December 30, 2015

The Eternal Season - Sedge's 2015 Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2016 Rose Bowl: Stanford @ Iowa

Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2015 Edition
Iowa’s Record: 12-1, 8-0 Big Ten, 6-0 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP: 6th
USA Today: 7th
College Football Playoff: 5th

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, WIN 28-20

December 5th, Big Ten Title Game, Michigan State @ Iowa, Loss 16-13

January 1st, Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual, Stanford @ Iowa, 5:10 pm, ESPN

•Big Ten West Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting next opponent: Back in 2016

*Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
January 1st, 2016  Iowa v. #6 Stanford Cardinal, 11-2, 8-1 Pac 12, 5-1 Pac 12 North
Previous Meetings: 0
Last Meeting:

Kinnick Color of the Week:

Current Line: Iowa +6.5

Turnover Margin: +12,  B1G #2, FBS #9

Interceptions: 18, B1G #1, FBS #9

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2015 Regular Season Final
Total   393.8  Pass 201.8  Rush 192.0  Scoring 32.1
B1G    #5              #11                #5                    #4
FBS    #70            #89               #40                  #47
Total   334.2  Pass 219.3  Rush 114.9    Scoring 18.5
B1G    #6              #8                 #4                   #5
FBS    #21            #61               #11                 #13
Big Ten West Standings: Final
Iowa *                12-0, 8-0 B1G, 6-0 B1G West
Northwestern   10-2, 6-2 B1G, 5-1 B1G West
Wisconsin   9-3, 6-2 B1G, 4-2 B1G West
Nebraska             5-7, 3-5 B1G, 1-5 B1G West
Illinois             5-7, 2-6 B1G, 2-4 B1G West
Minnesota     5-7, 2-6 B1G, 2-4 B1G West
Purdue             2-10, 1-7 B1G, 1-5 B1G West

* Clinched Big Ten West

Rose Bowl: Stanford

As the week of the Big Ten title game went on, we knew at least one thing - that the winner of the game would be in the final four, their ticket punched to the FBS playoff.

What we did not know, was which bowl the loser would end up in.   A game that was not close, the lose likely dropping below Ohio State, and the Buckeyes would head to Pasadena.  But a close game, maybe the loser could stay above OSU.

And our defeat to the Spartans was close enough.  We found out the next afternoon that the Hawkeyes had just slipped to #5, and that locked up our matchup with Stanford in the Grandaddy of them all.

The Hawkeyes have been playing football since 1899, the Cardinal (singular, named not for the bird, but the schools red color) since 1892, but never once have Iowa and Stanford met on the gridiron.

Until New Year’s Day.  

This will be the 102nd Rose Bowl - it began with a 49-0 win by Michigan over Stanford in 1902, but it did not continue again until 1916, and it has been played in early January every year since (not quite always on the 1st, due to the BCS era, a few days into January a couple times).  And the Rose Bowl was not in Pasadena on January 1st 1942, Oregon State beat Duke in Durham, North Carolina (just 3 weeks after December 7th, 1941, they moved the game off the west coast).

 It was 1947 that the traditional Big Ten/Pac 10 matchup was born.  That year, Illinois beat UCLA 45-14.

This will mark the 6th appearance of the Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl - the great Evashevski teams of the late 1950’s won the 1957 Rose Bowl 35-19 over Oregon State, and they were back in the 1959 Rose Bowl, a 38-12 win over California.  It was after that win that the Football Writers Association of America declared Iowa the 1958 National Champions.

Those Hawkeye teams are the last Iowa teams to finish the season in the Top 5 of the AP poll.

(You recall the 31 win Iowa teams between 2002 and 2004, each team finished 8th after the bowls were done).

Then of course, the Dark Ages of Iowa Football, the 60s and 70s, not broken until Hayden made his way north to Iowa City.

He first took the Hawks to the Rose Bowl after the 1981 season, but that was a 28-0 loss to Washington.

