September 8, 2011

The Eternal Season - Week 2 Hawkeye Game Notes


Iowa’s Record: 1-0
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: 29 votes
USA Today: 44 votes
BCS:

2011 Iowa Football Schedule (times eastern)

9/03/11 Tennessee Tech WIN 34-7
9/10/11 @ Iowa State 12:00 pm, FSN*
9/17/11 Pittsburgh 12:00 pm, ESPN/ESPN2
9/24/11 Louisiana-Monroe TBD
10/01/11 Bye Week
10/08/11 @ Penn State TBD
10/15/11 Northwestern 7:00 pm, BTN
10/22/11 Indiana 12:00 pm, TBD
10/29/11 @ Minnesota TBD
11/05/11 Michigan TBD
11/12/11 Michigan State TBD
11/19/11 @ Purdue TBD
11/25/11 @ Nebraska 12:00 pm, ABC

*MSG+ in the NY Metro Area

Scouting Next Opponent:
Maine at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM, ESPN3

September 10th, 2011: Iowa Hawkeyes at Iowa State Cyclones, 1-0, 0-0 Big 12
Prior Games: 58, Iowa leads 39-19
Last Game: 2010, ISU 7, Iowa 35

Hawkeye Stat Pack:

Turnover Margin: +1
Big Ten #4, NCAA #28

Interception Battle:
Linebackers: 1
Secondary: 1

Current Line: Iowa -7

2011 Key Stats
Scoring Defense 7.0, Pass Def 156.0, Rush Def 140.0, Interceptions 2, Total Defense 296.0
Ranks
Big Ten                 #3 tie                   #5                          #10                   #1 tie                         #7
NCAA                   #13 tie                 #34                         #66                  #12 tie                       #42

Scoring Offense 34.0, Pass Offense 256.0, Rush Offense 148.0, Total Offense 394.0
Rank
Big Ten                #5 tie                        #5                                 #10                                #7
NCAA                  #51                          #46                                #61                                #55

Depth Chart for this week:
http://www.hawkeyesports.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/iowa/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/depth-chart
_______________________________________________________________________
Last Week – Tennessee Tech:

Hello again Hawkeye friends!  Week 1 is in the book, and the Hawks are 1 and 0 and looking to continue the hot start this Saturday in Ames.

Well, it was warm outside, but the start was not actually hot.  It was raining, and before it was all over, we had seen something that even we older Hawkeyes have never witnessed before – an Iowa football game delayed by weather.  It’s football; it doesn’t take a back seat to Mother Nature!

But it does, when there is lightening around.  At least, these days it does, back in the day I don’t recall them calling things off when thunderstorms were nearby.  Guess it’s just part of the uber-cautious era we live in. 

But that was all late in the 3rd quarter.  At the start, the stands were full, albeit soaked, and Tech kicked the ball down to the 9 yard line, where Jordan Bernstine grabbed it, and danced his way up the middle all the way to the 45 before going down.  Great seeing him in action right from the start, and the 2011 Hawkeye Football season was under way.

Raining, which tradition says is bad for passing.  New starting quarterback, you want to work him into the offense.  Power running game, great O line – pound the ball to start.

And so it looks, the Hawks are in the I formation, Davis on the near side motioning in, and then back out, and at the snap, James fakes the ball to Marcus, and drops back to survey the field.  Quickly, he comes back underneath to flip it to Marcus, who snags the pass and gains a few strides for 13 yards.  Script flipped from the very start.

1st down, a run? Nope, James drops back again, hits Marvin on the far side, he breaks one tackle for 15 more yards.  1st down at the Tech 27.

Running game?  Two more passes, both fail, Hawks face 3rd and 10.  Now Coker gets the ball the usual way, and as he gains about 5 yards, a linebacker dives at his legs, and Marcus falls forward over him, losing the ball.  Tech recovers at the 23, and the Hawkeye defense takes the field.

Seems the defense is still watching the fumble replay, as Tech opens with an option run that nets 18 yards.  From there a false start dooms them to a 3rd and 9, and the snap is low and bounces to QB Lamb - he is able to get a quick screen off to his right, but Nielsen blows through the line and drops the tailback for a 3 yard loss.  The punt comes down to Micah Hyde, where he fair catches it at our 22.

All right, first game jitters out of the way, let’s play some football!

Coker, up the middle for 6, and he pops the linebacker making the tackle.  He gets it again and starts right, but then cuts it back to the left, for 3 yards.  3rd and 1, one more time to Marcus, who goes left and gets the 1st, but he loses the ball as he tries to switch it to the outside hand.  Lucky for us, it rolls forward and Reiff falls on it, saving the Iowa possession.

