October 3, 2013

TES - 2013 IOWA FOOTBALL - WEEK 6: MICHIGAN STATE @ IOWA


Sedge’s Hawkeye Game Notes - 2013 Edition
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Iowa’s Record: 4-1, 1-0 Big Ten, 1-0 B1G Legends
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP:
USA Today: 1 vote!  we’re back!
BCS:
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2013 IOWA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE*

August 31st v. Northern Illinois, loss 30-27
September 7th v. Missouri State, WIN 28-14
September 14th @ Iowa State, WIN 27-21
September 21st v. Western Michigan, WIN 59-3
September 28th, @ •Minnesota, WIN 23-7
October 5th v. •Michigan State, 12:05 pm, ESPN2
October 12th - Bye Week #1
October 19th @ Ohio State, 3:35 pm, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
October 26th v. •Northwestern, TBD
November 2nd v. Wisconsin, TBD
November 9th @ Purdue, TBD
November 16th - Bye Week #2
November 23rd v. •Michigan, TBD
November 29th @ •Nebraska, 12:05 pm, ABC

•Big Ten Legends Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting Next Opponent: Ohio State @ Northwestern, 8:00 pm, ABC

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October 5th, 2013.  Iowa v. Michigan State Spartans, 3-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Previous Meetings: 44, Iowa leads 23-19-2
Last Meeting:  2012, Iowa 19, Michigan State 16, Double OT

Current Line: Push

Turnover Margin: +3,  B1G #5, FBS #41

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack 
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Offense
Total   447.4  Pass  203.0  Rush 244.4  Scoring 32.8
B1G    #8              #10             #5                  #10
FBS    #48            #93             #20                #54
Defense  
Total   265.6  Pass  186.4  Rush 79.2   Scoring 15.0
B1G    #2            #4                 #3                  #4
FBS    #7           #29                #7                  #17 
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Week 5: The Golden Rodents

Living as your scribe does in the college football wasteland of New York, we missed all of the Hawkeye pregame on ESPN2, and in fact didn’t get the game on our tvs until the 8:53 mark of the 1st quarter.  What did we miss:

The rain had moved on but a cloudy, overcast day had greeted the players as they took the field.  The Hawks won the toss and took the ball, and started at their 16 after Cotton got tripped up on his kick return.  

Both teams were going to run it, and we were up first.

Mark starts it off and he goes for 10 on his first carry.  Warmed up, he is.

This drive would total 9 plays, but die at the Rodent 47, as Kornbrath came in and downed the punt at the Rodent 9 yard line.  

The Rodents try tailback Williams up the middle and he gets 3 yards.  Once again, but the Hawks stuff it for no gain, forcing the 3rd and 7.

This pass from QB Nelson (the starter, who we thought might not play, but indeed started) was no good and the Rodent punt team took the field, and we finally had our game as the Rodents snapped the ball, and the kick sailed right down the middle of the field, forcing KMM to back pedal, and he made the catch at the Hawkeye 30, and he tried the far side to get 12 yards for his effort.  Iowa ball at the 42, clock 8:41 of the 1st, and timeout.

Coming out of the break we get a montage of shots of Hawks and Rodents with Floyd.  He sits in the Iowa lockeroom, hoping for a return to the balmy conditions of Iowa City.

Ok, we are back, and Jake is under center, Mark alone behind him, with one receiver high and two low.  Jake drops back and he tries a quick pass to the near side, but the pressure is in his face and they knock it down and almost pick it off.  Disaster averted, the Hawks line up for 2nd and 10.

Iowa now to the I formation, with a wideout on each side, and KMM goes into motion from the near side toward the line.  

Jake drops back, looks to the far side, but then he pulls it down and hands it to Mark - the draw play - and he takes it and has a huge hole!  He charges right up the middle of the field, crosses the yellow line with no contact at all, and then finally he gets hit at the 42 but then he drives the pile forward to fall down at the Rodent 39.  19 more yards, and an Iowa 1st down!

Mark departs for Bullock and the Hawks emerge in the same formation.  Damon tries the far hash but gets only 3.  

Same formation, but KMM stays put on the near side, Jake changes the play at the line.  It goes to Bullock again, he tries the near side, but he gets strung out and is fortunate to fall down just across the LOS for a gain of about a foot.  3rd and 7.

The Hawks come to the line with Jake in the gun, Damon to his right, and two wideouts high, one low.  As soon as the players come set, Jake snaps the ball, he looks downfield but then turns his sights to Damon who has run a wheel route to the far side, Jake floats the ball that way but Damon is under tight coverage, it comes down at the 34 and Damon makes the over the shoulder catch, but then is hit immediately and taken down 2 yards short of the yellow line.  

The booth comments on the perfect throw by Jake, as the Hawks mill around for a second, but then depart, as the field goal team trots on.

It’s a 49 yard kick from the far hash, the ball is snapped, it’s down, and up, and it’s right down the middle and good!  And the Hawkeyes lead it 3-0 at 6:09 of the 1st.  Timeout.