The Hawks were back there on January 1st 1986, but that is a game most Hawkeye fans would like to forget, as it’s a near certainty that Ronnie Harmon (4 lost fumbles, one wide open dropped pass in the end zone) threw the game due to association with gamblers.  

Our last appearance in the Rose Bowl was January 1st, 1991, that Iowa team quarterbacked by Matt Rodgers fell to Washington 46-34.  

After the Hawkeyes finished the Big Ten 8-0 in 2002, the Iowa players were walking around with roses - but due to the BCS we ended up in the Orange Bowl.  That game started well, but then not so much.  So it’s been 25 years from 1991 to 2016, and we finally make our return to Pasadena.

Stanford had appeared in BCS bowls after the 2010 through the 2013 season, until they slipped to 8-5 in 2014, with a win in the Foster Farms Bowl over Maryland, so they entered the preseason at #21 in the AP poll.  The Hawks of course, were not ranked anywhere when the season began.

The Cardinal are lead by senior QB Hogan, #8.  He is 6’4 and 218 lbs, so a good size for a QB, and more of a pocket passer per se, but he does pull the ball down to run on occasion.  This season, which includes the Pac 12 title game, he is 194 for 283 (68.6%) for 2644 yards, with 24 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.  He has been sacked 18 times. 

The most that he has run was against Washington State, where he tugged the ball 14 times for 112 yards.  But in the last two games, 8 and 7 carries, for 18 yards each.  

To date, Hogan has won 35 games as the Cardinal starter.

When it comes to running, Stanford has someone else to do the job.

That would be true sophomore Christian McCaffrey, #5.

In his first full season as the starter, 319 carries, for 1847 yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns.

But also, 41 catches for 540 yards, with 4 receiving touchdowns.  

Oh, and throw in his punt returns, 14 for 67 yards, and his kickoff returns of 41 for 1,133 yards, and that adds up to 3,496 total yards from scrimmage, and that broke the record of Barry Sanders (3,250) for a Division 1 tailback.

And that was good enough to get him 2nd place in the Heisman Trophy finals.

So our usual defensive philosophy of minimizing the running game to feast on balls flying through the air will be put to the test Friday.  With almost a month to prepare, we shall see what Phil Parker can cook up.

The top wideout threats are Rector, #3, a senior, 32 catches for 486 yards, with 5 touchdowns.

And then Hooper, #18, a junior tight end, with 31 catches for 415 yards and 6 touchdowns.

So the offense will look similar to Hawkeye fans, tailbacks in the back, tight ends on the line, the QB looking to throw first, and then run when he has to.

Here are some of the key season to date stats for the Cardinal offense.

Passing offense, 210.9.  10th in the Pac 12, 77th FBS.
Rushing offense, 225.1.  2nd, and 18th.  Obviously mostly McCaffrey.

3rd Down Conversion %, 51.2%, #1 Pac 12, #2 FBS.  
Scoring offense, 37.2, #3 Pac 12, #19 FBS.

Clearly, they are able to control the clock with their running game and high 3rd down conversion percentage.  The Hawks must do a good job of limiting the Stanford running game, and getting off the field when we force 3rd and longs.  Their time of possession average is 35:23, which is number 1 in both the Pac 12 and FBS, so the Hawkeye defense must get stops when they have the chance.

The Cardinal base defense is a 3/4 set up, similar to the Badgers.  Let’s have a look at the stats to see what we can learn from this unit’s performance.

3rd down conversion % defense, 36.9%  3rd in the Pac 12, 51st in FBS.  That is a pretty good number, so the Hawkeye offense must stay ahead of the chains on 1st and 2nd down.

Rushing yards allowed, 149.9  4th, and 39th.  Opportunity here for our thunder and lightening ground attack to find some yards.

Passing yards allowed, 227.6  5th and 70th.  They have only picked off 7 passes all year, which ranks last in the Pac 12 and 105th in the FBS.  So look for C.J. to spread the ball around, and take his shots early if Stanford creeps up to slow down the running game.

