stand, and the Buckeye kicker knots it at 3 with the 30-yard field goal.  Buckeyes kick off, and DJK returns it to the 26.

KOK now calls the roll out to the right, and 1st down sees James finding a wide open Stross about 15 yards down field – the pass hit him in the chest, incomplete.  The 2nd down pass is tipped at the line, 3rd and 10.  James dumps it off to Morse for 6 and he gets drilled, but hangs onto the ball.  It turns out, had the young QB looked up, he had Moeaki wide open 20 yards down the left hash.  Opportunity missed, Hawks go 3 and out, and the punt is downed at the Buckeye 26, with no return.

OSU goes back to the run game, 5 straight carries get the ball out to midfield.  Here, it looks like the Hawkeye defense has stopped Saine for no gain, but the flag flies, and Clayborn is called for a bogus horse collar tackle.  In the replay, it clearly shows he has only a handful of jersey, not pads, and it is sad day for football when you are no longer allowed to bring a man down by his jersey. 

Buckeyes now at the Iowa 34, Pryor, no pressure up front, pass for 12 to Small at the Hawkeye 22.  OSU hands it off to Saine again, and the Iowa defense whiffs on at least two tackles as he weaves his way all the way to the end zone.  Hawks trail, 10-3.  Iowa defense has looked a bit out of gas on both of these drives, the last 3 and out by the offense was not what we needed.

DJK now, this return brings the ball out to the 35.  Adam for 5, then another pass to Morse nets 4, and James again executes the quick snap sneak for 2, and a Hawkeye 1st down.  He drops back and fires for Moeaki, but the double coverage is there, and he is unable to haul it in as he goes down.  2nd down, Vandenberg goes back to Tony – this pass is a bit high, but Moeaki is able to get his hands on it – but not around it.  It’s tipped, then picked, and the Buckeyes are content to kill the clock on the 1st half with the 10-3 lead.

The most alarming stat at halftime was 105 rushing yards for Ohio State – we are doing the job on Pryor, he just 54 yards in the first 30 minutes, but the Buckeye tailbacks are gaining more ground than we would like.  As a result, the time of possession favored them by about 7 minutes.  Still, we are just down one score, and we have made plenty of 2nd half comebacks, so there is no panic yet.

All right, we have the ball to start the 2nd; the kickoff is a touchback, so we begin at the 20.  How bout some running.  Adam, for 9 yards.  Adam again, 9 yards, 1st down at the 38.  Buckeye defense hedges, and the play action leaves DJK open down the middle…James heaves it downfield and it’s caught!  But he can’t get away from the safety, and is taken down at the 7, 1st down Hawkeyes, here we go, 2nd half comeback, right out of the gate.

Adam gains 3 yards, to the 4.  Hawks then waste too much time in the pre snap adjustments, and are forced to call a time out.  Adam again, but he is stuffed for a 1 yard loss.  3rd and goal from the 5, and James dumps it off to the underneath safety valve – it’s Stross.  1st, he is not in the end zone, and 2nd, he drops another pass that hits him squarely in the hands.  4th down, but least we will be within 4 after the 22-yard field goal.

Oh god no. The kick is from the right hash, and Murray does not apply any drift or hook to it, and the chip shot misses, barely, wide right.  3 more points are somewhere out there, but not on the scoreboard.  Hawks are making mistakes that they cannot make if they hope to win the game.

Buckeyes go 3 and out, thank you, but only because Saine fumbles it on the 3rd and 1 rush, and when the Buckeyes get it back, the ball is back behind the 1st down line.  Fine, but our best chance at a turnover yet, and are unable to take it.

Hawks have it at our 33.  Adam for 5, then a pass to Moeaki gets 4, 3rd and 1.  Another sneak is likely coming, but nope, false start pushes us back to the 3rd and 6.  James wants DJK, but the pressure is there, and he is forced to throw it away.  Good decision, no need to force it.

Donahue kicks it to Small, and it seems like he might have some space, but the Hawks get him after a 9 yard return.  Buckeye ball, at the 30. 

OSU runs Herron for 4 yards, and then 4 more, and they face a 3rd and 2.  Pryor drops back, but this time, the pressure breaks through, and Clayborn drills him for the 13-yard sack.  Punt time, but this one is not that good, and we have the ball back at our 44 after the fair catch.

We have field position; can we do something with it?  Yes.  DJK snags a pass for 4, and then Adam runs it for 6, and a 1st down.  Now Vandenberg drops back, the line gives him the time, and he finds McNutt alone down the hash, hits him, 33 yards to the Buckeye 13.

NO FIELD GOALS!!!

