116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FIVE BULLET POINTS ON ISU RESULT
Highlights here: It's not just the crown of the helmet. 'No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, fist, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul. (Rule 2-27-14)”
Iowa free safety Jordan Lomax hit ISU wide receiver Jarvis West with his shoulder. The flag came out a count late, but not unreasonibly late, in my opinion.
This was the right call. If you're going to call targeting, this is why you call it. I asked Lomax in the postgame what his intent was, he said he most certainly wasn't trying to hurt West, who left the game (I'm sorry, I don't know if he had a concussion, but I would guess yes) and didn't return.
I believe Lomax and it doesn't matter. It was a reckless play, football play or not, and Lomax took the highest possible consequence. It was the right call, going off the current definition (contact to head or neck area, defenseless player). It didn't cost Iowa the game, but it did dramatically change Iowa's defensive personnel at a key point in the game.
2) Key quote . . .
Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson: 'Trying to get it on the perimeter was a huge part of our gameplan. It's a bigger defense than we'll face all year. With that, I thought we had more speed on them. Getting those guys in space worked out for us.”
And that's that for the defense. It did everything it could. This one was on the offense.
3) Speaking of targeting . . .
Zero targets for wide receivers Damond Powell and Derrick Willies. Three carries for RB Jordan Canzeri, who did injure his heel on a third quarter kick return. WR Tevaun Smith was targeted four times, caught four passes for 34 yards and had one reverse for one yard.
How does all that offense fit into a phone both? Don't invite it in.
4) QB alarm . . .
There were a lot of plays in which no Iowa wide receiver was open. None. Zip. Blame Iowa's play design. Credit ISU's defensive backs. They were terrific.
Jake Rudock was getting rid of the ball at a rapid, rapid pace vs. Iowa State. That's how he saw the game. A lot of that is also by design. Iowa also allowed four sacks (ISU matched-plus one its season total). His interception was a bad throw. Jake Duzey isn't 11 feet tall and he stumbled. That's why you see so many passes on the perimeter.
Kirk Ferentz said he held on the to ball too long on a few of the sacks. Ferentz's muddled quote said it best (it was on the sacks, not the offense, but you saw it).
C.J. Beathard wore headphones all day after playing one series vs. Ball State. That one series, the why of it, gets weirder as we go along without the followup series.
5) Running game . . .
It's slow getting out of the blocks. Iowa had missed assignments. Running backs didn't see the game, were indecisive in cuts. Everyone had a hand in this. ESPN analyst Chris Spielman went off on a cut that Damon Bullock missed in the fourth. Mark Weisman rushed 16 times for 49 yards.
The O-line is at the heart of Iowa football. Think of the O-lines Weisman did damage behind his first two seasons: Brandon Scherff (gutted it out Saturday four days after a knee scope) and Matt Tobin (Philadelphia Eagle) led the way in 2012; Scherff, Austin Blythe (performing well this season), Conor Boffeli (fifth-year senior) and Brett Van Sloten (two-year starter) in 2013.
This year's group hasn't hit a consistent level of cohesiveness.
1) ISU QB Sam Richardson - I thought he was great. Froze Iowa's defense with pass/run option all day. Iowa fell into cover mode and never hit a stride as an 'attack” unit. That was Richardson. Masterful performance. Made everyone better around him. Sound decisions. Accurate throws. Game ball this man.
2) ISU DE Cory Morrissey
- My two meetings with Morrissey this week went like this: On Monday in Ames, he was asked 10 different ways about going up against Scherff. He praised Scherff, paid the respect. Even during the week when news of Scherff's surgery made it to Ames, Morrissey tweeted a 'get well.”
Then Saturday, he smiled. Not too much, just a little. He had two sacks and three tackles for loss. He was terrific. He got to run and grab the trophy and sing the school fight song on the Kinnick turf with the band in his final Cy-Hawk game.
Maybe game ball this man?
3) ISU K Cole Netten
- He set his career best twice Saturday. Showed the confidence that wins games. Knew when to run out on the field. That's pretty important.
INTO THE FILM ROOM
1) Running game . . .
It worked in short stretches. The first drive, the last six plays were runs. Weisman would've had a 3-yard TD, but he fell. He eventually finished that drive from the 1. Next drive, Canzeri gained 18 yards on three carries. Drive died on a Morrissey sack and WR Matt VandeBerg drop.
