November 21, 2013

TES - 2013 IOWA FOOTBALL - WEEK 13: MICHIGAN @ IOWA

Sedge’s Hawkeye Game Notes - 2013 Edition
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Iowa’s Record: 6-4, 3-3 Big Ten, 2-1 B1G Legends
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP:
USA Today:
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, loss 26-14
October 12th - Bye Week #1
October 19th @ Ohio State, loss 34-24
October 26th v. •Northwestern, WIN 17-10 OT
November 2nd v. Wisconsin, loss 28-9
November 9th @ Purdue, WIN 38-14
November 16th - Bye Week #2
November 23rd v. •Michigan, 12:01 pm, BTN
November 29th @ •Nebraska, 12:05 pm, ABC

•Big Ten Legends Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting Next Opponent: Nebraska @ Penn State, 3:30 pm, BTN

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November 23rd, 2013.  Iowa v. Michigan Wolverines, 7-3, 3-3 Big Ten, 2-2 B1G Legends
Previous Meetings: 58, Michigan leads 41-13-4
Last Meeting: 2012, Iowa 17, Michigan 42

Current Line: Iowa -5

Turnover Margin: +1,  B1G #6, FBS #57

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack 
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Offense
Total   397.9  Pass  204.0  Rush 193.9  Scoring 26.6
B1G    #7              #7               #5                  #11
FBS    #71            #88             #42                #79
Defense  
Total   319.2  Pass  189.2  Rush 130.0   Scoring 18.7
B1G    #3            #3                 #5                   #3
FBS    #9           #12               #25                 #12 
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Week 11: Purdue

The Hawks didn’t start as quickly as Iowa fans would have liked, but in a reversal of fortune we had the lead at halftime (14-7), and then we actually outscored Purdue 24-7 in the 2nd half.

I’ll type that again.  2nd half, Iowa 24, Purdue 7.

So that’s how you put away an overmatched team!

Purdue lost again Saturday (yesterday, as I begin the Notes), to Penn State, 45-21.  It’s a race to the bottom, Illinois, Northwestern, and Purdue are all still 0-fer after the week 12 games.  But the Illini and Cats meet in week 14, so one of them will end up with a conference win.

Back to the Purdue game, Canzeri got to show what he could do with more carries, and boy he didn’t disappoint - 20 carries for 165 yards, at 8.3 per touch, and the first touchdown of the day, from 2 yards out.  Besides the speed, he also showed good fight to struggle for some extra yards after contact.  A very positive development for the Iowa rushing attack as we wind down the season.  
Damon had 10 carries for 85 yards - a healthy 8.5 per carry.

Mark, 9 for 30 yards, not his best effort, but we will need him to punish some linebackers and defensive backs over the next two games.  

And then Daniels, 5 for 22 yards.  We even handed the ball off to the fullback Plewa, once, and he gained 7 yards with his one carry.  All in all, the Hawks racked up 318 rushing yards, even better than I had hoped, and with two rushing tds - the second one, the naked bootleg run by Beathard, channeling Chuck Long, for the final td.

Jake, 12 of 20, 191 yards, with two tds - of note, the first one, the frozen rope to KMM which gave Iowa the 14-7 halftime lead, coming right after the Boilermakers had tied the game up on KMM’s botched fair catch.  That was great to see, Iowa marching right down the field to score after Purdue had the crowd energy up.  They crowd would never be up again until they stood up to leave as Iowa pulled away in the 2nd half.

It added up to a season high 509 yards of offense for the Hawks.  A workman like effort to wear down and put away a team that we had to beat.  

The Iowa defensive stats got even better in the off week.  They only gave Purdue 12 1st downs (Iowa 28), and 266 total yards - with  just 53 rushing.  They gained about 75 of those yards on the the final scoring drive of the 4th quarter, when Iowa had a 38-7 lead, and we had all 2nd and 3rd team guys in there.  If you consider that Purdue had the ball at the Iowa 35 after KMM’s fumble, you could say that the Iowa 1st team defense didn’t give up a single scoring drive all day.

So we did what we had to do, put away Purdue, come out of the game without any major injuries, and then rest and recover, and game plan to beat the living @^$%#& out of Michigan.

Week 13: Michigan

Hello again Michigan, and goodbye.

