September 11, 2010

TES - 2010 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Week 2

Iowa’s Record:  1-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #9 (1044 votes)
USA Today: #9 (1027 votes)

2010 Iowa Football Schedule (times Eastern)

9/04/10 Eastern Illinois WIN 37-7
9/11/10 Iowa State 3:36 PM, ABC/ESPN2 (Regional coverage)
9/18/10 @ Arizona 10:36 PM, ESPN
9/25/10 Ball State TBD
10/02/10 Penn State (Homecoming) 8:05 PM, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
10/09/10 Bye Week
10/16/10 @ Michigan 3:36 PM ABC
10/23/10 Wisconsin TBD
10/30/10 Michigan State TBD
11/06/10 @ Indiana TBD
11/13/10 @ Northwestern TBD
11/20/10 Ohio State TBD
11/27/10 @ Minnesota TBD

September 11th, 2010: Iowa Hawkeyes v. Iowa State Cyclones 1-0, 0-0 Big 12
Prior Games: 57, Iowa leads 38-19
Last Game: 2009 - Iowa 35, ISU 3

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: -2
Big Ten #10, NCAA #91

Current Line: Iowa -13.5

Scoring Defense 7.00, Pass Def 92.0, Rush Def 65.0, Interceptions 0, Total Defense 157.00
Big Ten                 #1                       #1                          #2                          #6 tie                      #1
NCAA                   #20                     #14                        #25                        #                             #8

Scoring Offense 37.0, Pass Offense 256.0, Rush Offense 179.0, Total Offense 435.0
Big Ten                #6                            #1                                 #7                                #5
NCAA                  #38                          #37                               #55                              #41
 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: Eastern Illinois

That’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh uh-huh.

That is, the way the Hawkeyes came out and let the overmatched team know that the day would be long, and the pursuit of victory, fruitless.  And that we achieved this with all the units adding to the domination was especially nice to see.  Sure, the games ramp up in intensity now, but we did what we had to do in week 1, so we can now move on to greater challenges in the weeks ahead.

What a start it was – ball first, and then a 6 play, 65 yard drive to the end zone, highlighted by Brad Herman’s 36 yard snag from Stanzi, only to be stopped from his 1st Iowa touchdown 5 feet short of the goal line.  Robinson then stuffed it home, and the Hawks lead 7-0.  The freshman Meyer than boots the kickoff into the end zone, touchback, and the Iowa defense takes the field for the first time in 2010.

Panthers apparently did indeed dream of Iowa linemen in their backfield, as on 1st down, they chop-block Clayborn, that’s a penalty, 1st and 20.  Then a false start pushes them back to the 5, three plays later they would be no further than the 7. A ‘3 and out’.  Punt, Sandeman returns it to our 44.

Drive 2, 55 yards, 8 plays.  This was a very nice mix of passing and running to get the ball into the red zone, but the play of the drive was the 3rd and 8 from the Panther 12.  Stanzi hit Robinson out of the backfield, but he was 4 yards short of the 1st when he caught the ball, and was hit immediately – no matter, he spun out if it, and lunged forward to secure the 1st and goal.  Next snap, the Iowa line seals the left corner, and Adam strolls in for td #2, 14-0 Hawkeyes.  Through 2 drives, Ricky is 6/6 for 86 yards, and he hasn’t even eyeballed a bad decision so far.

Panthers then take the kickoff out of the end zone, but only to the 19.  That’s -1 on the hidden yardage calculator.

This drive nets one first down, but stalls with a 4th and 1 at the EIU 42.  They line up to punt, but alas, they seem a bit occupied with the Iowa defensive linemen, and forget about little Paki O’Meara coming in from the side.  He sidesteps a double team and gets his paw up just as the kick comes off the punter’s foot.  Blocked, scooped up, and with a little nifty footwork at the 5, touchdown Iowa.  The trifecta.  A senior now, Paki is probably going to find that his minimal tailback carries are going to go away with Hampton returning Saturday, but he can still have a big impact on our success with his special teams play. 

