116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FIVE BULLET POINTS ON BALL STATE RESULT
Quarterback controversy? You know, I love that idea. It's easy work for me. I can write about it every Tuesday for the next 12 weeks. No, just no. Uh uh. Don't see it. Don't buy it. I believe it's a vocal minority that blames Jake Rudock for checkdowns (that was what was there, it moved the chains, it won the game). That's just beyond reasonable. I'm not even fielding those tweets anymore. If you didn't enjoy the final drive and don't think Rudock deserves to start because of a lack of a vertical passing game, just try to consider all the moving parts.
The folks who wonder why backup QB C.J. Beathard saw a series in the first quarter and that was it, you have a valid question. We learned in the postgame that it was a scripted series for Beathard. He was told to be ready and that he might go in later. The biggest difference between the plays Iowa calls Beathard vs. Rudock is zone reads, according to Beathard. Kirk Ferentz and Greg Davis have also talked the differences in their arms. That's probably what people from bullet point No. 1 have trouble coming to grips with. I'd also throw proponents of a more vertical offense in there. Here's what Beathard said about where the Hawkeyes are with vertical passing: 'Coach Davis always says we don't want to force our shots, we want to take them when given. Sometimes, we're just reading coverages. It's harder than anyone knows. Anyone can say, 'Oh, he's wide open.' Maybe it looks that way to you, but I don't know.'
Anyway, the door is now opened on Beathard in the game. Kirk Ferentz was asked the controversy question.
'That was the last thing on my mind,' he said. 'In fact, I hadn't thought about it until you just brought it up. There were a lot of other things I was thinking about.'
Maybe this is Iowa in 2014. Iowa has a talented group of receivers. Underneath or deep, it's a group you want to touch the ball. Iowa has a pair of QBs it likes, really likes. The O-line has two new starters and one who was in and out of games last year. For a series on Saturday, when LT Brandon Scherff went to the lockerroom with a knee injury, the left side was redshirt freshman guard Sean Welsh and redshirt freshman left tackle Ike Boettger. Iowa goes into this week's matchup with Iowa State No. 6 in the country in pass play percentage (65.88). Nearly 70 percent of Iowa's yards have come through the air. Maybe this is Iowa playing to its strengths. This would explain Saturday. This is uncharted territory for Iowa's offense.
Junior running back Jordan Canzeri needs more touches. Last season, he went three games without a carry before he popped Iowa's longest rush of the season against Wisconsin. He then became a piston in the offense. Against Ball State, Canzeri basically got one series. Iowa trailed 13-3. Canzeri gained 27 yards on four carries and helped move the Hawkeyes into field position (true freshman Mick Ellis missed the 29-yarder). Davis and Iowa were forced to abandon the running game after that. Canzeri had another carry earlier for minus-1 and finished with 26 yards on five carries. It took too long to find Canzeri last year and — for whatever reason, it might be that Iowa is questioning how sustainable its rush attack is — so far this year it's headed that way again.
You saw kicker. It's a problem. Junior Marshall Koehn and, it looks like, true freshman Mick Ellis are the guys. True freshman walk-on Miguel Recinos might end up in the mix. Here's what I see in warm-up: Koehn has the strongest leg, the kind of power that should imbue its holder with a world of confidence. This is a between-the-ears thing, Koehn said in the postgame. That's an uh oh. Punter? Dillon Kidd is No. 77 in the nation with 36.56 yards a punt. So far, he's avoided the hook. This is a delicate deal, but this isn't about participation trophies.
1) DE Drew Ott
— Oh, he just had the game-winning sack/strip/fumble. What else did he do? Well, he had a career-high 13 tackles with 2.5 for loss, the forced fumble and a QB hurry. He was active and disruptive. That was a career-high for tackles, BTW. I expect him to be in the mix for Big Ten defensive player of the week. The Big Ten, oh the Big Ten.
2) QB Jake Rudock
— I tweet a lot during games and some of the feedback that came at me was a hashtag #CheckdownJake. I think Rudock would take that and laugh, but let's talk. If I'm a QB coach, I want my guy to go through his progression and take the open route, the window he's most comfortable seeing and move the chains. Take the game-winning TD, for example. Tight end Jake Duzey was option No. 3. He was the checkdown. He also was the game-winner, a 12-yarder with 1:00 left.