The inconsistency showed up in Iowa's second TD drive. Weisman rushed up the middle for a 6-yard gain and a first down at ISU's 18. Then, Iowa went to an outside zone left to Bullock. It was a big pile up for minus-1. ESPN's Spielman: 'Iowa doesn't have the speed or explosion at tailback to go outside. Do what you do. Go inside.”
Then, it was the zone read look handoff from Rudock to Bullock for 3-yards. On third-and-8, it was the same play for zero yards. Kinnick broke out in boos. ISU DE Mitchell Meyers (who played inside most of the day) blew across guard Jordan Walsh's reach block to make the play.
Rudock made a play to Jacob Hillyer on fourth-and-8 for 10 yards. Actually, that was more Hillyer and his 6-3 frame. Then, Rudock stared down a receiver and corner Sam E. Richardson nearly had a pick.
It came to this for Iowa's running game: Rudock ran the option with Bullock for a 5-yard TD score. Helmet sticker for blocks from TE Ray Hamilton, G Sean Welsh and C Austin Blythe to make the play work.
The option worked, but that's not a long-term thing. Hat-on-hat worked in stretches, just way too inconsistently.
2) Special teams coordination
. . . That plan was for Marshall Koehn to take anything beyond the 25-yard line and Mick Ellis to take everything inside of that.
The ball was at the 26. There was no field goal kicker. Koehn said special teams coordinator Chris White yelled for Mick Ellis. It was confusion. Koehn finally ran on and hit his career long.
Everyone knows that has to be better.
Iowa's late FG drive - Iowa had first down at ISU's 31 and it trailed 17-14 with about six minutes left.
This is more than two plays, but let's go through it.
90 hit Rudock right when the whistle blew the play dead for a false start. Meyers was called for a personal foul. Meyers also is listed as a second-team DE. He played inside all day and made a lot of noise.
Pass Kevonte Martin-Manley short right for 9 yards. Weisman up the middle for 3 yards and a first down. Pass to WR Tevaun Smith for 14 yards (the fumble call was made blind by the umpire and rightly overruled).
Iowa squeezed out another first down after ISU DC Wally Burnham called a well-timed blitz with Drake Ferch. Rudock hit Smith for a 9-yarder (right short). Smith's reaction to the Iowa sideline showed he was kind of psyched to finally be in the playbook.
So, first down at the ISU 31. Checkdown to Weisman. Kind of a drop, kind of a bad pass. Bullock inside zone up the middle for 5 yards.
Third-and-5: Rudock felt some pressure and climbed the pocket. Finally, an ISU defender was in his face. Rudock tried to squeeze another one into Hillyer. This time, Sam E. Richardson was all over it. Incomplete. Field goal to tie it.
TE Jake Duzey broke open for a ball that would've put Iowa inside the ISU 5, but the clock started ticking early from the pressure. No way Rudock saw him. Plus, he didn't turn until late, maybe 20 yards down the field.
Iowa (2-1) at Pittsburgh (3-0)
At Heinz Field (11 a.m. kick on ESPNU)
I don't know what Cardiac Hill is, but it's all that comes up when I Google Pitt football.
- Here's the SB Nation breakdown of Pitt's win last week over Florida International.
- You'll be hearing more about Pitt RB James Connor this week.
- Hey, here's one from one of my MSM brothers!
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette goes over the Pitt-FIU details.
The Panthers overcame a middling performance and near-disastrous start to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2009. It certainly won't earn Pitt any style points, but coach Paul Chryst will take it.
'Certainly not how you want to draw it up, necessarily, but I appreciate coming out of here with a win,” Chryst said. 'We overcame some adversity, self-inflicted and some uncontrollable stuff. It's good the way we came out and got a victory, but certainly a lot of stuff we've got to learn from.”
The Panthers overcame a 16-0 first-quarter deficit - their largest overcome since 1996 - but never dominated the way they probably should have against an overmatched Conference USA opponent.
Just after Pitt appeared to have righted the ship - when running back James Conner scored a touchdown with 7:15 left in the third quarter to put his team ahead, 22-16 - officials called for a 43-minute lightning delay that sent the teams to the locker rooms and fans to the concourses.
'That was tough because I've never experienced that before,” Conner said. 'It was kind of like another long halftime.”