Adam for 4 yards, then James fires for Moeaki, but he is smothered, 3rd and 6 from the Buckeye 9.  As mentioned last week, the slant was one of James’s best weapons in high school.  And he shows why.  McNutt seems to have single coverage on the snap, but then the safety moves over, and when he throws it, Vandenberg has a window that is about double the size of a football – not a problem, it splits the two defenders, and hits Marvin square in the stomach – he does not drop it, touchdown, 10-10.  Euphoria everywhere in Hawkeye Nation, now what we need is a defensive stop.

Buckeyes begin at their 21.  A Pryor pass gains 7, and then the Wildcat formation runs for 4 and a 1st down.  Three more yards on the ground, then Pryor hits his tight end underneath, and that nets 17 yards to our 48.  Pryor than breaks two sure fire sack tackles, and gets two yards.  Heron rushes for 4 more, and the Iowa defense is faced with a chance to end it with the 3rd and 4.  Here, the pressure is immediate, but Clayborn arrives a fraction of a second too late – Pryor gets the ball off, and gains 12 yards to the Hawkeye 30, and a 1st down.  So ends the 3rd quarter, the Iowa defense needs this break to regain their strength, and shut the door in the 4th quarter.

It looks good at the start.  They stuff the wildcat for a 3 yard loss, and then make the stop after a completed Pryor pass for only 3 yards.  3rd and 10, we just need to make this play, and we will be all right.  Nope, it’s a QB draw all the way, and the middle is vacated, 19 yards to our 11.  Now Herron is back in and the wildcat is the formation – we knew the run was coming, but somehow we cannot keep the corner contained, and he gets there for the 11 yard score, Buckeyes now up 17-10, and that was a bit too easy for our liking.

This kickoff is a touchback so the Hawkeyes begin from our 20.  James hits McNutt for 5, and then Adam explodes through the hole for 24 yards, we are at midfield.  The Buckeyes blitz and Vandenberg gets it off to Marvin, but he had to elevate the pass to get it over the blitzer, and it’s too high to be grabbed.  2nd and 10, oh no, Vandervelde commits another false start, 2nd and 15.  James fires for Sandeman, but the pass is low, and it brings up the 3rd and long. 

Here the young QB showed his age.  He never came off his look to the right, and the Buckeyes were able to sit there in coverage.  The pass is a rocket, but Ohio State grabs it and returns the interception to the Hawkeye 35, but a block in the back penalty pushes the ball back to the 49.  Hawkeye defense, get it back for us.

Well, they did, but not in the way we all were hoping.  That Iowa drive had only chewed up 91 seconds of game time, so I think the defense was probably not ready when they had to take the field.  It showed, it was a simple off tackle run to the left, but when Saine got past the line of scrimmage, there was no one there.  Gone, 49-yard td run, Hawks now in serious trouble at 24-10 with 11:32 left. 

Maybe the special teams can do something.  It does not look good at the start, as DJK drops the kickoff at the 1-yard line.  He picks it up and heads up field, where as he crosses the 15, he sees daylight to the near sideline.  A Buckeye dives at him as he makes the cut, but DJK regains his balance, and is now across the 30!  Soon the kicker looms in his way, but Darrell simply shifts to the inside, and he is now at the 50!  And – he has a posse of Hawkeye blockers behind him!  He is gone!!!  99 yards, and the Hawks have taken about16 seconds to respond.  The extra point is good, 24-17, as the camera pans around the Horseshoe, there are very worried looks on the Buckeye faces.  Here we come.

No, the Hawkeyes shoot themselves in the foot, again.  Twice.  Murray kicks the ball out of bounds, which takes it to the 40, and when the play is over, Ballard gets flagged for a personal foul, though I was never able to see what it was on the replay.  So the Buckeye drive begins at our 45.

Six Herron runs get the ball to the Iowa 30, but the Hawkeye defense finally makes the 3rd down stop there.  The Buckeye kicker comes in, and bends it like Beckham (the 26 old kicker was drafted by the MLS out of high school, which is how he is a 26 year old back up junior kicker), he hooks it badly, no good, Hawkeyes still within 7 points.

Here we go.  Hawkeye ball, at our 30.  Adam, nope, 2 yard loss.  James now screens it to Moeaki, and he gets 8 to bring up the 3rd and 4.  At the snap, it was obvious the Buckeye left end was in the neutral zone, so when the Vandenberg dump off pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, I was not worried.  Yup, offsides, free 1st down, thank you Buckeyes!