53 seconds left in the 1st quarter, and the Hawkeyes lead 21-0.  That’s about as textbook as we could have hoped, and well onto the Iowa goal (well, mine) of 42 points.   

Panthers also return this kickoff to the 19 – kick was right to the goal line, so I guess they had to move it. 

This drive starts with an end around that nets 4 yards.  I was so happy to hear the broadcast team correctly indentify this play as an ‘end around’ and not a reverse, as this play popped up several times Saturday.  Anyway, on 2nd down, Hyde knocks down the pass, and then on 3rd down, Ballard busts in from his end spot, forcing the Panther QB to step up into a 1 yard run.  EIU lines up for a punt, and Hawk fans everything are thinking we are going to have the ball around midfield after Colin returns it.

Nope, it’s a fake, snapped to one of the blockers, and it seems like the Hawks can stop it at the line of scrimmage, but no, they can’t, and the run nets 37 yards to our 44.  So begins the one bad series for the Iowa defense.  The Panthers come out firing, the deep pass is a floater, but Hyde can’t get there in time, another 37 yards just like that.  Now at the Iowa 7, EIU tries another end around, but the Hawkeyes blow it up for a 4-yard loss.  Seems now that the defense is so ramped up that they somehow allow a wideout to get behind them, into the back of the end zone, and the Panthers finally get on the board.  Once again, it was Hyde who had coverage on this play.  One little hiccup, but the lead at 21-7, and we now get the ball back.

DJK returns the kickoff to our 39-yard line.  Stanzi rolls out to the right, and in a flash, the entire Iowa season seems to hang by a thread as Ricky does not get up after sort of stumbling down to the ground.  He hobbles off, but after seeing the replay from several angels, it didn’t look bad, and as it turned out, it wasn’t.  Vandenberg is now getting his snaps, as the Hawks face a 2nd and 13.  Robinson tugs the pigskin for 14 yards, 1st down.  James, not afraid to put it up, hits Sandeman for 9 yards.  ARob is stopped for no gain on the 2nd and 1, but then Vandenberg sneaks it, and Hawks have another 1st and 10 at the EIU 37.

Now, the Panthers give us charity that we really didn’t need.  On that first down, Adam is stopped after 2 yards, but as the play comes to an end, one of the EIU defensive backs drills McNutt – that’s a 15-yard penalty, and now the Hawks sit right on the red zone door, at the 20.  James hands it to Adam, who runs into traffic a few yards from the line of scrimmage.  No problem, in the play of the day, he surges forward, with Hawkeye linemen shoving from the back, and helpless Panther defenders collapsing under the weight of the onslaught in front.  When it’s done, Robinson emerges from the bottom of the pile on the 5-yard line – 1st and goal.  One more handoff, and Adam breaks two tackles as he goes over right tackle, touchdown, 28-7 Hawkeyes.  Robinson, who had 5 tds during his freshman season, now with 3 on the day.  After that last one, a low murmur of ‘that was Shonn like’ could be heard throughout the bar.  Indeed, Adam seems to have a bit more mass this season, and he appears to relish giving something back before he goes down.  And Hawk fans are downright giddy at our tailback potential in the weeks ahead.

Hawkeye defense now fully awake and probably embarrassed, gives up a 17 yard pass to start the next possession, but no more, the 3rd down emphatically stopped with a Daniels sack.  The punt is downed at our 21, and Hawkeye nation lets out a collective sigh of relief as Ricky trots back onto the field, seemingly with no ill effects and good to go.

And KOK certainly thinks he is, as Stanzi drops back on 1st down, surveys the field, finds nothing, then drops it off to Reisner, a 20 yard dump off.  This, the learned Stanzi.  But, on 1st down, he fails to notice the cornerback blitz brewing before the snap – and the line and fullback fail as well, so it’s a rather solid sack, causing a lump in Hawkeye throats, but Ricky jumps back up for 2nd down, so once again breathing is a bit easier.  Now two passes to Herman get back all the lost yards and 10 more, so it’s a 1st down at the Panther 48.  Here, Stanzi tries a pass over the middle – it falls harmlessly to the turf, but seemed a bit frightful when it left his hand.  Still alive for 2nd down, a pass to DJK nets 4, and a pass to Reisner nets 4 more, but then Ricky misses a wide-open ARob on 4th down, and the Hawks turn it over.