Conner put the final nail in the coffin with 5:49 to go with a 41-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers ahead, 35-19. Conner finished with 177 yards on 31 carries. With 544 yards on the season, he broke Tony Dorsett's Pitt record for most rushing yards in the first three games of a season, which Dorsett set as a freshman in 1973.
THE NUMBERS GAME
Touchdowns in the red zone
- 2 of 2
- 1 of 2
Tracking the Hawkeyes: Week 1 vs. UNI - 4 of 6 (off), 3 of 3 (def); Week 2 vs. BSU - 2 of 6 (off), 1 of 2 (def)
Iowa's offense in the second half could be called the fetal position. The drives went pick (ISU eventually turned into 7), punt, punt, FG and then the lateral kick thing. Not enough chances here. ISU was allowing 6.9 yards a play.
3 and outs (forced by defense)
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. UNI - 3 (off), 3 (def); Week 2 vs. BSU - 5 (def), 3 (off)
Not a big number either way. Want big numbers? Iowa's two TD drives were 26 plays. It's longest drive in the second half was 10 plays for the field goal. Meanwhile, ISU's scoring drives were 13 (FG), six (TD), 10 (92-yard TD drive) and 11 (game-winning FG).
Iowa led 14-3 at halftime. It held a TOP advantage of 20:11 to 9:49. Second half was all ISU, 16:37 to 13:23.
Second half adjustments
- 102 yards, 3.64 yards per play (28 plays)
- 190 yards, 5.27 yards per play (36 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); Week 2 vs. BSU - 247 yards, 5.61 yards per play (44 plays on offense), 128 yards, 3.55 yards per play (30 plays on defense)
Last week, the Hawkeyes converted 5 of 7 third downs in the fourth quarter. Iowa was just 3 of 7 in the second half vs. ISU. That's a number that says the defense put the offense deeper into sleeper hold.
Tracking the Hawkeyes:
Week 1 vs. UNI - 3 (off), 7 (allowed); Week 2 vs. BSU - 1 (off), 1 (def)
Brutal numbers for Iowa. Would the slant that VandeBerg dropped have gone for 20-plus? Probably. Just brutal numbers for the offense. The only big play was a 33-yard completion to TE Ray Hamilton. Of ISU's three, the biggie was the 27-yard wheel route from Sam Richardson to DeVondrick Nealy for a TD. ISU hit for 26, 19 and 22, but that first-half drive ended with Nealy fumbling into the end zone.
The Iowa/Greg Davis definition of explosive (this is a holdover stat from last year, it's 12-plus runs and 16-plus passes): 1 (UNI 6, BSU 6)
Magic points (scores inside of two minutes)
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. UNI - 3 (off), 0 (allowed); Week 2 vs. BSU - 7 (off), 0 (allowed)
: I don't know if Cole Netten drinks beer, but . . . you know the rest. It's free in Ames for life. Maybe even the good stuff, Busch Light. (Netten is probably way too fit and smart to drink beer, especially Busch Light.)
Short yardage (converted second-5 and third-5)
- 14 of 19
- 10 of 14
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. UNI - 9 of 15 (off), 5 of 10 (def); Week 2 vs. BSU - 9 of 13 (off), 5 of 7 (def)
Iowa remains solid in short yardage. The one that bit it was the third-and-5 before the 44 field goal. It was a mess after Rudock reacted to pressure. It also was a pass. Maybe that's telling. Iowa State was solid in the second half. Second-and-5s didn't feel like a great challenge. Richardson had a lot of confidence and the offense fed off of it.
Disruption numbers (number of TFLs/sacks, QB hurries, passes defended and turnovers divided by total number of opponent plays)
- 2.0 TFL/sacks (2.0), 5 PBU, 1 QBH, 2 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery = 11 divided into 63 = 17 percent
- 9 TFL, 1 fumbles recovered, 2 PBU, 1 INT, 2 QBH = 15 divided into 68 = 22 percent
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. UNI - 14.2 percent (off), 29 percent (def); Week 2 vs. BSU - 18 percent (def), 18 percent (vs. off)
Iowa took a lot of punches here. The offense didn't make ISU pay for blitzing, the few times it did. Rudock's INT throw was a bad overthrow, but Duzey did stumble. It was a killer. The defense was in 'catch speed” mode. Only two TFLs and no sacks. Iowa had to play to contain ISU's speed.
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