James now drops back and fires a quick strike to McNutt, who just barely misses getting the corner turned as the cornerback makes a shoestring tackle.  That was good for 7 yards.

Coker is now on the sideline.  In retrospect, you have to remember that the guy has not been tackled since the Insight Bowl, and holding sopping wet footballs is not exactly an easy thing to do.  At any rate, the Iowa coaches go down one below the 2 deep and insert freshman Mika’ll McCall, #25.  He gets the next snap and heads right, 8 yards, 1st down.  Two more carries get 5 then 4 yards, and the Hawks face a 3rd and 1.  James brings them quickly to the line and runs the QB sneak which goes for 2, 1st down Iowa, at the Tech 38. 

Back to the kid, he goes left for 3 yards, and then comes right, breaking at least two tackles, for 12 more, 1st down Iowa.  But the drive stalls here, and Meyer comes in to boot the 39 yard field goal.  Rain no problem, it’s good, and the Hawks lead 3-0.  No fight song for field goals, unless they are of the game winning variety.

Tech gains one first down on their possession, but then a near turnover (fumble) dooms the drive, and Hyde catches the punt and is tackled at the Iowa 26.

Back to McCall.  He heads up the middle, now breaks right, one, two, three weak arm tackles left in the dust!  22 yards!  Power running attack, indeed!  Next snap, the new QB and true freshman get mixed up, and James has to stretch to get the ball to him, and the delay results in a loss of 3 yards.  One more time, McCall head right and finds daylight for 9, but then as he is going down, he gets drilled from the side, and immediately we know he is hurt.  It doesn’t take long for the news to come, it’s a broken ankle, and out for the season. 

Terrible news for the kid, but we do have tailbacks.  He will get the medical redshirt, and have 4 years remaining to play.  Look forward to seeing him in 2012.

Back to the game, now 3rd and 5, James finds Herman for what looks like 15 yards, but the d-back clearly plows through Brad’s back before the ball arrives, but the zebras swallow the whistle.  Punt, fair catch by Tech at the 15.

The 1st quarter ends with the Tech QB rolling right, right into a sack by Daniels to lose 4 yards.  3-0 Hawkeyes, not the hot start we were looking for, but things were about to change in a hurry.

This drive dies 2 plays later, as the 3rd down pass up the middle bounces of Morris’s back – what you call blanket coverage.  A good kick by Tech, the punt forces Hyde back and the ball bounces out of bounds at the Iowa 41.

Let’s try this again!  Wait, no, flags fly, that’s a false start on the center.  One of only 3 accepted flags on the Hawks last week, all of the 5 yard variety.

1st and 15, James bootlegs it to the left, and fires a bullet to the underneath man (Herman), who latches onto it and falls for 16 yards and a Hawkeye 1st down.  James drops back again, but doesn’t like what he sees, so he pulls it down and heads toward the near sideline.  At 5 yards, he meets a Tech linebacker, but he does not slide – he turns his shoulder and plows into the guy, causing both their helmets to fly off.  A great, team building play, but we prefer to see our 230 pound running back plowing into linebackers, thank you.

Everyone gets their hats back on, and James comes to the near side the conventional way, with a strike to Marvin, 6 yards, 1st down.  Coker is back in, and he takes the ball up the middle for 4 yards.  Back to the air, a strike near side to tight end Derby (the Elder) gains 5 yards, 3rd and 1.  Iowa, right up to the line, QB sneak again, and it goes for 4 yards before James is dropped.  1st down Iowa at the Tech 24.

James hides the ball in the play action exchange, and then rises up and fires a strike down toward the near pylon, where Davis is well covered.  As the ball arrives, Keenan jumps and flips the ball up, and then as he falls to the ground, he cradles it into his arms, and  then into the end zone.  Touchdown Iowa!  Fans go wild, but as the team lines up for the extra point, the whistle blows, and the review shows that his knee was down at the half yard line.  Well, that was his knee, it seemed the ball had already broken the plane.  Nope, the Hawks go into the Power I, and Tech jumps, so the ball is moved to about 7 inches from the goal.

You would think Tech was expecting this.  The BTN guys have been showing the catch replay so much we don’t even see the live play, but there it is, another QB sneak, and the 2011 Hawkeyes have their first touchdown.  Yes, the team with the power rushing attack, the deadly wideouts, and devastating tight ends, scores its first touchdown with their pro-style QB running the ball.  That, our only rushing TD of the day.  10- zip Iowa, clock at 10:38.

 Tech, 3 and out, the highlight of the drive is Daniels crushing the QB as he releases the ball – a play for which he gets flagged (helmet to helmet), but it doesn’t go in the books as Tech also tripped an Iowa lineman, penalties offset.  The punt comes to Hyde at the 15, and he is hit and dropped at the 17. 

