November 24, 2016

The Eternal Season - Sedge's 2016 Iowa Football Game Notes, Week 13: Cornhuskers @ Hawkeyes

Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2016 Edition
Iowa’s Record: 7-4, 5-3 Big Ten, 3-2 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
College Football Playoff:
*Times Eastern

September 3rd, v. Miami (Ohio), WIN 45-21
September 10th, v. Iowa State, WIN 42-3
September 17th, v. North Dakota State, Loss 23-21
September 24th, @ Rutgers, WIN 14-7
October 1st, v. •Northwestern, Loss 38-31
October 8th, @ Minnesota, WIN 14-7
October 15th, @ •Purdue, WIN 49-35
October 22nd, v. •Wisconsin, Loss 17-9
October 29th, Bye Week
November 5th, @ Penn State, Loss 41-13
November 12th, v. Michigan, WIN 14-13
November 19th, @ •Illinois, WIN 28-0
November 25th, v. •Nebraska, 3:32 pm, ABC

•Big Ten West Division Game

December 3rd, Big Ten Title Game, 8:00 pm, FOX

Scouting next opponent: 
Bowl Game TBD

*Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
November 25th, 2016, Iowa v. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, 4-1 B1G West
Previous Meetings: 46, Nebraska leads 29-4-3
Last Meeting: 2015, Hawkeyes 28, Cornhuskers 20

Kinnick Color of the Week:

Current Line: Iowa -3

Turnover Margin: +7,  B1G #4, FBS #19

Interceptions: 7, B1G #12, FBS #92

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2016
Total   326.5  Pass 162.9  Rush 163.5  Scoring 25.5
B1G    #12           #12               #9                    #8
FBS    #121    #113             #79                  #87
Total   365.2  Pass 206.3 Rush 158.9    Scoring 18.6
B1G    #8               #8              #8                    #4
FBS    #31             #39            #50                  #15
Wisconsin   9-2, 6-2 B1G, 5-0 B1G West
Nebraska     9-2, 6-2 B1G, 4-1 B1G West
Minnesota     8-3, 5-3 B1G, 3-2 B1G West
Iowa                 7-4, 5-3 B1G, 3-2 B1G West
Northwestern   5-6, 4-4 B1G, 2-3 B1G West
Illinois     3-8, 2-6 B1G, 0-5 B1G West
Purdue     3-8, 1-7 B1G, 1-4 B1G West
 Week 12: Illinois

Well, even Lovie didn’t seem to be too interested in this one, judging from his sideline demeanor.  Yes it started very slowly for the Iowa offense, the wind and cold plaguing the eastern half of the country made have had something to do with that.  

It was the Iowa special teams that provide the first spark. Due to the high winds, Kirk had McCarron back there with King on punt returns, figuring it would be hard for one guy to track the ball due to the high winds.  And while the entire Illinois coverage went to King - this happened:

If scoring at home, that is three punt returns for McCarron this year, one for 38 yards, and one for 55 with a touchdown.  He also had a 17 yard return later in the game.  He is technically a senior, but has only played 3 seasons, (missed 2014 due to injury), so maybe he will be the guy back there on punts next season, as King has moved on.  Those punts would seem to be in good hands.  

So the 1st half ended at 7-0, and Iowa fans were a bit concerned.  But after Iowa kicked off again to start the 3rd (Kirk had won the toss, but declined taking ball/defense, instead choosing end to defend/play, giving Iowa the wind in the 2nd and 4th quarters.  By so doing, Iowa kicked off both to start the game, and to start the 2nd half), Iowa got the running game really going, an Illinois was still unable to do really anything with the ball.

That running game, Jr 26 for 159, 6.1 per, with the two TDs, a 1 yard score midway through the 3rd to make the game 14-0, and then the 50 yard run midway through the 4th, that basically put the Illinois fans, players, and coaches to sleep for the rest of the game.

Wadley, 13 for 82, 6.3 per, and the final TD at the 4:41 mark of the 4th to round out the scoring. Yes, he did have that one fumble, trying to stretch the ball forward after his great run got the Hawks inside the 5 yard line.  I trust he learned his lesson.  Clearly he will be getting 20 plus carries next year. 

With C.J.’s 10 yards, plus the other jet screen type plays, the Hawks racked up 262 on the ground.  And as the Iowa O line was this past Saturday, all 5 are back in 2017.  Weeeeeee.

C.J., hurt by the wind, and by my count, at least 4 drops were he put the ball where it should have been caught.  Overall, 9 of 17, for 80 yards, and the one interception, on a play where one ball that was not caught popped up in the air.  

The Hawkeye defense only gave Illinois 194 net, that 61 yards on 24 carries, 2.5 per, and 137 yards on 19 of 41 for Lunt, who made the mistake of trying to go deep on King, and Desmond got his 2nd pick of the season on the play.  

Due to Iowa kicking off to start the 1st and 3rd quarters, and Illinois getting goose egged, the Iowa kick return team never took the field.  So they should be well rested to leave their mark this week.  

So Iowa gets the road winning streak, well, started, one week after they got the Kinnick winning streak, well, started.  Now time to continue the latter.  

Week 13: Nebraska

Well sadly, the Huskers and Badgers are the only teams left that can win the West, which is moot if the Badgers beat the Golden Rodents on Saturday (they would finish 6-0 in the west with the win).  So the Huskers don’t have their fate in their hands.

