November 25, 2015

The Eternal Season - Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes, Week 13: Iowa @ Nebraska, 11/25/15

Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2015 Edition
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Iowa’s Record: 11-0, 7-0 Big Ten, 5-0 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP: 3rd  up 3
USA Today: 3rd  up 3
College Football Playoff: 4th!  Up 1
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2015 IOWA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE*

September 5th, v. Illinois State WIN 31-14
September 12th, @ Iowa State, WIN 31-17
September 19th, v. Pittsburgh, WIN 27-24
September 26th, v. North Texas, WIN 62-16
October 3rd, @ •Wisconsin, WIN 10-6
October 10th, v. •Illinois, WIN 29-20
October 17th, @ •Northwestern, WIN 40-10
October 31st, v. Maryland, WIN 31-15
November 7th, @ Indiana, WIN 35-27
November 14th, v. •Minnesota, WIN 40-35
November 21st, v. •Purdue, WIN 40-20
November 27th, @ •Nebraska, 3:36 pm, ABC/ESPN2 (ABC in NYC)
December 5th, Big Ten Title Game, TBD @ Iowa, 8:17 pm, FOX

•Big Ten West Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting next opponent: Big Ten Championship Game - TBD

*Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
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November 27th, 2015  Iowa v. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 5-6, 3-4 Big Ten, 1-4 B1G West
Previous Meetings: 45, Bugeaters lead 29-13-3
Last Meeting: 2014, Bugeaters 37, Hawkeyes 34, OT

Kinnick Color of the Week:

Current Line: Iowa -1.5

Turnover Margin: +11,  B1G #1, FBS #5

Interceptions: 13, B1G #1, FBS #26

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2015
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Offense
Total   418.3  Pass 210.0  Rush 208.3  Scoring 34.2
B1G    #4              #9                 #2                    #3
FBS    #53            #81               #28                  #38
Defense  
Total   322.5  Pass 214.9  Rush 107.5    Scoring 18.5
B1G    #6              #8                 #3                   #5
FBS    #16            #52               #7                   #17
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Big Ten West Standings:
Iowa *               11-0, 7-0 B1G, 5-0 B1G West
Northwestern   9-2, 5-2 B1G, 4-1 B1G West
Wisconsin   8-3, 5-2 B1G, 3-2 B1G West
Nebraska             5-6, 3-4 B1G, 1-4 B1G West
Illinois             5-6, 2-5 B1G, 2-3 B1G West
Minnesota     5-6, 2-5 B1G, 2-3 B1G West
Purdue             2-9, 1-6 B1G, 1-5 B1G West

* Clinched Big Ten West 
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Week 12: Purdue

As the week went on, it seemed like Mother Nature might give the Hawkeyes a better game than Our Rival would.  Starting on Friday, she dumped about 9 inches of snow on Kinnick Stadium, and the stadium crew would work all night to have the field cleared by the 11:00 central kickoff time. 

And they succeeded.  If there were no shots of the stands, you may never have known that a snowstorm had dumped 3/4 of a foot on Kinnick in the 24 hours before.  

Well, a couple times the players seemed to lose their footing.  Of course, the temps were in the 20s, with winds in the 15 to 25 mph range, so it may have just been ice on the field.

Once the game kicked off though, it seemed like the Hawks would be all the challenge that Purdue would need, as we would score on our first three possessions - Jr with rushing TDs at 8:54 (2 yards) and at 4:32 (13 yards) to go up 14-0 in the 1st.  

And then just 1:20 in the 2nd, C.J. would hit VandeBerg for the 1st down - no wait, the 7 yard TD, and Iowa was up 21-0.

Umm no, the extra point was blocked.  And we hear from Tara, who was Gamecasting the game from Europe, which means she did not have to actually see that missed extra point.  

But from there, the Hawks seemed to kind of fall asleep, on both offense and defense - as Purdue would score 10 points in the final 3:55 of the 2nd to only trail 20-10 at the half.  But that was also because we had knocked the freshman QB out of the game, so the junior Appleby came in.  And he had much better success passing the ball.  