Meyer’s kickoff lands two yards deep, its brought out and the Hawks nail him on the far hash, they wrap him up and drop him at the Rodent 18. The Iowa defense takes the field.

The Rodents come to the line in the I formation, with a wideout on each side, but the far side guy goes into motion, and it’s a play action pass, the QB rolls to the near side but then fires it, his receiver dives for the ball just across the 20, but it’s wide of his hands and no good. 2nd and 10.

Rodents now to the gun, a tailback to his left, twin wideouts near side.  It goes to the tailback and he tries heading to the near side, but the Hawks blow it up and drop him for a 2 yard loss.  3rd and 12.

Back to the gun, now with one wideout high and two low, he snaps the ball, looks downfield, dances around a bit in the face of some pressure, but then he dumps it off to the far side, it’s caught at the 18, but Hitchens flies in and drills the tailback and keeps it to a 3 yard gain, and the Rodent punt team took the field again.

KMM catches this punt and can’t get started, so the Hawks start at their 33.  Timeout. 

After the break we see a poll of what’s the best rivalry trophy in college football.  A good question, but you probably only have Hawkeye and Rodent fans watching this game, so i think the results will be kind of lopsided.  

The Hawks emerge in the I formation, with a wideout on each side.  Jake fakes the handoff to Mark and pulls it down and rolls to the near side.  He looks like he is going to throw the ball, but as he gets across the near hash he pulls it down and gets only 2 as he gets forced out. 2nd 8.

Back to the line, Jake is under center, Mark behind him, the fullback offset in the H back position to the far side, and a wideout on each side, both close to the line.  Jake changes the play at the line, and the fullback moves into the I formation in front of Mark.  Mark gets it, and heads right up the middle, for 5 yards, and the Hawks faced a 3rd and 4.

We get a game break and when we return, Jake is in the gun, with Damon two his right, and three wideouts to the high side, with one low. Jake snaps it and he rolls to the far side, then he fires it toward the far sideline, targeting KMM, but it’s too high and off his hands, out of bounds, and the Iowa punt team took the field.

The Iowa punt comes down at the 30, but as it lands, it seems to bounce off the return man and fall to the ground!  A wild scramble ensues and for a second it looks like the Hawks have it, then they don’t, and we soon go to replay.  The ball actually hit an Iowa player who was being blocked into the return man, so it’s dead there, Rodent ball at their 32.

The Rodents present the pistol, with a wideout on each side.  It’s a handoff and he tries the middle, gets about 3 yards and then the Iowa defense swarms in to bring him down.  

2nd and 7, Rodents, gun, a tailback to his right.  Two wideouts top, one low.  It’s a pass to the far side, underneath the soft coverage, it’s caught, he’s hit, escapes, but then hit again and dropped just across the yellow line, and that’s a Rodents 1st down.

We see a replay, and then the Rodents have the same formation but flipped to the strong side, it’s snapped, the QB keeps it, and wishes he hadn’t, as he goes far side the Hawks drill him and drop it for a 2 yard loss.  2nd and 12.

Rodents, the pistol, two low, one high.  It’s a handoff and heads straight ahead, into the teeth of the Iowa defense, and it nets only 3.  3rd and 9.

The Rodents now have four wide, Nelson snaps the ball, has a bit of pressure on the near side, he steps up and dumps it off near side, it’s caught, and Morris is there and he makes the hit, but the receiver goes down across the yellow line, that’s a Rodents 1st down at the Iowa 46.  The 1st quarter comes to a close, timeout.

Hawk fans are thinking we should be up by more.  

After the break, the Rodents have Nelson in the gun, a tailback to his left, one wideout high side, two low.  The wideout on the top goes into motion like it’s a sweep, but the QB drops back, and floats it to the near side, where Lowery leaps to knock it down but misses, and it’s caught and out of bounds. 15 yards, and the Rodents were at the Iowa 31.

Rodents to the power I with a solo wideout up top.  It’s a handoff and he tries the middle, gets stuffed, and then bounces it to the near side, but the Hawks fly in and drop him for no gain.  2nd and 10.

Rodents now, the pistol, with three wideouts on the far side.  It goes to the tailback, he tries the middle, and gets about 3, 3rd and 7.

The Rodents are in the gun, a tailback to his right, two wideouts high, one low, and a tight end in motion from the near side to the far.  He snaps the ball, fakes the handoff, and then looks downfield, where he soon faces pressure from his right, he steps out of a tackle but it slows him down, and the Hawks catch him and drop him for a 6 yard sack!!!  4th and 13.

The Rodents are standing around as the booth debates taking a field goal from this distance.  Eventually the play clock runs out, that’s a delay of game, 4th and 18.

Now the Rodent punt team is on the field, they line up and flags fly, a false start, that’s 4th and 23.

Finally the kick is made, and it sails over KMM’s head and into the end zone, a touchback, Iowa ball at the 20, timeout.  

After the break the Hawks are in the I formation, with a wideout on each side.  It goes to Mark he goes off tackle left, gets the corner turned, and and he lowers his shoulder and plows into the cornerback, and that gets him 11 yards and a Hawkeye 1st down!

