Best week of the college football season for fans in the state of Iowa hands down. All four of the Division One teams in the state (Iowa and Iowa State in FBS, UNI and Drake in FCS) won their games in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Chances are if you bought a ticket to any of these games, you got your money’s worth.
Start with the big one in Iowa City. Who would have thought that the game would come down to the Hawkeye DEFENSE making a stop? After Michigan drove to the Iowa three the Hawks stopped the Wolverines on four straight plays. To be fair, Iowa got a bit lucky in the situation in that Denard Robinson didn’t want to risk running and getting stopped with no timeouts. But Iowa’s defense played it’s classic bend-but-don’t-break style effectively all day, and made more plays when it mattered most.
|Just realized Brady Hoke isn’t Bo Schembechler|
In this blog last night I said I thought the Wolverines were overrated. Much like Iowa they showed that they again are a soft road team. Defensively Michigan made some big stops late, but Iowa’s offensive line dominated, opening big holes for Marcus Coker and giving James Vandenberg all day to pass.
The other key was making Robinson throw the football. If this guy were half the passer that he is a runner Michigan would never lose. Then again, if Michigan didn’t wait till the fourth quarter to start playing their games, the Wolverines might never lose.
Iowa plays about seven home games a year. They should petition the Big Ten to play ALL of them at Kinnick. I just don’t understand how this team can be so different home and away, even in the play calling. Kirk Ferentz and Ken O’Keefe, the guys who half the Hawkeye fan base wanted run out of town after Minnesota, did a terrific job mixing it up on offense. From fourth down gambles to first down passing, it looked like a different team and staff than the one we saw in Minneapolis.
So suddenly Ferentz can coach again and all is well with the world. And thanks to Nebraska (more on that later) the Hawks once again control their own destiny in the Big 10 legends division.
If Iowa State is the favorite in a game, BET AGAINST THE SPREAD. The last time ISU was favored entering a game they needed two late comebacks to hold off UNI by a point. Today Kansas gave them everything they could handle. Of all things it was a game winning field goal by Zach Guyer that lifted ISU to a 13-10 win.
Once again, ISU struggled to follow up a signature road win, but for the second straight year against KU, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the W. In the postgame presser Paul Rhoads seemed a bit testy. ISU certainly did revert to some of their old mistakes, committing dumb personal fouls and turning the ball over. But at the same time, you had to know Kansas wasn’t going to play as poorly as they did last week. No knock on the Clones, but KU is certainly more comparable in talent to ISU, and the Jayhawks played like this would be their last, best chance to get a win.
Jared Barnett looked like a freshman today, but he sure picked the right team to have a shaky game against. Still, Barnett passed for 175 and RAN for 125. Both he and Jantz can run, but Barnett has the decisiveness to know when to take off that Jantz never did.
The Clones have a bye week before their Friday night showdown with Oklahoma State at Jack Trice. Gonna be a big game for coach Rhoads and staff. Last time they had a bye week they played a terrible and undisciplined game against Texas. Not exactly breaking news here, but OSU is much better than UT.
Nice bounce back win for Northern Iowa, 21-17, over Youngstown State. Tirrell Rennie dressed but didn’t play. Gotta get him healthy if UNI is going to avoid what seems like their annual playoff slump.
And lets give some love to Drake. The Bulldogs scored 14 points in the final five minutes to stun Jacksonville 31-24. They now have the inside track to the Pioneer League title. Gotta wonder if Chris Creighton will start getting some interest from bigger FCS programs. His predeccessor, Rob Ash, certainly has done well for himself. Five years after leaving Drake his Montana State Bobcats are ranked 2nd in FCS.
Lost in the football frenzy-the Drake men’s basketball team lost their exhibition against D2 Quincy 84-74. Mark Phelps seat ain’t getting any cooler.
|Nebraska fans revel in the Huskers dominating the Big 10|
As if the day wasn’t already great for Hawkeye fans, Nebraska laid a big egg at home against…..Northwestern? The same Northwestern with a terrible defense? Guessing that the folks in Lincoln aren’t liking the fact that one of college football’s historically great programs (or in their minds probably the best ever) lost to one of college football’s historically worst programs.
What it all means is that, with a win over Michigan State next Saturday, Iowa will be tied for first in the Legends division with the inside track to winning the division. Of course for that to happen they’ll also have to figure out a way to win on the road, which is now a 1,000 pound gorilla on this program’s back.
After two weeks of endless hype from (primarily) ESPN, the “Game of the Century” between Alabama and LSU…..was won 9-6? If that’s the game of the century the next 89 years are going to be pretty lame.