October 19, 2017

The Eternal Season - Sedge's 2017 Iowa Football Game Notes - Week 8: Hawkeyes @ Mildcats

Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2017 Edition
Iowa’s Record: 4-2, 1-2 Big Ten, 1-0 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP: 2 votes
Coaches: 0 votes
College Football Playoff:
*Times Eastern

September 2nd, v. Wyoming, WIN 24-3
September 9th, @ Iowa State, WIN 44-41 OT
September 16th, v. North Texas, WIN 31-14
September 23rd, v. Penn State, Loss 21-19
September 30th,  @ Michigan State, Loss 17-10
October 7th, v. •Illinois, WIN 45-16
October 15th, Bye Week
October 21st, @ •Northwestern, 12:00 pm, ESPN2
October 28th, v. •Minnesota, 6:30 pm, FS1
November 4th, v. Ohio State, TBD
November 11th, @ •Wisconsin, TBD
November 18th, v. •Purdue, TBD
November 24th, @ •Nebraska, 4:00 pm, FS1 Black Friday

•Big Ten West Division Game

December 2nd, Big Ten Championship Game
Lucas Oil Arena, Indianapolis  

Scouting next opponent
October 21st, Illinois @ Minnesota, 3:30 pm, BTN

*Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
October 21st, 2017: Iowa @ Northwestern Mildcats, 3-3, 1-2 Big 10, 0-1 B1G West
Previous Meetings: 78, Iowa leads 50-25-3
Last Meeting: 2016, Hawkeyes 31 Mildcats 38

Kinnick Color of the Week:

Current Line: Iowa -1

Turnover Margin: 0,  B1G #6 FBS #59

Interceptions: 8, B1G #3, FBS #22

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2017 Through Week 7
Total   356.7  Pass 218.0  Rush 138.7  Scoring 28.8
B1G    #10           #7                #9                 #5
FBS    #99    #72              #90               #64
Total   388.3  Pass 242.7 Rush 147.7     Scoring 18.7
B1G    #10            #12            #9                 #6
FBS    #70            #96            #58                #21
Wisconsin   6-0, 3-0 B1G, 3-0 B1G West
Nebraska     3-4, 2-2 B1G, 1-1 B1G West
Iowa                 4-2, 1-2 B1G, 1-0 B1G West
Purdue     3-3, 1-2 B1G, 1-1 B1G West
Northwestern   3-3, 1-2 B1G, 0-1 B1G West
Minnesota   3-3, 0-3 B1G, 0-1 B1G West
Illinois     2-4, 0-3 B1G, 0-2 B1G West
WEEK 6: Illinois

Thank you Illinois, for being the bad team we thought you were.  

Highlight of the game - just 6 months after tearing his ACL in spring ball, Brandon Snyder returned to the field, and on a bad overthrow, took the ball back for an 89 yard pick-six, the rest of the defense his wingmen as he took it down the near sideline:

So that left that Hawks at 1-0 in the Big Ten West - and into the bye week.  To rest up, recover, game plan, and perhaps, add some new wrinkles to the offense (maybe defense).  A 6 week run to Black Friday, get to bowl eligibility,  then move up the bowl ladder.  But first, a visit to Chicago, where Iowa at Mildcat games often look similar to Iowa home games.  

WEEK 8:  Northwestern

Back in the summer time, the conventional wisdom was that the Badgers controlled the West, but the Mildcats might be able to challenge them for the top spot.  But at the halfway point, they are more like the Mildcats we grew up with (Iowa beat them 20 straight years, 1974-1994 - and often, with scores like - 62-10).  I vividly remember the 1995 game when that streak ended.  Of course, their coach hates Iowa, famously breaking his leg against the Hawks. But now that our own OC is a former player who played in this more competitive series, I think the Iowa offense will be looking to put up some Hayden worthy numbers Saturday.

The Mildcats opened the 17 season hosting Nevada, and this was a tough game for them, trailing the Wolfpack 17-10 at halftime.  Of course, Mildcats<Wolves, but the Kittens got things back in the 2nd half, winning 31-20.

In week 2, the MIldcats went to Duke, where they had a chance to beat the Blue Devils,  a rare time when all Big Ten teams can come together, a chance to beat Duke.

Oh wait, that is college basketball,  the B1G Media Days are going in in NYC right now, so got some hoops on the mind.  

But the Mildcats were no match for the Blue Devils, losing 41-17.  

Back at home in week 3, the Mildcats took on Bowling Green.  Of note in this easy 49-7 win, Mildcat QB Thorson, a career high 370 passing yards.

That had the Mildcats at 2-1 as they traveled to Camp Randall to open the B1G slate.