We go to a game break and we don’t see Iowa line up or snap the ball, or Mark getting 5 more yards to the far side.  Thank you ESPN2, you think Big Ten fans care about LSU and Georgia?  

2nd and 5, Hawks again to the I formation with a wideout on each side.  Mark gets it again, he tries the far side, and it gets about 3, 3rd and 2.

The Hawks present a power formation, Jake under center, Bullock at tailback, the fullback offset near side, and a solo wideout down low . Jake snaps the ball, fakes it to Damon, then quickly dumps it near side to his fullback who has slipped out into the flat - it’s caught at the 38, he turns and crosses the yellow line, and finds space down the near sideline, gets a key block and he crosses the 50, the 40, and he finally gets hit (and loses the ball, but it’s out of bounds) at the Rodent 27!  1st down Hawkeyes!

Hawks back to the base formation, Jake under center, Damon behind him, solo wideouts on each side.  It goes to Bullock who goes off tackle left, a gap opens but soon closes, and he gets 4.  2nd and 6.

Same formation, Jake snaps the ball, fakes the handoff, and then he floats the ball to the end zone, and as it comes down, we see KMM is tangled up with the corner back, and they both fall to the turf as the ball lands, and a flag flies in.  That’s pass interference, Iowa ball, 1st and goal from the Rodent 8.

Jake to the gun, but he must call timeout as the play clock winds down.  

We don’t go away during the break, and the booth discusses Jake’s rather heavy (pre-med) class schedule.  It’s good to have a smart quarterback.

All right, were are back in the I formation, KMM alone on the near side.  Jake changes the play.  It goes to Mark, he tries the middle, and gets about 3 yards.  2nd and goal.

Same formation, same play, Mark gets it and tries the left side, but he gets only 1.  3rd and goal.

Iowa lines up with Jake in the gun - and 5 wide.  Jake snaps the ball, looks down the middle, then he pulls it down and heads for the near side.  He hits the near hash and turns on the speed as it’s a race to the near side pylon, Jake gets hit at about the 1 and falls down and he takes out the pylon with the ball, and that’s an IOWA TOUCHDOWN!!!  Meyer boots the kick through and the Hawks had a 10-zip lead.

After the break, we see that the Rodents have unveiled a new, 6 foot tall statue of -  a Golden Rodent.  

Ok, Meyer finally boots it two yards deep, and it gets out to the 21 before the Hawks take him down.  

The Rodents open in the pistol, two wideouts high.  He snaps the ball, pumps it far side, pulls it down and turns this way, where he sees an Iowa lineman right in his face, he quickly flips the ball to his tight end, it comes off his hands, but before it hits the ground, Kirksey dives, scoops it up, and makes the catch!  Interception!!!!  Iowa ball at the 23!!!  It’s reviewed, and confirmed!

All right, the Hawks can begin to tighten the noose here.  Back to the base formation.  Jake snaps the ball, surveys the field, and then fires it far side for Kittle, he leaps to make the catch but the defense is there, no good, 2nd down.  

The power I formation, Mark gets it and tries near side, just 2 yards, 3rd and 8.

Jake to the gun, Damon to his left - one wideout low, two high.  Jake snaps the ball and floats it to the end zone, near side, and as it come down, Hillyer jumps for it, but there is a lot of contact again, and the defender is NOT looking at the ball, so it should have been another penalty, but the zebras blow it.  

4th down, Meyer comes in to boot the 39 yard field goal.  It’s from the near hash, he gets it up, but it curves and hits the far side upright, no good, the Rodents dodge a bullet.  Iowa still leads 10-0, clock at 6:52 of the 2nd.

Rodents, in the pistol with an H back near side, two wideouts far side.  It goes to the tailback, he tries the middle, and gets just 1.  2nd and 9.

The Rodents now have Nelson in the gun, a tailback offset to his left behind him, and one wideout low, two high, but stacked up.  It’s another handoff, and it goes for nothing. 3rd and 9.

Gun now with at tailback to the right, and three wide.  It’s snapped, and floated to the near sideline, the receiver has found the gap, and it’s caught, 20 yards, 1st down Rodents.

The gun again, the tailback to his left, one wideout low, two high.  It goes to the tailback, he heads far side, the Hawks should have him for nothing, but he escapes and gets about 5.

One more carry gets 4 yards, and the Rodents faced a 3rd and 1 as things get a bit chippy as the play comes to end.  

As the Rodents line up, the whistles blow, and it’s a Rodent timeout.  Clock at 3:52 of the 2nd.


The Rodents huddle up, line up in the pistol, but as soon as they snap it, the whistles blow, that’s a false start on the Rodents, and now your 3rd and 1 is a 3rd and 6!

Rodents to the gun, a tailback to his left, and 3 wideouts out there.  The snap is made, there is pressure but he floats it far side, the wideout has again found the space, but the ball falls out of his hands and onto the turf, no good, 4th down, as the stadium groans.  