Panthers go 3 and out, and then two ARob runs bring the 1st half to a close.  28-7, and aside from the one fake punt drive, no serious threats from the Panthers.  The halftime stats tell the story – Running, us 68, them 50 – but 37 of those were on the fake punt.  Passing, Iowa 143, EIU 76.  3rd down efficiency, Hawks 4/5, Panthers 1/6.  Everything going right, all the units are contributing, and for the first 30 minutes, we have played like a team that indeed is ready to challenge for all the marbles.

Meyer boots the 2nd half kickoff into the end zone, and the Panthers bring it out, but only to the 16.  Minus 4 in hidden yardage.

They begin the 2nd as they began the 1st, with a chop block.  A two-yard run follows, and then Ballard swats down the 2nd down pass at the line.  They throw in a delay of game for good measure, and then get nowhere on the 3rd down run, and so once again crawl meekly back to the sideline with a 3 and out.  Seems like the Hawks may have gotten a small piece of this punt, as it goes sideways and rolls out of bounds at the Panther 38.  Iowa poised to score again.

And we almost did.  We now run back-to-back end arounds, first to DJK for 14, and then McNutt for 5.  ARob now, 5 yards, 1st down.   Pass to Reisner for 8 more, and we are inside the 5.  Adam is stuffed, and then the Hawks face a 3rd and 1 at the EIU 3.  Surely we can ram this in – but no, Ricky fumbles the snap, and the Panthers recover.  Hard to tell from the replays, but the TV guys said it seemed like the ball never got all the way to Stanzi.  First game for a new Center/QB pairing, not at all surprising, just disappointing so close to the goal line.  Though, it’s much better than that happening at our end of the field.

Iowa defense now foaming at the mouth, as EIU start on the 2.  A swing pass nets 2 yards, then a risky pass over the middle is dropped, bring up the 3rd and 8.  Out of the shotgun, the Panther QB tries to hit the tailback as he sprints to the outside.  Sadly, he misses his target entirely, and the ball then rolls out of the corner of the end zone.  A backwards pass, that’s a live ball, a live ball rolling out of the end zone is a safety.  30-7 Hawkeyes.  It should be noted, that even had the tailback been able to catch that ball, there we at least three Hawkeyes that had beaten their blockers, and were ready to bring him down in the end zone for the traditional safety.  They just made it easy for us.

The best part is, we get the ball back!  Sandeman returns the punt to the 39.  1st down, pass, nothing.  2nd down, Morse drops the pass in the flat.  3rd down, Stanzi finds Sandeman for 20 yards down the seam – but as he gets drilled, he loses the ball while going down.  Fumble, the Hawks 2nd turnover of the day, in a day in which we did not get any ourselves.

Panthers manage 1st down in the next drive, but stall at midfield, and the punt is downed at our 16 yard line.

On this first down, the Hawks are called for an illegal shift.  That’s the first flag on Iowa, and it comes at 4:36 of the 3rd quarter.  ARob runs for 6, and then Stanzi hits tight end Zack Derby for 17 more.  Now finally, the chance for Ricky to go over the top emerges, and McNutt has done his part and zoomed right by the safety and  - - - no.  Overthrown, play of the day remains Robinson’s pile driver run.

We do manage to get it as far as the 50, but then the drive dies just as the 3rd quarter comes to and end.  How refreshing to be going into the 4th quarter with a lead, whereas last year we knew we would end it with one, it was just kind of nerve wracking getting there.

And now, in the 1st snap of the 4th quarter, the Hawkeyes must punt.  I mistyped last week when I said Donahue would drop punts inside the ten.  This one is sky high; high enough that the Iowa coverage guys can get down there and actually catch the ball.  It’s downed at the 4.  Apologies, Ryan.

