November 7, 2009

TES - 2009 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 10

Iowa’s Record:  9-0, 5-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #8 (1127 votes)
USA Today: #6 (1161 votes)
ESPN Power Rankings: #7 (290 votes)
ESPNU Fan: #4
HARRIS: #7 (2209 votes, 2 #1 votes)
BCS: #4 Avg .8407  #2 Computer Average

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 12:05 PM, ESPN
November 14th Iowa @ Ohio State Buckeyes 3:35 PM ABC/ESPN
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

November 7th 2009: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Northwestern Wildcats, 5-4, 2-3, Big Ten
Prior Games: 70, Iowa leads 46-21-3
Last Game: 2008, Northwestern 22, Iowa 17

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: +8
+.89, Big Ten #2, NCAA #14

Current Line: Iowa -16.5

Scoring Defense 15.78, Pass Def 180.1, Rush Def 117.4, Interceptions 18, Total Defense 297.5
Big Ten                 #3                       #3                          #5                             #1                    #3
NCAA                  #13                      #26                        #39                           #1                    #19

Scoring Offense 25.6, Pass Offense 232.2, Rush Offense 125.2, Total Offense 357.4
Big Ten                #6                             #5                                 #8                               #9
NCAA                  #74                           #45                               #89                             #74
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: Indiana

Before I get into what happened on Saturday, I was sad to learn that morning that Hawkeye Nation had lost one of our true legends. 

Forest Evashevski, who coached the Hawkeyes from 1952 through 1960, and then was our AD until 1970, has lost his battle with liver cancer at the age of 91.  Born in 1918, he was alive for the early 20’s glory years, the wandering in the wildness that followed that, then the resurgence under Kinnick, and finally, was the coach of the Hawkeyes after we hit bottom again following Nile’s departure.  We would return to those depths after Evy left the sideline, only to emerge when some guy named Hayden made his way to Iowa City from Texas.

Forest was the 1st, and still only, Iowa coach to lead the Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl victory, which he did twice, following the 1956 and 1958 seasons.  His final 5 teams won 37 games, with 8 loses, and 2 ties, and won 2 outright and one shared Big Ten titles.

Forest left the sideline at the age of 42, and his tenure as AD was not a smooth one, he was in fact let go of that position in 1970.  But he put Iowa football back on the map, and those wins and titles will always belong to us, and to Hawkeyes who come after.  I think you would be happy Forest with the 2009 Iowa team; they are doing their best to put a Rose Bowl trophy in the case next to yours. 

I don’t know if the team knew of Evy’s passing when they took the field Saturday, but they will this week, and I hope that helps to inspire them to get this done, and not share that damn title with anybody else (yes, I still want the 10 game Big Ten season).

And let’s also hope that the Hawkeyes make things a bit less interesting over these final 3 weeks.

I guess we knew something was amiss on Halloween, as the Hawks won the toss, and deferred.  Yup, it was one of those windy days in Kinnick, but we play in lots of windy games in the Big Ten, and always take the ball first.  Seems KF was thinking of the 4th – he does earn his rather big paycheck.

Though apparently the Iowa defense is so used to starting on the sideline, they came out still napping, and the Hoosiers knock off 6.25 yards a snap on their 11 play, 5 minute drive.  The Hawks had a chance to kill that drive back in long field goal range, but allowed Chappell to scramble 8 yards on a 3rd and 7.  4 plays later, we trail 7-0.

All right, we trail again, no bid deal.  Wegher gains 25 yards and Stanzi scrambles for 13 on a 9 play drive that gets us to the Hoosier 27, but Murray misses the 44 yard field goal by about 20 yards.   Iowa special teams, also not fully awake with the 11:05 am central kickoff.

The Hoosiers gain one 1st down, but are stopped at their 46, and the Hawks begin possession #2 from our 22.  From here, an Indiana pass interference penalty gains us a 1st down on our 30, but a sack and missed pass to McNutt bring up a 3rd and 14.  Stanzi goes for Moeaki down the hash, but overshoots him, and the Hoosiers have their 1st pick, at their 41.

From there, IU goes 3 and out, and the Hawks have the ball back as the 2nd quarter begins.  This drive highlighted by a dump off to Paki on a 3rd and 13 that nets 14 yards, with O’Meara running over a Hoosier d-back as the play ends.  But the Hawks get only to our 46, and Donahue hits the end zone (barely, we had a chance to catch it at the 1), Indiana ball.

But they go 3 and out again, and with the wind, boot it 51 yards to our 26.  Two Wegher runs net a minus 5, and then Morse can only gain 6 on the 3rd and 15, Kinnick and the bar are grumbling at the play calling.  Oh well, Donahue ready to push them back.