During the summer, that accident in Wisconsin claimed the life of senior to be punter Sam Foltz.  Since, the Huskers have been memorializing him by keeping his locker as it was, bringing his jersey out onto the field, and on Senior Day last week, placing a red rose on the 27 yard line (Foltz’s number), and each player going over to embrace Foltz’s parents.  A sad situation for Nebraska, and the Big Ten.  

They opened the season with two easy games, 43-10 over Fresno State, and 52-17 over Wyoming.  But in week 3, the had quite a battle with then #22 Oregon (who is 4-7 now).  NU had to score with 2:29 left to beat the Ducks 35-32.

To open the Big Ten they went to visit the Mildcats and Nebraska racked up 556 yards of offense in the 24-13 win.  

A week later, Illinois came in an had a 16-10 lead on the Huskers as the 3rd quarter came to an end.  But then the Huskers got 3 TDs in the 4th, and cruised over the final 15 to a 31-16 in.  

Now ranked 10th, the Huskers went to Indiana.  Nebraska lead 17-0 after 1, 17-8 at halftime, and then 17-15 at the end of the 3rd.  But the Huskers would get 10 points in the 4th to the Hoosiers 7, and that was the difference in the 27-22 Nebraska win.

Our Rival then went to Lincoln, and actually lead the Huskers 14-10 at the half.  But then Nebraska woke up, and Our Rival remembered who they were, and Nebraska would pull away in the 2nd half, to a 27-14 win.  

Now ranked 7th, the Huskers went to Madison. This was another hard fought game, that ended up going to OT tied at 17.  The Badgers got the ball first and would score a TD, but they then missed the extra point, opening the door for Nebraska.  But, the Badger defense stopped Armstrong on back to back passes on 3rd and 4th down and 8, and the Badgers had hung on to win 23-17.

Now ranked 10th, the Huskers traveled to Columbus.  

And probably wished - they hadn’t.  After the 1st, 14-3 Buckeyes.
At the half, 31-3 Buckeyes.
After 3, 55-3 Buckeyes.
And it finished 62-3 Ohio State, Nebraska’s worse loss since 2004.  Worse yet, Armstrong was knocked out of this game with an apparent head injury, in fact he was taken out of the stadium in an ambulance during the 2nd quarter. But Armstrong did return late in the 3rd quarter, to the sideline that is, in street clothes.  

But he was back a week later as the Huskers welcomed in the Rodents.  

At halftime, this was a 17-10 Rodent lead, but in the 3rd, Nebraska would tie it up at 17, and they would get the only TD of the 4th to win 24-17.  But in this game, Armstrong had an ankle injury that had to have him carried off the field, only to return, and injure his hamstring on a running play during the 4th quarter.  

In the last game, Armstrong sat on the sideline as Nebraska went with senior QB Fyfe, #17, to face Maryland.  

He went 23 for 37, for 220 yards, with 1 TD in this game, as the Huskers had little trouble with the Terps, 28-7.  But, Fyfe then broke a bone in his left wrist (he is a righty), which would not effect throwing per se, but maybe receiving the snap might be an issue.  

However, there is word this Wednesday eve that it will be Armstrong who will start Friday.  

To date, he is 138 for 259, 53.3% (eh), for 2055 yards, with 13 TDs, 8 interceptions (that is the Armstrong we know and love), and he has been sacked just 6 times.  But we shall see how his mobility is this week.  

The top tailback is Newby, #34, a senior.  He has 171 carries for 825 yards, and 7 TDs.  He has also caught 15 balls for 136 with 1 score. 

Armstrong is actually the 2nd leading rusher, with 107 carries, for 499 yards, and 8 rushing TDs.  Again we will see if he is actually mobile this week.  If not, Hawks likely to feast on his passing.  

His top receiver is now senior Westerkamp, #1.  He has 34 catches for 476 yards, and 5 TDs.  I do expect that King may line up with Westerkamp on most snaps this week.  Morgan Jr, #8, has 28 catches for 397 yards.

The top tight end is senior Carter, #11. But he has just 16 catches for 149 and 1 TD on the year, so expect Iowa to be able to cover him with our linebackers. 

Perhaps the most alarming stat for the Huskers is that they have had 3 punts and 1 field goal blocked.  Clearly, if they are hedging to keep the Iowa rush away from their kickers, that gives more time to King/McCarron/Whomever who might be returning the kicks.  This week would be great, King.  

You may also be surprised, the schools who have lost the least amount of fumbles - Nevada, Old Dominion, and Iowa - with 2 each.  If Armstrong can play the whole game, I think Iowa can be +3 on the turnover margin. 

If Armstrong can’t go, and Fyfe is not effective, the 3rd QB option is a guy who has been playing receiver for the past couple seasons.  Look for Iowa to try and tee off on the Nebraska QBs from the beginning, while also continuing the recent trend of good rush defense.  If Iowa can take Newby away, we focus in on those errant Armstrong passes.  

Yes, the Huskers are playing for a long shot at the B1G West title.  But the Hawks are playing the final home game for the seniors, including C.J., Jr, Kittle (yes, he is a go this week), and others.  With a win here, Iowa salvages a season that did not meet expectations, but can still end well.  Hawks force 4 Bugeater turnovers, while C.J. does finally get back over 200 in the air, combined with 200 on the ground for Jr and Wadley.  Once Iowa takes away the Nebraska running game, it’s open season on their QBs.  Hawkeyes 31, Huskers 13.