The Rodent punt team lands the ball at the 24, KMM stays away, and it rolls dead at the Hawkeye 15.

Clock at 3:36, your scribe and John discuss the prospects for Iowa running a 85 yard drive in 3 plus minutes, and we like our chances.  

Jake, under center, Damon behind him, one wideout high, two low.  Jake snaps it, drops back, looks center but then fires it near side - targeting Smith, it’s bobbled but then caught, and he is dropped, 11 yards, a 1st down Iowa at  the 26!

Iowa now has Jake in the gun, two wideouts outside a tight end on the far side, and two wideouts near side.  Jake snaps it, drops back, then quickly turns to the near side and he releases just as he gets hit - the camera pans down and we see Powell make the catch just a yard short of the LOS - it’s a bubble screen, a jailbreak, whatever you want to call it, and the Hawks have executed it perfectly!  As he starts upfield he has about 5 blockers ahead of him - and he crosses the line of scrimmage, crosses the yellow line - and then turns on the afterburners.  40, 50, no one is going to catch him, 20, 10, TOUCHDOWN IOWA!!!  74 yards!   The Speedster is true to his name, and the Hawkeyes had a 17-0 lead and TCF Stadium again fell silent - save the visitors hooping and hollowing.

The Rodents would start their next drive and would gain one 1st down, but soon after the Hawks would sack Nelson on 3rd down, and they would have to punt it back to Iowa (after we called timeout), but KMM can only fair catch it, and the Hawks kneel on the ball to bring the 1st half to an end.  

Hawk fans would like to be a little more ahead (Meyer), but so far the Iowa defense has shown no indication that they are going to let the Rodents back into this one!

We never see a halftime stats graphic, but soon learn the Rodents have 13 yards rushing, while Jake is at 141 yards passing.  And then Meyer boots his kickoff 6 yards deep, and the Rodents down it to start at their 25.

The Rodents open in the I formation with solo wideouts on each side.  It goes to the tailback Williams, and he finds room on the left side of tackle and gets 12 before the Hawks get him down.  Doubling their net right there.

The Rodents huddle up, and then present the power I, just a solo wideout up top.  Nelson snaps the ball and drops back, and he tries to throw it deep down field, but as he steps up he gets plastered by Davis, and the pass is thus behind the receiver, and as he stops to leap, Lowery also does, and knocks the pass away.  2nd and 10.

Rodents now to the pistol, two high, one low.  A handoff, he starts for the near side, gets strung out, the Hawks should nail him for nothing, but he escapes to the sideline to pick up 5.  Of course the replay shows King being held as the play runs by him, another miss by the officials.

3rd and 5, the Rodents are now in the gun with the tailback to his left, and twin wideouts on each side.  The ball is snapped and quickly tossed to the far side, a slant underneath the soft coverage, and it’s high but he leaps and snags it, 9 yards, and a 1st down Rodents at the Iowa 49.

Back to the I formation with a wideout on each side.  It’s a handoff, he goes straight ahead for 2, 2nd and 8.

The I again, now with two wideouts on the near side.  Nelson fakes the handoff, pulls it down and rolls toward the near side, he sees nothing that way so he decides to cut it back inside, but as soon as he does he runs right into Morris, who drops him for a 6 yard sack!

3rd and 13, Nelson is back in the gun with a tailback to his left, two wideouts low and one high.  He snaps it, drops back a step, and then fires it deep down the far sideline, but we see that Lowery has the inside position, and he almost picks it off.  No good, 4th down, and the Rodent punt team is getting used to this.

From midfield you would think they could drop it pretty deep, but nope, KMM lets it go, it bounces at the 1, and into the end zone for the touchback.  Hawkeye ball at the 20, clock 11:52 of the 3rd.

Ok Hawks, let’s take it down there, and begin to put this thing to bed.

The Hawks start with the offset I and a wideout on each side.  Jake changes the play at the line.  It goes to Mark and he tries the left side, but it’s clogged up and he only gains 1.  2nd and 9.

We see a stat graphic that shows Mark has 11 rushes for 60 yards, 5.5 per touch.  
The Rodents - 21 rushes for 27 yards.  1.3 per rush.  Ouch.

Back to the regular I with a wideout on each side.  Jake drops back quickly and fires for Shumpert on an out route to the far side, he makes the catch but it’s too far out, and out of bounds.  3rd and 9.

The Rodent fans bring the noise, as Jake goes to the gun with Bullock to his right, one wideout up top with two low, and then Hillyer, goes into motion from the far side toward the near, and he lines up right behind KMM, the other receiver on this side.  Jake snaps it, drops back a step, then forward one, and he lets it go over the middle, where Hillyer makes the catch at the 27, and steps between two Gopher defenders to cross the yellow line and get it out to the 35, an Iowa 1st down!  Jake with the 3rd down conversion through the air.

Iowa, back to the base formation, Jake changes the play again.  He snaps it and hands it to Bullock, he goes off tackle left to pick up 5.  2nd and 5.

Same formation, Jake hands it to Damon and he runs smack into a run blitz.  It loses 3 to bring up a 3rd and 8.