Another school that will soon be in the Big Ten East, and so our schedules will line up every now and then, unless we meet in the Big Ten title game every year.

It’s kind of too bad, as aside from last year’s debacle, that Hawks had defeated the Wolverines three times in a row - for the first time in our history.  We were in their heads.

Michigan is 7-3 on the season, and 3-3 in the Big Ten, but it is no stretch to say that they could be coming into Kinnick with 6 losses.

While the Hawks were playing one of the best non-BCS teams in the country in Northern Illinois, Michigan opened with Central Michigan and had no problem, 59-9.  CMU is 4-6 on the season (NIU 10-0).

In week 2, they hosted the Fighting Irish, and just over 115, 100 people showed up, making it the largest crowd to witness an NCAA Football game - ever. Michigan started quickly and held on, defeating Notre Dame 41-30, and for that we say ‘yay Michigan’.

But then - the wheels began to wobble - and very nearly fell off.  By nearly, I mean about 12 feet.

Mighty Akron came next to the Big House, the Zips having won a single game in each of the last three seasons, and no road games since 2008.

Michigan had to score with 2:49 left to take the 28-24 lead on Akron, and then in the final 20 seconds, the Zips had 3 snaps from just inside the Michigan 5 yard line, but as their 3rd attempt to throw it into the end zone failed, the clock ran out, and Michigan had avoided an upset that would have ranked as the worst of all time.  Far worse then the famous App State loss of a few years back, a national power in Division 1AA when they shocked the Wolverines to open the 2007 season.  

This was also the last time the Wolverines kicked off at noon.  Every game since, 3:30 or a night game.  

Michigan fans were probably thinking that the narrow escape woke the team up, and they had the UCONN Huskies up next to take out their frustrations on.

But they had to go on the road for this one, and at the end of the 3rd quarter, the Wolverines were down 21-14.

But they found away to score 10 points in the 4th quarter, and once again, had to kill a go-ahead drive as time ran out, to escape 24-21.  UCONN is happy it’s hoops season, as their football team is currently 0-9.

Michigan had been ranked 11th when the Akron game kicked off, and when they opened the Big Ten season they had dropped to 19th do to their two near losses to bad teams.  But they opened with the Golden Rodents, then for the first time without their head coach.

This game was only 14-7 Michigan at the half, but they blew up in the 2nd half to ease to the 42-13 win.  Michigan was 5-0 and ranked 18th when they next went to Happy Valley.

The Lions and Wolverines had a back and forth game, and when it was over, they were tied at 34.  So it went to overtime.

Penn State started with the ball, went no where, and then missed a 40 yard field goal, opening the door for Michigan to win this game with their eyes closed.

But Michigan could only gain 2 yards on 3 carries, so their field goal was also from 40 yards - and Penn State blocked it to stay alive.

Round 2, two more field goal attempts, and both good, onto round 3 at 37-all.

Penn State started with the ball, and on the first play, fumbled it away, and Michigan fell on it.  Again, the win was there for the taking.

They would get as far as the PSU 13, which made the field goal just 33 yards - and it was no good.  Onto round 4.

Michigan started, got a delay of game penalty, and that killed the drive at the 23, but this 40 yard kick was good.  Michigan up, 40-37, Penn State ball.

Soon facing a 4th and 1 from the Michigan 16, Penn State called timeout.  The money was on a field goal to push it to round 5.

But no, they went for it, and converted the 4th down to keep the drive alive.  Soon they were facing a 3rd and 8.

This was a pass into the end zone, the flags flew, Michigan was called for pass interference in the end zone, and that was a 1st and goal for PSU from the Michigan 2.  

It took the Lions one play to run it in, and knock off the Wolverines 43-40.   And Michigan fans soon had much more to worry about.

Sure, the next game was a 63-47 win over Indiana - that’s Indiana.  Michigan had 751 yards of total offense - including a school record 503 yards passing.  But Indiana threw for 410 en route to  572 total yards - not exactly a defensive effort on either side of the ball.  

But Wolverine fans were quickly brought back to reality.  Up next, a trip to East Lansing to face ‘little brother.’

Michigan was held to -48 net yards rushing, while allowing Gardner to be sacked 7 times by the Spartan defense, as MSU ground away a 29-6 win, their largest in the series since 1967.