In fact, Stanford is even for turnover margin on the year, so this may be an opening for Iowa to take advantage of.

Scoring defense, 23.1  3rd Pac 12 and 38th FBS.

There is not anything in the punting stats that tells us much, they actually don’t do much on the return side themselves, as McCaffrey is doing kickoff returns mostly.  We know from the on site media that Iowa has been working on kickoff coverage in practice this week.  Stanford does give up about 22 yards on their kickoffs, so maybe we can go toe to toe with McCaffrey on kicks.

Their senior kicker is 17 out of 19 on the year, with a long of 52 yards, so this seems to be a push with Koehn.  

So across the board, it looks like a pretty even matchup.  Yes, Stanford has one of the top tailbacks in the nation, but I think the Hawks can match him with our 4 Horseman running game.  

Stanford’s season started with the 16-6 loss at Northwestern.  It was the Mildcat defense that did it, only allowing the Cardinal 85 net rushing yards, 66 for McCaffrey.  But then they put together a winning streak that had them ranked #7 in the FBS when Oregon came calling on November 15th.

This was a back and forth game, 14-10 Ducks after the 1st, and 23-21 Cardinal at halftime.

But then Oregon scored the only 2 TDs in the 3rd quarter, so they had the 35-23 lead at the end of the 3rd.

Stanford got a 3 yard pass at 11:18 of the 4th to make the score 35-30, then with 5:12 left Oregon made a 31 yard field goal, which increased the lead to 38-30.

Then with 1:03 left, Stanford got the ball at the Oregon 49 yard line.

They moved the ball down over the course of 10 plays, and with 10 seconds left, they scored on a 4 yard pass, and then lined up for the tying 2 point conversion.

Hogan dropped back to pass, and just as his man came over the middle, he released the ball just as he got drilled, the pass was on target to his tight end, but a Duck defender dived and knocked the ball down, and the conversion was no good.  

So the Ducks won the game 38-36.  Stanford had 3 turnovers in this one, including two 4th quarter fumbles by Hogan on snaps that Oregon recovered.  So we will see what the high pressure of this Rose Bowl might do to his confidence if the Hawks are leading in the 2nd half.

That 2nd loss knocked Stanford out of contention for the playoff, but they finished up the season by beating Cal and then Notre Dame (yay), before thumping USC in the Pac 12 title game.

So that is the matchup.  What is going to happen Friday afternoon?

To start, this will be Stanford’s 3rd Rose Bowl in the last 4 seasons.  Up until mid November they were in contention for the playoff, so we have to wonder about their mindset, especially if Iowa can get an early lead.

The Rose Bowl seats 92,000 people. I have seen estimates of Iowa fans at 50,000, but I think that is low.  We have not been in the game in 25 years, so I think we will be more like 60,000.

Regardless, I’m sure the Iowa fans will out-shout the Stanford fans, so as long as the Hawks are doing well, it will feel and sound like a home game for them (we are the home team, so In The Black).

After seeing some of the Stanford highlights I found, I think that Iowa can have success both getting the run established (who it will be, it seems the coaches will try them out to see who has the hot hand), while C.J. will also be able to take some middle to long throws down the field.  If the Iowa O line can give him the time to make his reads, I think he can have a big day.

You know the Iowa tailbacks won’t want to be shown up by McCaffrey.  If Canzeri is 100% (seems he is), I think we will find yardage with his speed and Daniels power.  Remember with the 3/4 defense the O lineman may be getting more blocks on the linebackers, allowing the tailbacks to find those creases and surge ahead. 

And then, the defense.  They know what they have to do.

McCaffrey is held to 70 yards net, as Iowa forces 3 Stanford turnovers that result in 17 points.  Iowa rushes for 220 combined, and the balance with C.J. throwing for 290 keeps Iowa drives moving.  For the first time since 1959, the Iowa Hawkeyes are Rose Bowl Champions.

Iowa 38 Stanford 24


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