Not quite – the wind might have played with his drop, and the ensuing shank goes all of 8 yards, out of bounds at our 35.  Special teams needing a venti quad shot of something.

It takes the Hoosiers 3 plays to get to our 16, but from there, the Iowa defense forces a 3rd and 12.  But the pass beats both Prater and Edds in the back corner of the end zone, and the Hawks now trail 14-0, our biggest deficit of the season.

DJK returns the kickoff to the 40, but a hold pushes the possession back to the 15.  Stanzi comes out throwing, and hits McNutt for a 32-yard catch and run.  Now Brandon for 8 more, then a 4 yard run by him nets a 1st at the Hoosier 41.  Ricky sees something he likes at the snap, namely single coverage on DJK, he goes over the top, and this time they connect, Hawks now 1st and goal at the 4.  Wegher knows what to do, touchdown, and we climb back to 14-7,

Now things start to get really interesting.  Indiana is about to go 3 and out – the 3rd and 1 rush is marked a tad bit short; the Hoosiers challenge, and the call is held up.  After watching it several times, I think the booth got it right, as the ball carrier went down, the ball was under his chest – he extended his arms over the 1st down line after he was already on the ground.

Hoosiers line up to do the fake 4th and 1 snap, but Ballard bites on the hard count, and the offsides gives them a 1st down at their 41.  A mental error of the 1st degree, KF not happy on the sideline – they never do show Norm (up in the booth) on the play. 

Yet, after 3 more snaps, the Hawks hold, and force the Hoosier punt.  Spievey is back there, the ball lands short of him, is bouncing toward the end zone, he just has to avoid it for the touchback.  But no, he actually has to jump up at the 5 to catch it (it would have landed in the end zone after that bounce), and he gets swarmed as he tries to cut across the field.  He loses it, and the Hawks have committed another terrible mistake, Indiana now has the ball at our 12 with about 30 seconds left.

On the 2nd and 7, Chappell looks like he has completed a td pass to the back of the end zone – the play is reviewed (the receiver did get a foot in), and it is determined that as he shifted the ball into his arms, that was a bobble, and no td.  Indiana bench is livid, but then on the 3rd down, the Hawks blitz, leaving single coverage on the outside.  Castillo lets the wideout get inside position, touchdown, Hawks now down 14 again, 21-7.  A Hawkeye kneel down ends the half, and those halftime adjustments are needed as soon as they get to the locker room.

Halftime stats are pretty even, yards for Iowa 154, Indiana 150, but the difference is the two turnovers, and the 7 points gained by the Hoosiers after the fumble. 

Sedge downs an Opal Angus burger during halftime, it has me feeling better, expecting the Hawks to come out in the 3rd and make things interesting.  Yeah.  It was, albeit not quite what I had in mind.

Ball 1st, that’s good, but we are going into the wind.  That does not seem to be a problem, as Ricky hits McNutt for 22, then Tony for 4, and then Stross for 13.  We are in business at the 45.  Stanzi has DJK all alone down field – 5 more yards of air is a walk in touchdown for him – but the pass comes up short in the wind.  The Hoosier secondary makes the adjustment, and there is pick number #2 at the Indiana 5.  They would get out to their 42, but punt from there, with the wind, the Hawks end up with the ball at our 10.

Wegher for 2, then Stanzi misses Reisner, and it brings up 3rd and 8.  He has McNutt open, but this time overshoots him, and it’s another easy snag for the Indiana defense.  It’s returned to the Hawkeye 4 yard line, and the stadium and bar sit in stunned silence.  A td here could very well end it.

Hoosiers gain 2 yards on 1st down, and then try a fade to the right side but it misses.  3rd and goal from our 2, the Hawks guess correctly that Indiana is going to pass, and they have about 4 guys back there in Chappell’s face as he releases the ball.

One-two-three-four tips, it’s a pinball in there, but wait – Sash is sprinting downfield!  He has it!  A blockade of Hawkeyes behind him, but he does not need them, he zips it home from 86 yards and the Hawkeyes finally have a pick-6, though not quite the way we thought it was going to come.  No matter, Opal, Kinnick, Hawkeyes everywhere are rocking, 21-14, hello Hoosiers, here we come!

Well, not yet.  Hoosiers return the kickoff to their 38, then gain 2 yards on 1st down.  Chappell goes over the top, and the 45-yard pass beats Prater, Indiana in business on our 15.  A 4-yard run on 2nd bring up a 3rd and 6.  IU tries the left side this time, and Amari just misses the pass by a whisker, but the Hoosier wideout is falling down right on the line as he makes the catch.  The side judge rules it a td, but the play goes upstairs.  This takes a few minutes, and they keep showing Ferentz with that dumb white water tower behind him. 