Panthers, 3 and out.  Punt, Sandeman 10 yard runback to the EIU 45.

How bout some running game!  ARob, 7 yards, then 2 more.  QB sneak, 1st down.  Adam, 6 yards.  Reisner than makes a circus catch falling out of bounds, 1st down.  Adam, 2 yards. It looks like Stanzi is in trouble but – no! It’s a screen to ARob, he rumbles down the far sideline and up in the box Hayden says ‘that’s a touchdown’ but no, he gets knocked out of bound at the 3, 1st and goal.

What to do here?  I was standing next to Bernie, and as the Hawks broke the huddle, he says ‘stuff that ball into the end zone.’  I respond with, ‘how bout a play action pass to the fullback?’  And so it was.  At the snap, Brett sprints out to the right, and Stanzi turns to hand off to ARob.  But no! It’s a play action pass!  And here is the fullback, with the ball floating toward him, no one around – and caught!  Touchdown!  37-7 Hawkeyes.

I shall now like to be called ‘Soothsayer Sedge’.

That wraps up the scoring, the most interesting thing left was seeing the backups move the ball from our 20 to the EIU 6 in the waning minutes, where time ran out, and we were not able to cross that 42 point barrier.

Stanzi, 18/23 for 229 and a td.  Vandenberg, 3/3 for 27 yards.  Robinson, 24 tugs for 109 and 3 tds.  Total Iowa yardage, 435.  Eastern Illinois, 157.  3rd down, Hawks 7/11, Panthers 3/13.  Domination in the stat box as well as the score line.

All in all, a satisfying win, with no one knocked out of the game on either side, and the team showed enough with all the units to be comfortable that total team efforts could be the norm this season.  They say that football teams make a big leap from week 1 to week 2, and if that’s the case, look at Clones.  Yes, we have things that we can improve in practice, like punt safety coverage, and the vertical passing game.  And the defense should be not be allowing passes longer than 25 yards to land safely in the hands of receivers.  A win like it should have been, but there is enough there to have the players and coaches acutely focused on the task at hand this Saturday.

This Week: Iowa State

Yes, let’s start with the question that is on the mind of everyone as the ISU game grows ever closer.  Will this be the year that the Clones can score a touchdown against the Iowa defense?  It’s been since 2006 (the 1st half, no less) that we have allowed them to cross the mystical region that is the end zone line.  In past seasons, they have been able to move the ball some, but just not able to get past our bend but don’t break type of defense.  It’s going to happen sooner or later, I’m just not sure if the Iowa defense is going to let it happen in Kinnick.

That’s because, yes, the Iowa defense is indeed fired out about this one. Why? Well the Clones ran for a buck ninety on us last season, and even with the 35-3 shellacking, that left a very bad taste in Clayborn’s mouth.   And he is making sure that the other 3 linemen get the message, which they should, as they were on the field for it as well.

Iowa State fans are probably feeling pretty good about their 27-10 win over Northern Illinois, and why not, you can do no better than 1-0 after one game.  But I watched this game, and it seemed to me that it could have been a lot closer if the Huskies had played a QB who could hit a moving target.

Which is to say, their starter could not.  He was 14-29 for 93 yards, able to hit the check down throws, but nothing down the field or out into the space outside the numbers.  By my count, he had two different chances at wideouts, who were open, behind ISU’s defense, and missed them both.  There were several others cases closer to the line where his guys were open; he just could not hit them if they were moving.  It seemed to me that this Clones secondary could be susceptible to strikes down the field all day long.

And those passes should be there, because the Iowa running game is going to get a major shot in the arm Saturday.  Everyone knows that Jewel Hampton is returning after 13 months, and together with Robinson, it has the making of a thunder and lightening kind of rushing attack, Adam with the pounding, Jewel with the speed.  The Iowa line played about as well as we could have hoped, considering, in week 1, so they should be able to make some good progress this week in practice, and find those gaps for the tailbacks to exploit.  The Huskies racked up 156 (rushing) on the Clones in a game they were tailing 17-0 at the half.  It should be there for the Iowa running game.