After that, Nebraska came to the Big House, and they scored a td with 2:03 left to go up 17-13 - and Michigan’s drive would only get out to their 41 before losing it on 4th down, and that was the final.  Amazingly, Nebraska held Michigan to -21 net rushing yards - by far the worst two game running totals in program history.  The Wolverines had lost 2 in a row, and 3 out of 4.

Michigan came so close to losing the next game - I can’t even do it justice typing it, so here is the ESPN recap:


Michigan was probably moving at the snap on the right side of the line, the officials missed it.   The Mildcats blew it by not staying down on the man after the catch was made to kill a few more seconds.  Even 3 seconds would have meant Michigan could not have gotten that kick off.

It was the Mildcats 80th ranked defense that held Michigan to 9 regulation points.  Iowa’s defense, more akin to Michigan State’s, and Nebraska’s defenses.  

And that’s how Michigan went from 5-0 to 7-3, and is now facing the prospects of a bloodbath in Kinnick - and then a visit from Ohio State.  Who just might need to put a beatdown on Michigan in an effort to move up in the polls, and into the BCS title game.  Scary times for the Wolverine faithful.

How had Michigan gotten to this point?

They are lead by junior QB Gardner.  To date, he has completed 59.9% of his passes for 2411 yards, with 15 tds, but 11 interceptions, and he has been sacked a bone rattling 31 times.  That total has really escalated in the last 3 games, as the Wolverine front line has apparently forgotten how to block.  

Gardner is not a running QB in the modern sense, Michigan is trying to run a pro-style offense so he is expected to hang in there and pass.  But he can run, and run well.  He has been as high as 24 carriers for 121 yards against Penn State, but of course that was a 4 OT game.  In the last 3 games, it’s been running for his life - 51 carries - for just negative 47 yards.  

When Gardner has time, his most common wideout targets are sophomore Funchess, with 42 grabs for 684 and 5 tds, and senior Gallon, who has 65 catches for 1062 yards, and 7 tds.  And being a pro style offense, they also have effective tight ends.    The Hawkeyes must not let Gardner have time.  

Michigan’s top tailback is senior Toussaint, and he has 601 yards with 11 tds on the season - but he did not play in the last game, due to concussion symptoms, and in the two games where the Michigan team could not run, he had just 17 combined carries for 26 net yards.  There are other younger backs that had been playing in his place, but it seems like he will be back this Saturday.  But it’s an open question on how effective he can be coming back from a concussion on a sub 30 degree day.

When you factor in the sacks and the anemic rushing game of late, Michigan is dead last nationally in the ‘tackles for loss -  allowed’ stat - at over 9 per game.  

Iowa can, and must be the third team to suffocate the Michigan running game.  That means both taking away the tailbacks, but also not allowing Gardner to get outside when he has to scramble away from pressure.  Of late, there is little reason to think the Wolverine offensive line can have much to say on this.

Iowa should be able to move the ball - Michigan gives up a respectable 111 yards per game, but the Hawks will throw the 4 tailback monster at the them, and I think we will go over 200.

When it comes to pass defense, Michigan is 10th in the Big Ten, and 75th nationally, at just over 236 per game.  Jake should be able to find his wideouts and tight ends, and look for even more play action passes downfield this week.  Hopefully the bye week has allowed Jake and his wideouts to find a better rhythm, so some of those longer passes are hit in stride and go for Iowa touchdowns.  

And the Hawks have had two weeks to watch and analyze the recent Michigan struggles - and game plan to attack the weaknesses.  Perhaps even throw a couple new wrinkles out there to catch them off guard.  

Saturday will be Senior day in Kinnick, and the departing Hawkeyes can go out winning 4 of 5 from the Wolverines.  They don’t buy into the Michigan mystique - in fact, it’s the Wolverines who have to be coming into this game on edge, knowing the way they have played of late, and knowing the Hawks have been rested and are ready to hit them with everything we have.

Iowa forces 4 turnovers in the cold, and takes two of them back for touchdowns, as the Hawks once again put two halves together, leaving no doubt which team is wrapping up the season on the upswing.  And your scribe will be there to see it - bundled up against the forecasted high of 27.  

Hawks 31, Wolverines 16. 

GO HAWKS!!!
SEDGE

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