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Home / Without steady rush attack, Iowa offense doesn’t look Iowa
IOWA CITY - For the second straight week, Iowa's rushing leader is absolutely unexpected.
Last week, it was wide receiver Tevaun Smith, who gained 35 yards on a reverse. This week, it's quarterback Jake Rudock, who gained 36 yards on 10 carries.
Iowa's running game has gone from the hammer that defines to missing.
'It just didn't look good,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. 'Part of it was it appeared to me, at least from the sidelines, they weren't going to let us run the ball the way we want to.”
Junior Jordan Canzeri led Iowa running backs with 26 yards on five carries. He did all of his damage midway through the third quarter and then Iowa, trailing 13-3, lost its nerve, or patience, with the running game.
Senior Mark Weisman? Ferentz said he's healthy. Weisman carried just six times for 13 yards.
During a stretch in the second quarter, Iowa rushed just four times in 21 plays. One of those was a sack and another was a Rudock scramble.
'We're going to have to better figure this out because clearly we're not running the ball as effectively as we need to,” Ferentz said. 'It's something we have to revisit tomorrow and think about between now and next Tuesday before we start practicing again.”
Ferentz said Ball State was an odd preparation. BSU defensive coordinator Kevin Kelly is in his first season at the school.
'We moved the front and pressured quite a bit with run blitzes,” BSU coach Pete Lembo said. 'We didn't generate a ton of negative plays, but they had to earn every yard they got on first and second down.”
Iowa's 29 attempts were its fewest since 27 last season in week 7 at Ohio State. It's also the fewest for the Hawkeyes in a victory at Kinnick Stadium since a 31-13 victory over Minnesota in 2012. The 113 rushing yards were the fewest in a Kinnick victory since 76 against Pitt on Sept. 17, 2011.
'We didn't establish anything really in that run game, especially in the first half [Iowa had 24 yards on 15 carries in the first half],” Ferentz said. 'We're going to really have to look hard at that, but I thought we adjusted a little bit better in the third quarter.”
The offense is tied together. Iowa's passing game reads a defense's safeties. The passing game hasn't stressed safeties in the first two games, allowing defenses to cheat on the run, stacking the line of scrimmage and calling run blitzes.
'We've struggled getting it going, but we have faith in our guys,” Rudock said. 'We have faith in our offensive line, we have faith in our running backs and we have faith in [offensive line coach] Brian Ferentz that they'll get it going. This is Iowa, we like to run the ball and we'll get it going.”
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