This, a sluggish, kind of ugly game (unless you love defense) for the first half, the Mildcats actually lead the Badgers 10-7 at the half, after 2 Badger thrown interceptions.  

But the Badgers restored order in the 2nd half, jumping out to a 31-10 lead.  But the Mildcats did make things interesting in the 4th, scoring back to back TDs to cut the lead to 31-24.  And then they forced the Badgers into a 3 and out, and got the ball back with just over a minute left, deep in Mildcat territory.

But alas for the Cats, the Badgers sacked Thorson in the end zone, a safety, and that made the final score 33-24.  They Mildcats stood at 0-1 Big 10.

The MIldcats returned home to face Penn State.  

We did better against Penn State than the Mildcats did, the Cats losing 31-7. That 7 for the Mildcats coming with 1:46 left in the 4th, when it was all over, except for the sad meowing of 0-2 Big 10 Mildcats.

But then last week, the Mildcats headed to Maryland.  

This was better for the Cats, where they beat the Terps 37-21.  In this game, Jackson became the all-time Mildcat rushing leader, with his 171 yard day.  The Mildcats then sat at 1-2 Big 10.

And here come the Hawkeyes, to a city with tens of thousands of Hawkeye alumni living nearby.  

The Mildcats are lead by now junior QB Thorson, #18.  He is 137 for 227, for 1,496 yards, with 8 tds, but ominously, 9 interceptions.  He has also been sacked 20 times.

He is a mobile-ish QB, but the most he has run for is 43 yards, against Maryland.  Against the good teams, and with all those sacks, he is mostly in the negative for rushing yards.  But he is one who can keep a play alive with his feet while still looking downfield, so the Hawks must contain him, and stay engaged on the back end.

The top rusher, and now all-time rushing yards leader, Jackson, #21.  He has 108 carries for 510 yards, with 6 rushing tds.  He also has 21 catches for 129 yards - so he must be watched out of the backfield.

Their top receiver is Slowronek, #88, a sophomore, who has 21 catches for 304 yards and 2 tds.

The top tight end is Dickerson, #9, a senior.  He also has 21 catches, for 231 yards, and 1 td.

Against Maryland, the Mildcats ran a hurry up offense for much of the game, but they also controlled the clock for 35:57 - which is a bit odd, for a hurry up team.  To be determined what they will try to do Saturday, of course a good defense can stop a hurry up offense by keeping it ‘behind the chains.’

What do the stats tell us, now that the season is 50% complete?

Mildcat 3rd down conversion %, offense - 36.8.  11th B1G, 81 overall
Mildcat 3rd down conversion % defense - 43.3.  11th, 103rd

On the strength of those 9 interceptions by Thorson, the Mildcats are -1 in turnover margin - 13th, and 110th overall.

Tackles for a loss, allowed - 7 per game.  That is 11th and 107th.  An opportunity  for the Hawkeye defense to force 3rd and longs - and then snag those Thorson passes.

They only average 1.8 yards a punt return, which is 14th and 124th.  On the flip side, they allow 9.2 yards a punt return, which is 11th and 89th.  Perhaps, a punt return TD for the Hawks?  Rivalry games like this often turn on a special teams play.

They are middle of the road in both total offense and total defense, not much to glean for those stats.

Then there is scoring defense - the Mildcats are at 25.5, or about a TD more than the Hawkeye defense.  

So what can we expect Saturday?  

The Mildcats will probably at least start out trying to load 8 or 9 into the box to stop Iowa from getting the running game going.  So with the bye week, I think we are going to see Brain calling some plays to open things up from the start.  Quick slants to First Down, Wadley in the slot, using the tight ends to open up the middle of the field - and yes, with KOK back, the jailbreak screen has found it’s way back into the Iowa offense - and when called at the right time, can often go for 20 yards or more.  

And with the increase in Iowa passing yards, then the Iowa running game will get going.  

The Hawks rush for 200+ on the Mildcats, but it’s Nate who continues has run up the Iowa record books (at the midway point, he has 15 td passes - the Iowa recored is 27), as he has a 300 yard day with 4 more td passes.  And yes, one of them longer than 60 yards!

While the Iowa offense has found another gear out of the bye week, the Iowa defense will be tasked with taking away Jackson, so the back 7 can focus on snagging errant passes.  I think they hold the Mildcat rushing game to just 65 net, and they do pick up 3 of those passes, and bring one of them back for another pick-six.  Iowa holds the ball for 38 minutes, and by the 4th quarter,  the Mildcats are simply road meat.

Hawkeyes 51, Mildcats 20.  Hayden worthy!  



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