Finally done, and Indiana does not like it – out of bounds. It was very hard to tell, after watching it about a dozen times on the dvr.  Probably not enough to overturn the called touchdown, but they do.  Hoosiers, angry and flustered, then miss the 28-yard field goal wide right.  Hawks escape, but not for long.

Iowa ball at the 20, Stanzi is sacked for 3 yards, and then runs for 2.  3rd and 9, he aims for Davis on the crossing route, but Keenan bumps into the umpire, and that seems to throw him off enough – he is not there when the ball arrives, and yes, it’s hard to believe, but the Hoosiers have picked Stanzi again.  IU ball at our 24.

They lose 6 yards on two rushes, and then gain 11 on the 3rd and 16.  The kicker does not miss this one, Hawks now down 10, 24-14.

IU kickoff is a touchback.  Hawks soon face a 3rd and 10, but Stanzi hits McNutt for 10, and the refs tack on 15 more for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the tackle.  Now, Wegher for 15 – 1st down Hawkeyes at the Hoosier 40.  Ricky wants DJK deep again, but oh God no, it hangs up again, 3rd quarter interception #4, the Hoosiers (who snagged it at their 7), bring it all the way out to their 46.  Bar, stadium, Hawkeye Nation, stunned, during the time out, the calls for another QB gain traction as the 2 minutes tick by.  Hoosiers hold on 1st down, then gain 2 yards on the new 1st, and the 3rd quarter mercifully comes to an end with them facing a 2nd and 17 from their 39.

During this longer break, there is a lot of talk in the bar about benching Stanzi, but I am not a part of it, as none of the younger guys have had any meaningful snaps, and we are trailing.  Ricky has shown his ability to overcome these mistakes, and the Hawks are still just down 10 points.  The 4th quarter has been ours all year; we just have to do it again.

Still, as with bowling, when you have some bad frames, you draw the fence on the scorecard to stop the streak.  So, here we go:
4th quarter now, Indiana holds again, and must punt  - Hawks get the ball back at our 8. 

All right.  KOK does the smart thing and rolls Ricky out to the right – from there, he can make those easy short passes, or run for it.  But as he rolls, he sees that Marvin has come from the left side of the field – through the nether land tween the linebackers and safeties – and is open.  Stanzi hits him in stride, and as McNutt turns for the corner, a Hoosier dives at him and touches him – but – he is still on his feet!  There is no one back there!  40-50-40-20-10 touchdown Iowa!!!  92 yards!  24-21, 13 minutes to go, you are not getting out of here without a fight Hoosiers!

Iowa defense, now fully awakened, as the Hoosiers try to go up top, but Spievey is there to kill it.  Once again, Prater almost picks off the 3rd down throw, and IU has gone 3 and out again. The punt, into the wind, goes 27 yards to our 34. 

DJK is on the left of the formation on the 1st down snap – the line provides time, but as the pressure builds, Stanzi steps up.  DJK has also lost contact with all Hoosier defenders as he crosses the field, and Ricky finds him.  It looks like he will be tackled at about the 25, but no – he jukes the Indiana safety out of his jock strap and goes all the way for the 66 yard touchdown!  Once again, Opal erupts into a frenzy, Hawks now lead 28-24, Hoosiers must now face the wrath of an Iowa defense that knows what is coming.

A 2-yard loss on 1st down, then Prater breaks up the 2nd down pass, he almost has it again.  3rd and 12, Chappell now overshoots his wideout – and this time, Shaun does not miss.  Interception, Hawks have the ball at the Hoosier 45 after a blocking penalty on Prater’s return.

Stanzi now, en fuego, Moeaki for 19 yards to the IU 26.  How bout a healthy does of Wegher – Brandon, 4 carries, 8, then 4, 4, and 4 yards, now 3rd and 2 at the 6.  Once more, with feeling, Wegher takes it in for his 2d td of the day, Iowa up 35-24.

Hoosier offense, now reeling, they go 3 and out, but it takes 5 snaps to get there – holding on 1st down and a false start on the 2nd snap brings up a 1st and 25, from there they get 19 yards back, but must punt.  Hawkeye ball at our 34 with 7:34 to go.

How about some more running!  This is the Wegher/Stanzi show, as Ricky tosses in 2 scrambles totaling 18 yards on the drive.  Indiana calls timeout with 1:19 left with the Hawks facing a 3rd and 2 from the IU 27.  Wegher gets through the line and there is no one there to meet him, touchdown Iowa, 42-24, ok, so I thought he would have a 30+ yard td, I was off by 3 yards.  I’ll do better this week.

Just for good measure, Edds picks off the ensuing Hoosier 2nd down pass, and the Hawks once again victory formation the end of the game. 