Jake now to the gun, Damon to his left, three wideouts on the near side and one on the far.  Jake snaps it, drops back a step, then hops forward a step or two, he begins to feel pressure from his right but just as he is hit he drops it to KMM on a crossing route, he makes the snag and surges forward to go down right on the yellow line, and that’s another conversion by Jake, 1st down Iowa at the 45!

Jake is back under center with Mark behind him, one wideout top and two bottom.  Jake snaps it, drops back, and then fires a rope down the far hashmark, as the camera pans we see KMM has about 2 steps on the defender and the pass hits him in the hands - and then falls to the turf.  Another drop, something the Hawks MUST clean up as we get much further into the season.  2nd and 10.

The Hawks have Jake back in the gun, Mark to his left, and three wideouts low side with one high.  Jake snaps it, steps back, but then immediately pulls it down and heads for the far side - he almost makes it, but a diving stab gets him, and it only goes for 1.  3rd and 9.

Jake is in the gun with Damon now to his left, one wideout high, and two low, and the lowest goes into motion and again stacks up behind KMM.  Jake snaps it, takes about 3 steps back, then he steps forward and to his left, and he looks like he is going to flip it to that side, but no, he pulls it down and takes off!  Across the 45, across the 50, the 45, all the way to the 32, 22 yards and another Hawkeye 1st down!!!

Iowa, quickly to the line, back in the I formation, Jake snaps it, turns to his left, and hands it to Mark, who gets it and bursts right up the middle, that’s good for 7 yards, 2nd and 3!

Back to the line and still in the I, Jake snaps it, it goes to Mark, he tries off tackle - left - and the hole is huge!  He crosses the yellow line, the 20, the 15, and he is finally pushed out at the 7, 1st and goal Hawkeyes!

Hawks to the I formation with a single wideout low.  Jake changes the play.  It goes to Mark and he tries the left side again, but gets stacked up for nothing, as a flag flies in from the umpire.  It’s the first flag against the Hawks and it’s holding on Walsh.  The replay - iffy, it sure looked like the defensive lineman just dove to the ground without any help.  Hawks now 1st and goal from the 17.

Jake is in the gun with a wideout high, and two low, he snaps it, and quickly flips it this side to KMM, another wideout screen, but he gets hit immediately and only gains 1.  2nd and goal.

Jake, back to the gun, Mark to his right, one wideout low, and three high, where they are lined up in a triangular pattern.  

Jake snaps it, and again fires it to KMM, it’s another screen, but he was at the back of the triangle, so he has blockers, so he gets to the corner and all the way to the 5 before he is knocked out.  14 yards, 3rd and goal Hawkeyes from the 5!

There was a flag on the play, but they pick it up.

Ok - Jake is alone in the gun, two wideouts on each side.  He snaps the ball and immediately rolls to the near side - he has his arm cocked, and he crosses the near hash, a defender grabs him, but he gets the pass off, and as we see it fall dead in the corner of the end zone - where KMM has been TACKLED by the corner back!  That must be a flag and 1st and goal Iowa from the 1!

Nope, the officials, who all had to be looking right at that spot - blow it again.  Unbelievable.  

Meyer comes in and chips the ball through, the lead is now 20-0, and the drive killed 15 plays, 75 yards, and 6:42 on the clock.  

Meyer’s kick goes 5 yards deep, and it’s brought out - which must have surprised the coverage unit, as they let him break about 3 tackles and take it all the way to the Iowa 34 - 66 yards.  Defense, bail them out.

The Rodents are in the I formation with twin wideouts low.  It’s a handoff and he tires the middle, it goes for just 1.  2nd and 9.

We finally see the replay from the previous Iowa drive - and still can’t believe how this crew completely missed it.  I sometimes think referees need a forced retirement if they need glasses.

Rodents now, to the gun, a tailback to his right, two wideouts high, one low.  Nelson snaps the ball, pumps it, and then dumps it the far side flat, it’s caught, and the Hawks get him down a yard short of the yellow line. 3rd and 1.

Rodents back to the I formation.  It goes to the tailback and the Hawks have a shot at him in the backfield, but miss, and he gets 6 feet when he needed 3.  1st down Rodents.

Rodents, the gun, a tailback to his right a receiver on each side.  He snaps the ball and fakes the handoff, then he pulls it back and floats it to the far corner of the field, it comes down at the 5 and is caught, he spins away from the defense and into the end zone, a touchdown for the Rodents, and the Hawkeye lead was now just 20-7.  Clock at  3:06 of the 3rd.  Lowery had tried to jam the wideout at the line, and missed, and that is why he was a step behind on the play.

The Hawks are lined up as if they might expect an onside kick, but then the wind knocks the ball off the tee, so a Rodent must hold it, and that hurts the ability to surprise the Hawks.  So it’s booted deep, it lands at the 5 where Cotton makes the catch, he takes off on the far hash, then as he gets across the 15, he cuts the ball toward the near side, and then he tries to cut it back inside a bit as he finds a seam, but he gets tripped up and down at the Iowa 29.  Still, a good return, now Iowa, go to work.