And then Hawkeye fans got rather nervous as Purdue took the opening possession of the 3rd quarter and got into the Hawkeye red zone.  But from there the defense would hold, and the Purdue field goal from just 22 yards made the score 20-13.
But two Iowa possessions later, C.J. will hit Kittle on that beautiful soft pass over the middle, to find his tight end in stride, who then raced 35 yards to score, and Iowa had built the lead to 27-13.

And the first score of the 4th was the C.J. TD pass to HKC from 22 yards out that made it 34-13.

Or not, this extra point was actually yanked wide left by Koehn, so it was 33-13.

Purdue would get a passing TD from 19 yards out with 4:46 left, but Iowa got the onside kick, and two plays later, Jordan took it 42 yards untouched to make the final 40-20.

There was no on field celebration of the Big Ten West title - the players hurried into the locker room, as they were probably frozen.  But once inside, they were presented with the trophy, and they sung their very uptempo version of the Iowa Fight Song.

But then their focus shifted to the game just 6 days away.  We have won the West. 

And then we sat back and watched chaos reign across college football, as by the end of the day, 3 of the 5 unbeaten teams would go down, and chief among them Ohio State, who fell at the buzzer to Sparty 17-14.  And when it was done, Iowa had climbed to #3 in both of the major polls.  We learn tomorrow night if we will be there in the playoff poll.  (and we are!)

Work still to do.  

Week 13: Nebraska

So the Bugeaters are suffering through a season like they probably never expected.  Then again, when they hired Mike Riley from Oregon State doing the offseason, some of their fans wondered why they had taken a coach who had gone 7-6 and 5-7 in his last two seasons at OSU, and had no connections to the Bugeater family.

Nebraska opened the season by hosting BYU.  This was a rather entertaining game, as the Bugeaters lead it 14-7 after the 1st.

But in the 2nd, the Cougars would outscore Nebraska 17-0, and they lead 24-14 at the halftime break.

Then in the 3rd, the Bugeaters got two TDs to take a 28-24 lead as they entered the 4th quarter.  

BYU got a field goal with 7:57 left to cut the Nebraska lead to 1 at 28-27.  

But with 48 seconds to play, the Bugeaters tried a 41 yard field goal, and missed, and that gave BYU the ball at their 35 yard line.   

And with 1 second left, the Cougars were at the Nebraska 42, facing a 4th and 3.

And then, this happened:


The Bugeater defense gave up 511 yards to BYU.

Suffice to say, Husker fans, not happy.  

So then in week 2, Alabama came in.  Whoops, that’s South Alabama.  

And this was no contest, as the hosts raced out to a 31-0 lead, and then cruised to a 48-9 final.  Nebraska was 1-1.

Then in week 3, the Bugeaters went to a place where there are always bugs, and lots of them.  Miami, to take on the Hurricanes.  This, of course, a matchup of 90s powerhouse programs.

But Miami raced out to a 17-0 lead, and lead it 20-3 at the halftime.  

At the end of the 3rd, Miami was up 30-10, and then at 11:14 of the 4th, they kicked a 28 yard field goal to make the lead 33-10.  Game over, good night, drive home safely.

But - no.  The Huskers would score 3 TDs in the final 8:36, two of them with 2 point conversions, the final one with 36 seconds left, to tie the Canes at 33, and the game went to OT.

But on Nebraska's 1st play of overtime, QB Armstrong was picked off, and just 4 plays later, Miami kicked the game winning field goal, final Hurricanes 36, Cornhuskers 33.  The Bugeaters were 1-2 on the season.

To wrap up the non-con season, the Bugeaters hosted Southern Mississippi.  The hosts lead 10-0 after 1, and then 22-0 at the half.  But then, things started to get interesting.

The Golden Eagles would get 1 TD in the 3rd, but so would Nebraska, to lead 29-7.

But then in the 4th, SMU got a TD at the 13:34 mark, and then another at the 12:26 mark, to cut the Nebraska lead to 29-21.