But I'm not going to close my eyes to Beathard's series. If Damond Powell doesn't juggle that 38-yarder on the second series, I wonder how that would've changed the I guess it's a QB rotation (but it's not really, because one series out of however many doesn't equal a rotation). This is weird. I'm as interested in seeing how it progresses as you are. I think Rudock stated his case with an exclamation point and I don't see how you toy around, but then, whoa daddy with the Beathard toss.
3) WR Kevonte Martin-Manley
— The senior converted third downs with receptions last week. This week, he converted three more. Martin-Manley has been money on the money down. He's also caught 16 passes in Iowa's first two weeks and is enjoying his best stretch since catching the game-winner against Pitt in 2011, sealing Iowa's biggest comeback of all time.
INTO THE FILM ROOM
1) Misdirection ID
— Iowa's defense was pretty close to perfect. It did, however, have trouble tracking the mesh between BSU QB Ozzie Mann and running back Jahwan Edwards. It did early, anyway. It wasn't a gashing, but more of a leak in the basement that gets to your carpet but not enough to call the insurance guy. BSU finished with 90 yards rushing, not enough to win and or really threaten except for the fact that the offense was frozen and had two fumbles that BSU turned into 10 points.
— It was a topic for a few defenders in the postgame. Again, the D was the rock for the entire team, but if they're bringing it up, then you know it was something in the film room today.
3) Running game
— We covered this one yesterday. BSU was hyper-aggressive in the run blitz and the shifting fronts bugged the O-line. This is one question that Ferentz wanted answers to, that was clear in the postgame.
1) 12-yard TD pass to WR Derrick Willies
— I saw and got a huge chuckle out of the #FreeWillies hashtag on Twitter. I figured someone would get to that eventually, but it still made me laugh. So, Free Willies? He has three catches for 65 yards and Saturday's TD. What I liked about Saturday's play was Willies' breakdown of it. He read the safety over the top. When the safety dropped low, Willies gunned it and knew the ball was coming. That's terrific refinement and IQ for a brand-new player. If Willies picks these spots and keeps seeing the game like this, he'll be free to run wild.
2) 12-yard TD pass to Duzey with 1:00 to win it
— Ferentz said that was something the 2012 offense wouldn't have been able to do ('Safe to say') and something he didn't think the '13 offense would've done. Forget about all of the checkdown debate, the number of fans who left Kinnick early (didn't think it was a huge number, but I'm only going off a pic someone tweeted me), try to admire or enjoy the mental toughness of simply sticking with it, grinding the coffee and coming up clutch. People thought this was over. They didn't.
Iowa State (0-2) at Iowa (2-0)
TV: 2:30 ESPN
— Iowa State gets an apology note from Big 12 officials after a controversial replay call in the Cyclones' 32-28 loss to Kansas State on Saturday.
The statement: 'During Saturday's Kansas State vs. Iowa State football game, with K-State in possession of the ball just prior to the half, an on-field ruling of a completed pass occurred near the pylon at the front of the ISU end zone. By rule, once the ball is legally snapped, review of the previous play is not allowed.
'After internal review it has been determined that the video evidence of the play was inconclusive. However, the replay official failed to follow established procedures in a timely manner, which prevented the play from being stopped for review prior to the next snap.
'Because of the video review process breach, the Replay Official and Communicator are receiving reprimands and each will receive a one-game suspension for failing to follow proper replay procedures and mechanics.'
That word 'mechanics,' it's a huge one for officiating crews. Being in position to make an informed call is what the job is all about. A breach in mechanics and you're going to be sitting out a game.
I'm sure Iowa State appreciates the apology, though (it doesn't).
— The Cyclones allowed 34 unanswered in a week 1 loss to North Dakota State. Yesterday, ISU scored 28 unanswered and it wasn't enough.
Here's a game story from the Ames Tribune's Bobby LeGesse.
— ISU lost linebacker and special teams standout Levi Peters for the season on Saturday.
— KSU's Bill Snyder appreciates ISU coach Paul Rhoads' work in Ames, writes the Des Moines Register's Bryce Miller.