Hawks to the I formation with a wideout on each side.  It goes to Mark and he tries the near side, but gets bottled up to gain nothing.

2nd and 10, same formation, Jake fakes the handoff and drops back, turns and then floats it to the far side, KMM on an out route, caught, 14 yards, and an Iowa 1st down!

Hawks now to the single back.  Jake changes the play again.  It goes to Bullock, he tries the far side and gets about 3.  2nd and 7.

Iowa, back to the I formation.  Jake, audible.  It goes to Damon, he goes off tackle left and gets the corner turned!  And just like that he’s down at the Rodent 32, 1st down Iowa!

Same formation, but now Mark is at tailback.  He gets it and tries the left side, but the Rodents overload it and drop him for a 1 yard loss.  That brings the 3rd quarter to an end.  15 more minutes Hawkeyes - keep the pressure on and put the Rodents out of their misery.

We now see the results of the trophy voting from earlier - and Floyd has 38% of the vote, the clear number 1.  No surprise.

Back to the field, Iowa is in the base formation, Jake snaps it, fakes the handoff, and then rolls the far side, keeping his arm ready to fire it.  As he gets to the far hash he takes the under route, CJF, and he makes the catch at the 29, and with those long legs gets the ball down to the 20, another Iowa 1st down!  

Hawks in the I formation at the red zone door, it goes to Mark and he tries the right side, gets hit at the line but falls forward for 3 yards.  2nd and 7.

Same formation, with a wideout on each side.  Jake snaps it, fakes the handoff, drops back, pauses for a second, and then lets it go down the far hashmark, where as it comes down we see the safety cut in front of the receiver and pick it off.  Rodent ball at the 20.

We could not really see if from the tv replay angles, but all the Iowa writers and bloggers there said that Jake had Hillyer wide open at the 5, and had he thrown it as soon as he got back, it would have been an easy Iowa touchdown, but that split second he thought about it cost him.  I trust he shall learn from it.

The Rodents had the ball at 13:58 of the 4th, and Iowa fans began to have a bit of a nagging feeling.  Iowa defense, please change that.

Rodents, in the gun, a tailback to his right, two wideouts low, one high.  He drops back and then drops the ball into the near flat, caught, and finally dropped, 8 yards, 2nd and 2.

Same formation, it’s a handoff and he goes to the far side and gets the corner turned, that’s 5 yards, and a Rodent 1st down.

Same basic formation but now Nelson is in the pistol. He snaps it, keeps it, pumps far side, but pulls it down, tries to dance away from pressure to the far side, but Alvis throws aside two blockers and takes him down, another sack, and a 6 yard loss!!!  

2nd and 16, now the tailback is back to Nelson’s left, he snaps the ball, drops back, and he fires it over the middle, it’s caught, and then King drops him, but it gets about 15 of the 16 needed.  3rd and 1.

Rodents, to the I formation with a solo wideout low.  It goes to the tailback and the Hawks just miss him in the backfield, he gets hit about a yard short of the line, and tries to bounce it outside, but Morris wraps him up and keeps it to no gain. 4th and about half a yard.

Rodents to the Power I.  The Hawks have everyone at the line, and its a QB keeper, he leaps, and Morris goes flying over the top and JUST misses plowing into him, and that allows him to shift and fall across the yellow line for the Rodent 1st down, at their 43.

Rodents are now in the gun, the tailback to his right, and three wideouts on the far side.  It’s a fake to the tailback, Nelson is looking downfield, but then floats it to the far sideline, where his receiver falls down trying to reach up for the pass and it sails out of bounds. 2nd and 10

Same base, but now a wideout is low with two on the high side.  It’s a straight drop back and Iowa blitzes right up the middle, and that forces Nelson’s hand and he fires it down the near hash, his receiver dives but can’t make the catch, 3rd and 10.

Same formation.  The Hawks just bring 4 but they get in his face a bit, and that forces a deep overthrow down the near hash - close, but not close enough.  4th and 10.

The Hawks are in punt safe mode, but the kick is off, and it lands at the 10 where KMM makes a fair catch.  Iowa ball at 10:18 of the 4th.

Time to work on some clock.

Hawks to the offset I with a solo wideout low.  It goes to Mark and he starts up the near hash, but then  he cuts it outside and gets the corner turned, and finally a Rodent approaches and Mark shoves his arm into his face, but they get him down, a gain of 15, an Iowa 1st down at the 25!

Same formation, but on the near hash, so the wideout is on the high side.  Jake appears the change the play.  It goes to Mark who again goes left, and why not, across the 30, and finally forced out after 9 yards.  2nd and 1.

Same formation.  Mark again, this time through the line, but through he is, 8 more yards, and an Iowa 1st down at the 42!

Mark departs and Damon is behind Jake, with the offset fullback, but Jake changes the play and the fullback moves into the I formation.  It goes to Damon and he tries the middle, it only goes for 1.

Same formation, Damon gets it and tries the left side but this one goes for no gain, 3rd and 9.