But the Huskers would get a an Armstrong 16 yard rushing TD later, and they held on for the the 36-28 win.  So they got through the non-con season at 2-2, which for Bugeater fans, is probably considered unacceptable.

To open the conference slate, the Bugeaters travelled to face Illinois.  As you may recall from those game notes, the Illini scored a TD with 10 seconds left - on their 4th try - to stun the Huskers again, 14-13.  Nebraska, 0-1 in the Big Ten.

And then in B!G week 2, the Badgers came to visit.  This was the game where Wisconsin trailed 21-20 with 4 seconds to play - and then kicked a 46 yard field goal as time expired to gut-punch the Bugeaters yet again, final Badgers 23 Huskers 21.  Nebraska, 0-2 Big Ten, 0-2 Big Ten West.  

News reports of 28% of the population of Nebraska committing suicide after this game may have been overstated.

So the team then went north to visit the Golden Rodents.  This was less trouble, as Nebraska lead it 14-7 after 1, and then 24-14 at halftime.  The Bugeaters would get one TD in the 3rd to go up 31-14, and then they outscored the Rodents 17-11 in the 4th to win the game 48-25.  The Bugeaters, no turnovers in this game, the Rodents, 3.

Huskers, 1-2 Big Ten, 1-2 B1G West.

And then, the MIldcats visited the Bugeaters.  

After 1, 7-5 Bugeaters.  After 2, 17-12 Mildcats.

After 3, 20-19 Mildcats.  Then 5 seconds into the 4th, Nebraska would kick a 48 yard field goal to take the lead at 22-20.

But the Mildcats would get a 37 yard passing TD at the 9:53 mark, and then 2:30 later, kicked a 27 yard field goal, as the Cats would lead it 30-22.

But the Huskers would get an Armstrong 3 yard rushing TD with 4:23 left, and they tried to go for 2 to tie the game.  But Armstrong’s pass was off target and no good, and the Bugeater defense could never get the ball back, and there the game ended, Mildcats 30, Bugeaters 28.

Huskers, 3-5, 1-3 in the Big Ten.  

Next, they went on the road to visit Our Rival.

Most noteworthy, however, was that a foot injury to Armstrong the week before would keep him out of this game.

So the Huskers started junior QB Fyfe, who passed for 407 yards and 4 TDs, but also 4 interceptions.

In fact, 5 total Bugeater turnovers, while Our Rival had zip.  In the end, the turnovers were too much to overcome, as Purdue shocked Nebraska 55-45.  Bugeaters, 1-4 in the conference, and 3-6 overall.

3 weeks ago, the Bugeaters finally had a Big Ten crossover game, as they welcomed in Sparty.

This, a game that looked a bit more Big 12 like, as had the previous game.  

Huskers, 10-3 after 1.  Armstrong was back.

At halftime, 17-13 Spartans..

At the end of 3, 31-20 Spartans.  You figured that would be enough.

But no.  Armstrong ran for a 2 yard TD at the 13:06 mark (2 point conversion failed) to make it 31-26.

The teams traded a few possessions, and then with 4:16 left, Sparty got a 1 yard TD run to make the lead 38-26.  Surely, it was over.

Nope, Nebraska got a TD with 1:47 left to make it 38-33, and Sparty quickly went 3 and out. Nebraska had the ball at their 9 yard line with 38 seconds to play. 

Two quick passes from Armstrong got them 28 and then 33 yards, and they were at the Spartan 30 yard line.  

And then a play that probably should not have counted, Armstrong hit his receiver Reilly on a 30 yard TD with 17 seconds left, that sure looked like the receiver ran out of bounds and was the 1st person to touch the ball when he came in.  But the officials reviewed it, and said that he was forced out, though I think most football fans think they blew the review.  It held up, and the Huskers had shocked the Spartans 39-38.  

Two weeks ago, the Bugeaters traveled to the Garden State, which also has many bugs.