This play seems to have given the Hawkeyes a spark.  James hits Sandeman for 13 and another 1st down.  Now, he throws it for Moeaki, but it’s into double coverage, and the Buckeyes are going to pick it off…but wait, it pops up, and there is Tony leaping up to snag it!  16 yards, 1st down at the Buckeye 30! 

Adam runs for 3, then KOK calls for the slant to McNutt, why not, it works for 14 more to the Buckeye 13.  Now Adam runs it to the 10, and we face a 2nd and 7.  This time, McNutt really does have single coverage on the outside, and the young QB realized the height advantage our 6’4” wideout had over the cornerback.  The coverage is there, but the defender never looks back to see the ball cross over his head, Marvin leaps, and cradles it into his arms as he is pushed to the turf.  Touchdown Iowa!  All tied up at 24, and this time, the camera catches the Buckeye fans in a state of total disbelief and despair.  Meanwhile, at Opal, screaming, yelling, elation, our young team has once again, found a way all the way back.  Now, we just have to finish it.  2:42 left to go.

The Buckeyes move from the 18 to their 31, but the Hawkeye defense kills the drive, and we get the ball back, at our 33, with 52 seconds left.  We had used one timeout to keep the clock from moving on that Buckeye drive, so we had one left.

Well, this is what has the Iowa message boards on fire at the moment. Adam gets nothing on 1st down, and then the Hawks just let the clock wind down to bring on the overtime.  In hindsight, I think this was a good decision by Ferentz.  We are 4-1 in overtime games under him.  With the young QB, there was the risk of a forced play; he did not want to take that chance.  And as we would see in the overtime, that young QB would make a critical mistake.  Kirk did not want the game to end in regulation that way.  Had we had 90 seconds, or two minutes to run the two-minute offense, maybe.  We just had to make the plays after the timeout and overtime coin toss.

This was hard to watch.  1st down, James rolls out to the sideline, but the coverage is good, so he throws it away.  2nd down now, they try a sweep over the right side, but the Buckeyes are not fooled, and in the backfield as Adam gets the ball.  He is dropped for a 6-yard loss, which brings up a 3rd and 16 from the 31. 

At this point, it would be a 48-yard field goal.  That is Murray’s career long.  To take any kind of loss on this 3rd down would be critical – and the pressure comes quickly on the snap.  Vandenberg had an opportunity to get it off, but he can’t.  Sack, 10 yards, 4th and 26, we have no choice but to go for it, needing to get to the 15 for a 1st down.

As the Buckeyes had so many people in the end zone (where it was picked off), I would have liked to see something underneath, giving our receiver a chance to run for the yards needed.  True, you don’t convert many 4th and 26s with the game on the line.  Unless it’s November 14th, 1987.  And that was just a 4th and 23.

So, the Buckeyes didn’t have to do anything in their overtime possession – 3 runs net 3 yards, and on the 4th down, their kicker clears the crossbar – but not by much  - for the game winning 39 yard field goal.

As high as we were in the final 10 minutes of regulation, that was serious punch to the gut, and a brutal way to lose a Rose Bowl bid.  The Hawks gave it all they had, but too many mistakes doomed them, and that was a shame, because it ruined a great debut by our back up quarterback.

On the day, he was 20-33 for 233 yards, with the 2 tds to McNutt.  Yes, 3 picks, but only one was a bad throw by James.  He showed poise in the pocket, smart decision making when the plays broke down, and a deft touch when needed, and a bazooka when he had to fire the ball into tight places.  We scored 17 points on the Buckeye defense, and had I known we would toss in a kickoff return touchdown, I would have been sure that would have been enough.

It was not, of course, as the defense had a rather off day.  True, Pryor only passed for 93 total yards, but he was 14-17 with no turnovers.  We really were not close to picking any passes off, which had a lot to do with the pressure we were not getting from the guys up front.  Then there was the 229 yards rushing, at an average of 4.5 a touch.  Many of those yards came when we knew a rush was coming, yet still could not stuff it for nothing.  And, all three Buckeye touchdowns were running tds. The first two, we should have been able to stop.

Adam gained 74 yards on 20 carries.  He had several carries for no gain or losses, so while that was not a spectacular effort, I think it still pretty good, as we were not really expecting him back until the bowl game. 

And then there was Stross, a senior from Avon Lake, Ohio.  One sure touchdown drop, one potential touchdown drop at the 1 yard line, one drop on a 15 yard 1st down gain on a drive that went 3 and out.  I know he feels terrible, and I don’t need to pile on any more.  I hope he comes out and has a stellar day against the Gophers.