If we can run, Stanzi should be able to exploit the State secondary.  It’s a home game, so the O-line and tailbacks are going to feed off the Kinnick energy, and then when the Clones try to stop it by loading the box, Kinnick will explode when Stanzi finds Reisner, McNutt, and DJK moving freely 25 yards down the field.

Another week, another variation of the read/option attack.  The Clones don’t always use it, sometimes lining up in a more typical pro formation.  The Hawkeye defense must first take away the running game, that’s ISU’s own ARob, Alexander Robinson.  He hit 1200 yards at just over 5 a carry last year, so he is a legitimate threat when he gets the ball – he had a 63-yard td run last week.

At QB, the senior Austin Arnaud returns, and he is of course a threat to run, where he carried for 45 yards on 14 attempts in week one.  He and Robinson are what make the read/option work – holding the ball just long enough to see what the defense will commit to, and then either handing if off to the tailback, or the QB keeps it to run himself.  As we learned in the Orange Bowl notes, the key to stopping this is to play on that fine line where you maintain your spacing on the D-line, and your linebackers cover the gaps, containing the option until the point where it must move forward, and then you swarm and tackle from there.  We see lots of these kinds of offenses these days, and our lunch pail kind of defense has very routinely made them look rather pathetic.  In years past, Arnaud has shown a tendency to kind of fall apart when he gets hit and things start to go south – he played a big part in their 6 turnovers last year, so look for the Iowa defense to get him into that frame of mind early.

We also get a boost in stopping this by the return of Broderick Binns, so our full D-line is ready to go, with our rapidly excelling backups, Lebron Daniel and Mike Daniels ready to fill in when rest is needed.  Rotation will be key; ISU returns their big and experienced offensive line.  And as is the case whenever we face these kinds of offenses, the secondary has got to be ready, not falling asleep by watching the option and letting it turn into a play action pass down the field.  Sash actually got 3 picks in this game last season (and forced a fumble), so I am sure he is drooling at the prospects of Arnaud putting one up with Clayborn in his face.  He is of course a safety; the corners must man up and contain the wideouts, while helping to string it out if the option running attack moves to the sideline.  I look for Hyde to atone for his brief letdown in week 1. 

I’m sure the Cyclones will be fired up by Clayborn’s ‘Only team in Iowa’ comments, which were of course more about the lack of pro teams than a true shot at Iowa State.  Regardless, I’m sure it’s all over their locker room in Ames.  But little worry, these kinds of things kind of peter our when the Iowa defense starts planting Arnaud and the O-line starts gashing the Cyclone defense for running lanes.  Once again, it’s about the players, the coaching, and the fundamentals.  As long as we don’t make it easy for them (turnovers), we will have the advantage in all 3 phases of the game.  Yes, it’s a rivalry game, and the hoopla will be in full force Saturday.  But this is one more game on our schedule where we are the clear favorite, and if we are to get where we want to go, we have to play like it matters for the entire 60 minutes. 

Many of you have had a chance to meet my brother Jonathan; some of you know that he left his job at Army to take the Head Equipment Manger job for – Iowa State.  Yep, he will be there on the sideline, getting a close up view of this.  I wouldn’t say he is as confident about this one as he was when working the sideline (as a student manager) during the McCarney years.  Maybe it’s cause their Thursday night game allowed him to watch the Iowa game on Saturday…

If you can’t get enough football from just one Iowa State/Iowa game, you are in luck.  It’s a huge weekend for the Big Ten, in particular, with some very interesting games that can shed some light on how the conference is going to do this season.  Of note:

Michigan at Notre Dame 3:30
Miami at Ohio State 3:40
Penn State at Alabama 7:00

Too bad the first two games are the same time as ours.  Please note if you are not reading these notes in Iowa or someplace adjoining it, this game will be on ESPN2.  The ABC coverage map is below:

All right my friends, kickoff is now just hours away, and you don’t have to start tailgating before sunup for a 3:30/2:30 kick – unless you want to!



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