Rutgers, not much of a challenge these days, and for the Huskers, that was the case, as they had a rather easy 31-14 win.  That left them at 5-6 on the year, and 3-4 in the conference.

And then last week, they had a bye.

The jury is out on wether having a bye on week 12 of a 13 week regular season will help, or hurt the momentum of their two game winning streak.  We shall see.

Of course, this is the last game of the regular season for both the Hawks and the Bugeaters, so let’s dive into the stats and see what they can tell us for this game.

The Huskers are lead by now junior QB Armstrong, who missed the Purdue game, but has been the starter in all others.  To date, he is 185 for 338 (54.7%, not great) with 21 passing TDs, but alarmingly, also 12 interceptions.

Of course, he is also a running QB, though not as much of a threat as some others we have faced.  His high for yardage is 7 carries for 63 against Southern Miss.

His top receiver is Westerkamp, #1, a junior.  He has 61 catches for 833 yards, and 7 TDs.  The top 4 pass catchers are all wideouts, you don’t get to a tight end until Carter, #11, with 18 catches for 221 yards, and 2 TDs.  

Running the ball, the top guy is junior Newby, #34.  He has 134 carries for 709 yards, and 5 rushing TDs.  But in his last two games, 4 carries for 8 yards against MSU, and just 1 for 4 yards against Rutgers, so we may see other tailbacks be featured.  

The passing yards per game checks in at 272.7, which is good for 2nd in the Big Ten and 33rd overall.  But on top of Armstrong’s 12 picks were 5 more by the backup, and the 17 interceptions is 13th in the Big Ten, and 121st in the FBS.  So it’s rather feast or famine, the pics come when Armstrong is pressured. whereas C.J. is a threat downfield when the play breaks down and he has to be on the move.

Their rushing offense nets just over 170 a game, good for 6th, and 66th.  But we shall see how well they do if the starter is too banged up to be effective.  

All those interceptions, with 5 lost fumbles, and that leaves the Bugeaters turnover margin at -10.  13th in the B1G, and 115th overall.  Here is where the game may turn.

On defense, Nebraska allows 109.8 rushing yards per game, just behind the Hawks in that category.  But they have not faced a team with the depth and versatility at tailback that Iowa has - not to mention, C.J. says he is feeling almost as well as when the season started - so expect Iowa to get the ground game going.  

And that will expose the Nebraska defense and their greatest weakness - pass defense.

305.5 yards per game, 2nd to last in the Big Ten, and 124th (of 128) overall.

And they are especially susceptible to quarterbacks who can get outside the pocket while still keeping their eyes downfield - and to wideouts who realize what is happening and break off their routes to find the open spots in zones.  VandeBerg may have 10 catches this week, with 7 of them going for 1st downs.

And we have seen over the past couple weeks, C.J. finding his tight ends wide open down the middle as our running game brings the opposing safeties up to the line.  Between them, VandeBerg in the slot, and the Smiths on the outside, look for C.J. to have his first 300 yard day - but do even better, and push 400 yards.

Sure, the Bugeaters will come out flying, trying to knock off the highest rated team that has visited them in many seasons.  And to get to the 6-6 mark to be actually bowl-eligible.

But make no mistake - Iowa has had this game in their sites since the meltdown in the final 18 minutes last year.  

And the Hawks keep hearing the national talking heads who can’t believe we are ranked near the top of the charts.  The team will not be looking ahead to the Big Ten Title game - they will be focused on one thing, finishing the season strong, and making the Cornhuskers aware that this rivalry is alive and well.

The Hawks top 530 yards of offense, as C.J. matches his personal best with 3 TDs, with a rushing TD to boot.  The Iowa tailbacks pick up 195 on the ground, and that chews up 35:50 of the clock, which keeps the Iowa defense fresh, and frustrates the Husker fans and team as Iowa keeps drives alive.

The Hawks make a statement for all the pundits that have been asking for it. And then, onto Indy, and the focus on either the Spartans, Wolverines, or Buckeyes.

Hawkeyes 45, Bugeaters 24. 

GO HAWKS!!!

SEDGE

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