Jake to the gun, with Mark to his left, and three wideouts high and one low. Jake snaps it, drops back two steps, then steps forward and fires another frozen rope down the middle and KMM dives to cradle it, caught! 14 yards, and Jake has converted another 3rd down with his arm!  Iowa now at the  Rodent 39.

Hawks to the offset I.  Mark gets it and heads left - at the line a defender dives in, Mark brushes him aside and high steps out of the tackle.  Now he is across the 35, and another Rodent appears, Mark swats him as if a fly, and then crosses the yellow line, and he lines up two Rodent defenders in his path, and then plows into one and finally down at the 25, 14 yards, 1st down Hawkeyes!

Now at the Rodent 25.  Hawks to the regular, single wideout I.  Mark gets it but the Rodents had committed to stopping him and it loses 2.  2nd and 12.

The Hawks are lining up as the call comes in from the sideline, timeout Iowa, clock at 6:20 of the 4th.  

Hawks now to the I with a wideout on each side.  Jake changes the play.  It goes to Damon and he gets just one, and the Hawks face 3rd and 11.

Jake is in the gun with 4 wide, and it’s a screen to Bullock , he makes the catch but gets hit immediately, and loses two yards.  

So, 4th down, and Meyer comes in to try the 46 yard field goal, and the booth points out it would still be a two possession game should he make it.  Meyer makes it with ease, and the Hawks pushed the lead to 23-7, with 4:48 left on the game clock.  

Meyer squibs the ball down to the 5, where it’s picked up, he takes off up the near hash, and the Hawks fall asleep again, and let this return get as far as the Iowa 45.

But then a flag comes in, and it’s on the Rodents.  They had blocked one of the Iowa gunners out of bounds, which you can do.  But you can’t continue to block them while they are out of bounds, which they did.  And so after the penalty, the Rodents were back on their 42.  Still, way too far. The Hawks must correct this problem.  This week!

All right, Nelson is in the gun, a tailback to his right, two wideouts high, one low.  He drops back and then tries firing it down the near hash, it’s too high for his receiver and Lowery leaps and gets his hands on it but can’t pull it down.  2nd and 10.

Same formation.  The Hawks just rush 4, and it’s quickly dumped into the far side flat, caught, and the Hawks wrap him up after 5 yards.  3rd and 5.

Now from the gun they have three low wideouts and one high.  Nelson looks to the far side after the snap, and then throws it deep down the far side, where the wideout and King are in contact as the ball flies by, the official waves his hand indicating the ball was not catchable, and the replay seems to confirm it.  4th and 5.

From the gun, the Rodents send 4 into the pattern, two high, two low.  Nelson snaps the ball and drops back into position, as the Hawks have rushed 4 and dropped 7 into coverage.  He floats the ball over the middle, where we see Morris and the tight end are both reaching for it, but it’s Morris who pulls it down, INTERCEPTION!!!  He snags it and runs to the far side before going down, Iowa ball at the 49 with just 4:00 minutes left on the clock!

And the Rodents would never get the ball back.  Mark would rush twice for 9 yards, and then the Hawks gave the ball to the fullback for the first time this season, and Cox ran right up the middle for 5 yards and a Hawkeye 1st down.  

Mark for 7 more, and the Rodents would call 1 timeout, and after that Jordan was in, with some carries for 9, 1, and then 3 yards, and that killed the clock, and the Hawkeyes ran over to pick up Floyd, and across the nation, The Beer Song rang out.

In my notes last week, I thought of putting a number on what I thought the Hawkeye defense would do to the Rodent running game.  Knowing as I did that we were committed to making the Rodents throw, I thought we could dent their 282 yard per game average on the ground.  But crush it as we did...wow.

The Rodents - 27 carries.  For 30 net yards.  Granted, the 4 sacks we had come out of the rushing totals, but still.  Complete domination.  Kind of wonder if the Rodents should have gone with the backup QB.  

All while the Hawks were racking up 246 on the ground.  Mark 24 for 147, 6.1 average.  Bullock 11 for 47.  Jake 5 for 35.  Jordan 3 for 13.  And even fullback Cox, 1 for 5.  

Nelson completed just half his passes for 135 yards, with the 1 td, but two interceptions.  A QB rating of 13.0   Jake, by comparison, rated  91.0 for his 15 for 25 and 218 yards.

Of course, 74 of those yards came on the td pass to Powell.  A three foot pass, and 73 yard run, but it still goes down as a 74 yard td pass for the young QB.  Yes, his interception was a mistake, but a mistake of timing, and with a young QB and young receivers, that will only get better as time goes on.  

To date, Powell has 4 catches for 206 yards, and two tds. His JUCO 30 yard per catch average...child’s play.  

So the Hawkeyes have taken the Rodents back to Earth, where they will most likely stay for the rest of the season, and now we return home for something altogether different.  

Week 6: Michigan State

Sparty, of course, has a very good defense.  

For most of the season, the offense - a train wreck.