Stats of the week – Wegher, 25 for a buck eighteen and 3 tds – that’s a better than decent 4.72 per touch on his 1st start.  And – Stanzi.  That’s right, the 337 yards (umm…to our guys), and a new career high.  And his legend continues to grow with another amazing 4th quarter – 3 for 3, for 177 yards.  And no interceptions!

No sooner do the Hawkeyes go 9-0 and push the nation’s 2nd longest winning streak to 13 games, when most of the national talking heads start bashing us for being lucky, over rated, boring, etc.  True, the Big Ten Network guys are not among them, and on ESPN Mark May is in our camp, and we found out Monday that even The Bachelor is now on our bandwagon. 

The win drops the Hawks one in the AP poll, but up two in the coaches’ poll, and they slip one spot on the composite computer rankings, to 2nd.  That all adds up to holding steady at #4 in the BCS.  But there is not a lot of difference between #4 and #7, so while Ferentz won’t do any politicking, the Iowa Sports Information Staff will:

All that really matters, of course, is that the Hawkeyes continue to hold serve, win, and all those other things will take care of themselves.  Still, keep hoping the Gators, Tide, and Longhorns go down this weekend!

Week 10: Northwestern

While the Hawkeyes came out flat last week, they have absolutely no business doing so this week.  Nope, two straight losses to the Wildcats – in Kinnick, no less – should have the players focused on this game alone, and not looking ahead to the looming showdown next Saturday.

Well, it’s not so much that they beat us last year (that Big Ten computer again, back to back home games for us), it was the 5 Iowa turnovers, and our failure to get the go ahead td when we had a 1st and goal from the 8 with a minute left.  That was one of those 4 losses by 12 points – the kind of games the Hawkeyes are winning this year.  That’s also the game where Shonn was knocked out early in the 4th – on a totally missed helmet-to-helmet hit.  Without actual headhunting – I want to see some Bob Sanders like hits this week.

The Cats have been up and down all season.  They opened with wins over Towson (find it) then Eastern Michigan (by a field goal at the end).  Then they traveled to Syracuse, where they fell 37-34, to a Duke point guard, and a last second field goal for the Orange.

They then fell to the Gophers to open the Big Ten, then held off a last second td to beat Purdue 27-21.  A more comfortable victory followed over Miami (Ohio), but then the Cats lost at East Lansing, 24-14.  Two weeks ago, the rally to knock off the Hoosiers, but last week they allowed a 13 all tie to develop into a 34-13 loss to Penn State – in Evanston.

The Lions broke that game open when Wildcat senior QB Kafka went out in the 3rd with a hamstring injury.  He is an effective dual threat weapon, leading the Cats to #2 in the conference in passing offense, and he had 42 yards on 8 carries before going out last week.  But – while it seems he is going to play, that running could be somewhat curtailed if that muscle tightens up under the threat of the Iowa defense.

Even with the running QB, Northwestern is ranked 10th, and 94th nationally, in rushing offense.  If the Hawkeye defense knows the pass is coming – well, our pass efficiency defense still leads the league, and is 3rd in the NCAA.  The Cats are -1 on the turnover difference so far, and I trust that Stanzi is not going to have another game like the last one for some time. 

I don’t think the Iowa offense is going to take so long to wake up Saturday.  It’s supposed to be 60 something in Iowa City, so the wind should not be a factor, and with Wegher gaining confidence with his 2nd start, expect him to have another good game. Obviously, that will allow the Hawks to go down field, and please KOK, let’s get Tony into the offense right away!  And when the Cat staff scouts out those two long crossing route tds from last week, they are going to have to try and account for them, if they can.  At some point, that is going to leave the tight ends wide open down the hash, and DJK and the boys should be able to exploit Northwestern’s 83rd ranked PED.  The Cats have started 9 players at the 4 secondary spots, due to injuries.  As long as the Iowa offense stays away from the mistakes, we should be able to put up a bunch of points on Saturday. 

The Hawkeye defense just had an off game – 24 points allowed.  True, those turnovers were a factor.  But still, they are going to be fired up to face another one of these gimmicky offenses (Kafka is their top rusher), and as we have so often seen, Norm’s boys should be able to shut down half of the attack, and then feast on the one dimensional remains.

Out special teams also have a decided advantage over the Wildcats; after an off week for them, expect them to look a lot better.  Donahue will probably drop every punt inside the 10 after his less-than-stellar effort last week.  KF says that Sash is likely to get some punt return attempts this week; I am excited to see what he can do.

So yes, Northwestern has been in our heads of late, but we are a better team, we have reason to continue our 2009 payback tour, and of course, there is so much more on the line than the 10-0 start.  It’s time to blow someone out from the very beginning. 

Ok, by the time you read this, all you have to do is get through Friday, then have some fun, sleep, wake up, and head to the bar.  Hope to see all you Gotham Hawkeyes at Opal on Saturday!



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