Score, then 3 and out.  Been watching a lot of tennis lately, it’s like securing the break. 

Hawks line up, and the flag flies, false start, #60 (LG Matt Tobin).  1st and 15.  Coker now, he heads right, and gets stood up by the pile, so he spins and comes back left, but is hit for just a yard.  2nd and 14, James comes to the line, and seems to change the play before he goes under center.  It’s a play action pass, and McNutt has run a corner route on the far side – James floats the ball in that direction, and Marvin reaches up to snatch it, as a safety dives at his feet. The pass, caught (!) at the 34; Marvin high steps his way out of that tackle, and then races down the far sideline – 50, 40, a pursuing linebacker makes a lunge and misses!  30, 20, 10, touchdown Iowa!  88 yards!  The 6th longest pass play in Iowa history!  17-zip, a 56 second yard drive, the first of what will be many long td strikes for Vandenberg in 2011. 

Tech now responds by moving the ball to the Iowa 49, where they face a 4th and 1.  The Hawks fall for the hard-count trap, and Daniels is flagged for offsides, 1st down Tech.

From here, Tech is probably wishing they had punted the ball.  On 1st down, the pressure is heavy right up the middle, and Lamb has to release the ball before his wideout is looking.  The pass also goes up the middle; you don’t want to just toss balls up the middle on the Iowa Defense.  Nope, this time, Morris has turned around, and he snags it, interception Iowa! But he is not done, he gains some blockers on the outside, and down the far side they go – breaking tackles, 50, 40, 30, 20, but Tech cuts off the angle, and he is brought down at the Tennessee 8 yard line.  Pick count, linebackers lead 1-0.  But, not for long. 

Coker, heads right but nets only one.  James back now, pass near side to Marvin, he gets drilled at the 2.  3rd and goal, James and Marcus run into each other in the backfield, but he still gets the floater off to Derby, but the defenders flashes his hands in front and he can’t make the catch.  The field goal is just 20 yards, and good, 20-zip Iowa. 

Meyer’s kick lands at the 10, and is carried out to the 25.  So far, so good for the kick coverage team. Tech goes on an 11-play drive that gets them as far as the 33.  With just half a minute left, Lamb drops back, and then runs toward the near side of the field – he is feeling the pressure as he throws the ball down toward the 10 yard line, where the wideout and Prater both leap into the air – as the receiver falls down, Shaun lands on his feet with the ball – (one all, linebackers!), and now he is racing up the near sideline!  30 -40, he has a convoy with him, just one man to beat – and they do!  40, 30, 20, 10, touchdown Iowa!  89 yards!  27-0, clock at 9 seconds.  That’s 24 points in the 2nd quarter, and Sedge’s phone blows up with people wondering when the last time Iowa scored 24 points in a quarter.  Too busy playing the Fight Song and doing yellow shots to think about it!

The half would end with one more play, and we settled in for the 2nd, knowing we had done enough to get some youngsters into the game, which would pay dividends in the weeks ahead.  Now just need to finish it out, add some more points, and keep everyone else healthy. 

The halftime ends, and the players return to actual sunshine.  Good deal. 

Hoping for a 3 and out to start the second, but that doesn’t happen.  Tech goes on a 10-play drive that gets as far as the Iowa 11 – but then they miss a 33-yard field goal, wide left.  Iowa gets the ball back at the 20.

James comes out firing again, Coker for  6 yards.  Now he hits Davis for 7 and a 1st down.  Offsides then on Tech, and James tries again, for Herman, but the pass is dropped.  What?  Rain starts up again.  Iowa runs 4 more plays and gets to the Tech 35, where they are flagged for roughing the passer, and there we were right on the red zone door. 

Coker, right side, 1 yard.  James now, looking over the line – he snaps it, steps back, and then turns and fires to the near side, where Marvin has stayed on the line after the snap, it’s a wideout screen (but looked like a Hawkeye Jail Break at first), regardless, McNutt shakes and bakes his way right through the entire Tech defense and carries it in for his second touchdown of the day – now 3 short of the Iowa record.  34-zip Hawkeyes!  Clock at  6:19 of the 3rd. 

Tech, 3 and out.  Iowa ball at 4:13 on the 41.

Really, really raining now – BTN shows pics of water pouring down the Kinnick steps like a raging rapids.  Iowa runs two pass plays that fail, and then the officials blow the whistle and instruct all the players to leave the field.  The lightening has returned.

This delay would go on for a full hour, and they then had to wait another 30 minutes to be sure there were no more light shows in the sky.  During the down time, Hawkeye fans found ways to kill the time – with games of their own.  Finally, the players, and some of the fans returned, but after the long layoff, most of the starters were done for the day.