So there goes the Big Ten title, outright, though if the Wolverines are somehow able to beat Ohio State Saturday, we could still share it, at 6-2 after we beat the Rodents.  There is also the potential for Penn State and Wisconsin to finish 6-2.  The Lions are at the Spartans, and the Badgers have to travel to Northwestern Saturday.  Guess whom we are going for…

Despite the back-to-back losses, we are still very much in the mix for a BCS game.  Our current BCS ranking of #13 is inside the top 14, which is where you have to be to be considered for an at large BCS bid, Ohio State gets the automatic one.  Fiesta and Orange are the two most likely possibilities, though there is still a lot of football left, so we won’t know anything for sure until early December.  But, a win Saturday will have us playing in the New Year, that is certain.

Week 12: Minnesota

So all that stands between the Hawkeyes and that New Year’s bowl date is a visit from the Golden Rodents of the North, Minnesota. 

Who, in recent years, made a habit of starting very strong, only to collapse down the stretch.  This year, they will be finishing .500, though it has been a more up and down kind of season in 2009.  One thing is consistent – they have lost 8 straight November Big Ten games.  Yeah, they won last week – barely.  Against South Dakota State.

Their up moments have been Big Ten wins against Northwestern, Purdue, and Michigan State.  Big Ten losses have come against Illinois (two weeks ago, it was November), Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State.  The Buckeye loss was in Columbus, 38-7.  The Lion loss was in Happy Valley, 20-0.  Both teams were ranked at the time, which figures, as the Rodents have lost 13 straight games against ranked teams.  Trouble scoring against ranked teams on the road.  Welcome to Kinnick, Minnesota.

The main issue up there has been a change in offensive systems before the season.  You recall 2008, when we shut out their anemic spread option offense; I guess after that loss they decided a more Iowa like pro-style offense was for them.  Trouble is, they don’t really have the players yet to run it.

QB Weber is still there, but he was not a classic drop back kind of quarterback.  In fact, the new offensive coordinator has been working with Weber to change his throwing motion – which I think at the age of 22 might be difficult.  As a result, against good defenses, the Rodent passing game has been downright ugly.

One of their biggest problems was the mid-season loss of All American caliber wideout Decker, to a foot injury, three weeks ago.  Although, they did have him for the combined 7 points scored against the Lions and Buckeyes, so he was not exactly terrorizing the good defenses.

Part of the switch was to bring back the power running game they enjoyed during the Maroney/Barber years.  Well, season to date, their top two tailbacks have 371 and 287 yards.  A long, long way to go to get back there.  Of course, those teams could not really throw the ball, so we beat them with ease as well (7 out of 8, to be exact).

The Rodent O-line is also having big trouble protecting Weber.  They have given up 34 sacks so far, so when the Hawkeyes shut down their Big Ten dead last rushing attack (102 yards a game) the boys up front will be able to tee off on the Rodent QB. 

On the flip side, the Rodents give up 155 yards a game on the ground.  Adam seemed fine after the Buckeye game, and Wegher is on two deep and expected to play.  The Iowa O-line actually had a very good week in pass blocking last week, and were able to generate some good size holes in the very fast Buckeye defense.  Look for the Iowa running game to shine on Saturday.

Which can only help our young QB, and we can expect Vandenberg to make more progress in his 2nd start.  The Rodents give up almost 27 points per game (compared to our 16), and they have allowed over 30 points five times this season.  The scoring could come early, and often, if the Hawkeye offense executes the game plan correctly.

They do actually have a good punter.  So that is a push.  Kicking however, no.  The Rodents rank last in the Big Ten in kickoff coverage.  DJK has been getting better every week, and exploded last Saturday.  Back to back weeks?  Good chance.

And let’s not forget that it is Senior Day in Iowa City.  I think we all remember the last season ending Senior Day in Kinnick – 2007.  I know the coaches remember it, and I am sure the players are going to come out ready to kick some major ass on Saturday. 

Last but not least, there is the matter of the bronze pig.  Some years back I had chance to meet Floyd in the Iowa trophy room.  He expressed his desire to never have to spend a season at an outdoor Rodent football stadium.  Well, that stadium now exists.  The new Kinnick North.  He won’t be going there until he sits behind our sideline at the end of the 2010 season.

All right my Hawkeye friends, 12 weeks have come and gone just like that.  Then we will have to wait about half a seasons worth for our bowl game.  In other years, we had basketball to help kill that time.  Well, we got basketball, but it is kind of hard to watch at the moment.  Bring on wrestling!!!

12:00 noon one last time, let’s see if we can get everyone there for KICKOFF this week!    Take it easy on Friday night!  Enjoy the last day of your workweek; I will see you all on Saturday!

GO HAWKS!!!

Sedge

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