Actually, that’s an insult to train wrecks.  Which are exciting, thrilling, full of drama.  Not so much the Sparty offense, to date.  And now they face a real defense (yes, better than Notre Dame’s).

MSU started the season against Western Michigan in East Lansing.  They beat the Broncos 26-13, but to get there, Sparty had to score not 1, but 2 defensive touchdowns.  This the team Iowa beat 59-3.

MSU started senior QB Maxwell, who played last year, but he was ineffective, only throwing for 74 yards on 11 for 21 passing.  State then went with sophomore QB Cook, who was 6-16 for 42 yards.  The Spartans only converted 5 of 19 3rd downs.  

In week two, Sparty welcomed South Florida, and once again scored two defensive touchdowns, which they again needed, as they only beat the Bulls 21-6.  This time, MSU played three QBs - Maxwell, 4 of 9 for 40 yards, Cook, 6 of 11 for 32 yards, and freshman O’Conner, 2 of 4 for 22.  The Spartans rushed for 171 in this game, not such a great achievement against a Bulls team that is 0-4 and hasn’t been close in any of them.

Week 3, MSU played Youngstown State - an FCS team - and beat them 55-17.  In this game, Cook got the start and he was 15 of 22 for 202 yards, with 4 tds.  O’Conner got in for the second half and was 7 of 10 for 68 yards.  Sparty rushed for 277 in this one.  

Week 4, Sparty finally left East Lansing to visit South Bend, and fell 17-13 to the Irish.  A loss that deserves scorn from all other Big Ten fans.  

Cook got the start and was 16 of 32 for 135 yards with 1 td, but that’s only a 4.2 yard average per completed pass.  Maxwell even got in but he was 0-3.  But the game turned on a trick play by the Spartans that they wish they had not called.

They ran the halfback option, to a wideout, Shelton, who attempted to pass it, but the Irish picked it off, and the subsequent possession was the one that resulted in the touchdown that became the margin of victory.

This game was an offensive struggle for both teams, Sparty only netting 254 yards with 135 in the air and 119 on the ground.  The Irish, 220, 73 on the ground, and 142 passing.  Of particular note, the Spartans were flagged 10 times, with 4 of them being pass interference calls.  

Through 4 games (Spartans were off last week), the MSU defense is tops in the nation in total defense, at 188.8 yards per game, and second nationally in rush defense, at 58.3 yards.  A very good defense.

The offensive totals, quite the opposite, obviously.  Total offense, 340 yards, 11th in the conference and 103rd overall.  Rushing, 187 yards per game, 10th in B1G, #57 overall.  Passing, 153 - 11th in the BIg Ten, and 113th in Division 1.  

So that’s about as great an extreme between good defense and bad offense that you can get in football.

Something has to give here, the Hawks will of course line up and run the ball, and Sparty will of course game plan to stop it.  But Iowa clearly has the QB advantage, and with a flying to the ball defense like the Spartans have, they will be susceptible to play action passes  - Iowa has the best wideout and tight end group MSU has seen to date.  

And the best combination of tailbacks.

Look for Greg to call more play action rolls outs for Jake, and things like the bubble screen that the Speedster took to pay dirt last week. 

Meanwhile, after last week, it would not be surprising to see the Iowa defense manhandle the much-weaker than usual Spartan running game.  And if the Iowa defense forces State to put the ball up - we haven’t seen anything yet to think they can beat Iowa through the air.  Lowery, be ready.  

Often games like this come down to special teams.  It’s a clear Iowa advantage when it comes to field goals.  Kicking, well, Sparty is last in the conference and 113th in the country with their 17.8 yard kickoff return average.  Of course, the Iowa kick coverage team has made things far too interesting too many times in this young season.  They must stay in their lanes and not let the Spartans have short fields to work with.  

Iowa was able to beat the Spartans in East Lansing last year, when Sparty had a defense just as good, and and an offense that was not great, but nowhere near this bad.  

And this game is in Kinnick, where Hawkeye fans will know how critical this game is, and the Iowa players will feed off the energy.  

I expect things will be tough for both offenses to start, but Jake will find ways to get the ball downfield, and that threat will open up the Iowa rushing attack in the second half, where the Spartans poor 3rd down conversion percentage will begin to take a toll on the Michigan State defense.  The Hawks are 1st in the conference and 4th in the nation in time of possession, and this game will further that trend.  

It’s worth mentioning now that Iowa is running the mostly no-huddle offense.  In the past, Spartan players have flat out faked injuries to slow down Iowa offensive momentum.  I trust should it happen this time, Greg will open up the play book and try to beat them by 5 touchdowns.

But more likely, the fact it’s in Kinnick will ensure there is less of that, and it will just come down to execution and not making mistakes, as will be the case in a few games the Hawks have left.  
Close in the 1st half, and a bit less so in the 2nd.  Lowery another pic-six, Jake over 200 with two tds, and Meyer boots a field goal from 38 when an Iowa drive stalls.  The Hawkeye defense limits Sparty to 75 net rushing, and less than 150 through the air.  Hawks win on Homecoming, 24-13.

GO HAWKS!!!
SEDGE


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