By that point, we were just hoping the 2nd and 3rd team guys could hold the shutout, and get a score of their own.  Neither happened, but the fact that Derby (the Younger) got in, along with a bunch of other guys, was great to see.  In the end, 34-7, and the Hawks could feel good about the win, but the coaches could also find some thing to work on in practice this week.

Key stats, James 13-21, 219, 2 tds, and no scary throws.  McCall, 9 hauls for 61, Marcus, 11 for 41.  Marvin, 6 catches for 140 (23.3 average) and the two tds.  A huge start for him, look for the record to fall in week 3.

So, what can the Hawkeyes do a little better this week?  Clearly, getting Coker going out of the gate, which I trust will happen.  With him at something around 150 yards, the passing game will open up tremendously – the offense should be clicking from the start.

The defense faces another running QB Saturday – last week, they had good pressure often, but failed to make the tackle.  They’ll need to be a step quicker.  And they will want to be, because pressure on the ISU QB is going to make him very susceptible to mistakes.  You only need to look at last week.

THIS WEEK: Iowa State

ISU almost did lose to UNI a week ago.  They had to score a td with 40 seconds left to top the Panthers 20-19.  This, a game where UNI had 16 penalties, where ISU lost a player to an ejection, and the Clones had 4 turnovers.

Now, as my brother pointed out, we had our own trouble with UNI just a couple seasons back.  What that did was wake up the Iowa team, and it resulted in a 9-0 start, which would have been a 12-0 start had our QB not gone down.  I don’t see these Clones being the type of team to run wild through the Big 12 in 2011.  They will be getting better under Paul Rhoads, I am sure of that – he seems a good coach who really wants to be there.  But they are also a young team, and if last week is any evidence, one that is easy to expose when things get tough.

Which is say, if things were testy with UNI, what are the Clones going to do when the Hawkeyes smack them in the mouth?

Arnaud is gone, and the winner of the QB battle was Steele Jantz, a junior.  Vandenberg, he is not.  Jantz ran 20 times for 80 yards in ISU’s win, but his passing was a bit more suspect.  18 of 40 for 187 with 1 td – and 3 interceptions.  Many of those passes he missed were just errant throws – the kind that speedy defenses can devour.  If the Panther defense was able to rattle him, wait until he meets Mike Daniels.

On the defensive side, the Clones should, in theory, be good at stopping option offenses, since they run one.  The UNI QB gained 127 yards on 18 carries; part of the 210 on the ground the Clone defense gave up.  That QB, 6’1, 200 pounds.  So, when Coker is hitting those linebackers, are they going to be able to stop him, or just fall away for another 10 or 15 yards?

There is always that question about the Hawks not really wanting to play this game, while the Clones think it’s the biggest game of the season.  You don’t get the sense that is the case anymore – Iowa is tying to send the seniors out without a loss to Iowa State.  This a game to build momentum for the Pitt visit next week.  I don’t think the Hawks will have any trouble being ready.

Some Clones fans seem to think James will be rattled in Cyclone Stadium.  I doubt it.  The Horseshoe, it is not. 

What do the Hawks need to do to get the game in hand and keep the crowd silent?  Run the ball.  Then when the Clones sell out to stop it, play action that baby right over their heads.  We are not an option running offense.  Let’s see if the option running team knows how to stop a pro-style offense.

On the flip side, we are once again going to need the 7 to 8 man rotation for the defensive line – they must get tackles when they get serious pressure.  The linebackers must be ready to lay hard hits on the QB or anyone else that carries the ball into their midst.  But at the same time, keep heads up to get in the way of any passes that might not be true.  If UNI got 3 of them, perhaps the Hawks are good for 4?

When it comes to special teams, the Clones did not kick any field goals last week, but their punter averaged just over 51 yards on his kicks.  The question, though, is how many weeks we are going to go before blocking one.  I say – no more.

I’m sure the Clones will be spirited and ready to go at the outset.  It’s up to the Hawks to play smart and eliminate mistakes.  Long as we can do that, and keep the offense humming along, it should not be close.  ISU might be better later in the year, but this week the recent near miss will come back to bite them.  Hawks 35, Clones 13.

For further football after the Hawkeye win, check out Alabama at Penn State, 3:30, on ABC.  Then of course, the first true night game in the long history of the Big House, Notre Dame at Michigan, 8:00 pm on ESPN. 

One more day Hawkeye fans!  It is and will forever be, the Hawkeye State!  In the hearts and on the field! 


GO HAWKS!!!

Sedge

Dave Sedgwick           





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