THE NUMBERS GAME
Touchdowns in the red zone
— 2 of 6
— 0 of 2
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. UNI — 4 of 6 (off), 3 of 3 (def)
Remember, the Hawkeyes are crawling out of the Big Ten basement here (it finished 11th in the Big Ten last season in red zone efficiency, 75.93 percent and percentage of TDs was 51.85 percent). Iowa was dead last and losing this game until it moved the ball and cashed in twice from the red zone in the fourth quarter. Iowa found space against a compressed defense. That's a healthy sign.
3 and outs
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. UNI — 3 (off), 3 (def)
: Two of Iowa's three stalls on offense came in the first half, when it was just ugly for Iowa's offense. When Iowa's defense absolutely needed three-and-outs in the fourth quarter — Iowa trailed 13-3, the two-score deficit that actually felt more like 30 scores in Kinnick — it sent the Cardinals off in its final three drives three plays for 7 yards, three plays for 0 yards and two plays for 4 yards and a fumble. Sterling effort.
Second half adjustments
— 247 yards, 5.61 yards per play (44 plays)
— 128 yards, 3.55 yards per play (30 plays)
Tracking the Hawkeyes:
Week 1 vs. UNI — 190 yards, 5.93 yards per play (32 offensive plays), 199 yards, 5.68 yards per play (35 plays on defense)
: The Hawkeyes converted 5 of 7 third downs in the fourth quarter. That's some clutch, and it also was taking what BSU gave up. That was mostly underneath passes. Rudock also routinely got his head up and scrambled after seeing the left defensive end get swallowed up by right tackle Andrew Donnal and abandon contain responsibilities. Rudock rushed for 32 yards on Iowa's two fourth-quarter TD drives.
Tracking the Hawkeyes:
Week 1 vs. UNI — 3 (off), 7 (allowed)
: Iowa took a handful of deep passes. Rudock overthrew at least three (twice to WR Matt Vandeberg and once to RB Damon Bullock). Iowa's lone 20-plus play was a short sideline pass that Canzeri broke for 50 yards. The only one Iowa allowed was a 26-yard pass play.
The Iowa/Greg Davis definition of explosive (this is a holdover stat from last year, it's 12-plus runs and 16-plus passes)
: 6 (UNI 6)
Magic points (scores inside of two minutes)
Tracking the Hawkeyes:
Week 1 vs. UNI — 3 (off), 0 (allowed)
For the second consecutive week, Rudock and the offense successfully completed a two-minute drill. Last week, it was for a field goal before halftime. This week, it was the game-winning TD with 1:00 left. Ferentz mentioned that as growth. It absolutely is. The drive was brilliantly efficient six plays, 59 yards and just 1:23 off the clock.
Short yardage (converted second-5 and third-5)
— 9 of 13
— 5 of 7
Tracking the Hawkeyes:
Week 1 vs. UNI — 9 of 15 (off), 5 of 10 (def)
Iowa's running game is in a sling right now, but the Hawkeyes still converted short yardage on third downs. This was an especially big stat on defense. Ball State had a second-and-3 with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. A first down might've done it and certainly would've taken a severe chunk out of Iowa's victory chances. One second-and-3, Ott and LB Reggie Spearman held RB Edwards for 1-yard gain. On third-and-2, DT Louis Trinca-Pasat stuck Edwards with a 1-yard loss and forced the punt. The Hawkeyes scored a TD on the next drive. Those two plays are your quiet plays of the game.
Disruption numbers (number of TFLs/sacks, QB hurries, passes defended and turnovers divided by total number of opponent plays)
— 8.0 TFL/sacks (2.0), 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery = 12 divided into 66 = 18 percent
— 4 TFL, 1 fumble forced, 2 fumbles recovered, 8 PBU = 15 divided into 84 = 18 percent
Tracking the Hawkeyes:
Week 1 vs. UNI — 14.2 percent (off), 29 percent (def)
Iowa had the one unforced fumble on the jet sweep exchange between Rudock and freshman RB Jonathan Parker, who also fumbled a kick return and was replaced on that unit. The standout number here is eight passes defended by the Cardinals. Rudock had a few (maybe four?) batted down at the line of scrimmage.
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