116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
5 BULLET POINTS
1. Injury report — Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday night in an interview with the Iowa athletics website that the severity of defensive end Drew Ott's knee injury remains undetermined.
Ferentz indicated Ott, who suffered the right knee injury while rushing up field in a punt safe call early in the third quarter against Illinois, will not play when the No. 17 Hawkeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) travel to No. 21 Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) for a Big Ten West Division showdown on Saturday.
Ferentz also indicated wide receiver Tevaun Smith (sprained knee) also will not play. Smith has missed the last two games after suffering his injury in Iowa's victory over North Texas on Sept. 26.
The immediate fear with Ott was that he tore his ACL, according to a source, based on initial tests. Ferentz said Ott will have an MRI on Monday.
Redshirt freshman Parker Hesse (6-3, 240) replaced Ott after he suffered a dislocated elbow Sept. 12 at Iowa State. He also replaced Ott last weekend in Iowa's 29-20 victory over Illinois.
Right tackle Ike Boettger left on Iowa's second play of the third quarter. It looked as if he had his left ankle rolled on from behind. He went to the lockerroom, returned to the sidelines with ice on the ankle and didn't play the rest of the game.
True freshman James Daniels, who earlier in the game replaced senior guard Jordan Walsh (left shoulder), replaced Boettger. Already at left tackle, junior Cole Croston is playing in place of sophomore Boone Myers, who's missed the last two weeks while dealing with a neck/shoulder stinger.
In Saturday's postgame, Ferentz didn't know if Myers or Boettger would be available for the Wildcats.
'We'll see, though. I don't know that yet,' Ferentz said on Myers. 'He's climbing the ladder, so it would be really good if we could get him back. Hopefully, we'll have Ike back, but I don't know that yet, either. If not we'll figure something out and we'll be ready to go.'
2. JERman-neek — In his second week replacing Smith, true freshman Jerminic Smith caught four passes for 118 yards and threw two key blocks on TD plays (17-yard screen pass to running back Jordan Canzeri and on Canzeri's 75-yard TD run). Daniels also landed key blocks on both of those plays.
'That's something we expect our guys to do,' Ferentz said of Jerminic Smith and his blocking. 'I'd say the whole group has done that, but for a true freshman to do it, and I'll be quite honest with you, in recruiting, he didn't have to block much. It's not like he was against it. It just wasn't something he was asked to do a lot of.'
According to @IowaFBLive, Iowa's three receivers with 100-yard efforts (Jerminic Smith 118, Tevaun Smith 115 and Matt VandeBerg 114) in 2015 are more than any other B1G team.
3 #Hawkeyes have 100-yard receiving efforts in 2015, more than any other B1G team (Jerminic Smith 118, Tevaun Smith 115, Matt VandeBerg 114)
— Gameday Live (@IowaFBLive)
Wow, just counted up Jerminic Smith targets. He was targeted 10 times (one or two were throwaways when he was in the area). He caught four including both of his 20-plus targets (46 and 49 completions).
3. Ice man — Quarterback C.J. Beathard, who completed 15 of 31 for 200 yards and two TDs, conducted postgame interviews with an ice contraption that wrapped around his left hip and over his right groin. Beathard first injured the hip against Pitt on Sept. 19.
'When the opposing team sees the quarterback getting up slow and hurt, that fires them up,' Beathard said. 'You don't want to show them that.'
As you might imagine with a patchwork offensive line that was hanging in there, Beathard took 11 hits against Illinois. He also rushed five times for 29 yards (Beathard is No. 2 in rushing among B1G QBs, just behind Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. — 206 to 192). But, he did conduct interviews for 15-plus minutes Sunday and didn't show a limp walking out of the interview room.
'I'm pretty sore,' Beathard said. 'I'm sore, yeah, a little banged up. I've got to get treatment and get better.'
4. Raider watch — Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker called seven 'raider' packages in passing situations against Illinois.
It was a different look than last week, when Iowa showed this 11 times. This week was a 3-2-6 look with six defensive backs (safeties Jordan Lomax and Miles Taylor with corners Desmond King, Greg Mabin, Maurice Fleming and Joshua Jackson).
Parker didn't call as many blitzes, maybe a season-low with just three that I saw (and one of those was out of raider, when OLB Ben Niemann jumped out of spying QB and into pass rush).
I saw a lot of questions about why less blitzing? This question has been asked a lot over the years, as you can imagine, and Parker has always said it's because he doesn't want to give up anything on the back end. Illinois was a passing passy team, with running backs extremely involved. Iowa was beaten here once, not on a blitz but in raider, when the Illini cleared one side and slid an RB into the flat for a first down (third quarter, I believe).
Game plans vary. This week, Iowa likely will be conscious of setting an edge, especially with Ott out and Northwestern featuring a read-option game and a terrific running back in Justin Jackson (661 yards, 4.41 yards a carry).
5. Koehn slump? — Kicker Marshall Koehn missed his second PAT of the season. Now, Koehn came back and certainly held up his end of the bargain (hitting field goals of 19, 34 and 40 yards), but that missed PAT kept the door open for Illinois to come back, until Hesse got a hand in on Illinois RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn and forced a fumble that linebacker Josey Jewell recovered at the Illini 30 with 3:09 left.
Koehn said no to the idea of a slump.
'I hated that PAT pretty bad,' Koehn said. 'To have more missed PATs (two) than field goals (the guy is 8 of 9 this season) is never a great stat. It's just a lack of focus. Sometimes I take those for granted. I just have to stay honed in all the way through. It shouldn't be something that carries on.'
1. RB Jordan Canzeri — The senior running back set a school record with 43 carries. Carry No. 38 was an outside zone rush that Canzeri had the energy to dip twice before cutting outside for an 11-yard gain. This was the drive in which he carried 11 consecutive times and set up a field goal that gave Iowa a 26-20 lead. That was carry No. 38 and that was a lot of speed and energy for carry No. 38.
By the way, Canzeri's 256 yards was third most in a game in Iowa history and the most in Kirk Ferentz's 16-plus seasons. Canzeri passed Marcus Coker's 252 yards (Minnesota 2011).
Here are the top five rushing performances in the KF era:
— Canzeri 43 for 256 (Illinois 2015)
— Marcus Coker 32 for 252 (Minnesota 2011)
— Coker 33 for 219 (Missouri 2010)
— Greene 30 for 211 (Purdue 2008)
2. LB Josey Jewell — The guy is around the ball, like a lot a lot. Jewell led Iowa with 12 tackles against Illinois. He also had a half tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
I accidentally tweeted yesterday on the fumble recovery that pretty much ended the game that it was an all Allamakee County affair. Hesse is from Waukon, which is in Allamakee (it's beautiful up there, BTW). And, uh, Jewell is from Decorah, which is close to Allamakee County, but is actually in Winneshiek County.
3. WR Jerminic Smith — The true freshman from Garland, Texas, was Iowa's single-handed deep threat, catching passes of 46 and 49 yards, with the 49-yarder coming off a broken play in which CJB extended the play with a roll to the right and whipped the ball 45 air yards to Smith, who read his QB was in distress and did something to get open. High-level play from the true freshman.
Illinois QB Wes Lunt is a thrower and eventually he got his, mostly in the second half and mostly at the expense of the right side of Iowa's secondary, which seemed to have a hard time catching up with Illinois' hurry-up offense that began the second half.
Illinois wanted to go after cornerback Greg Mabin and, from what it looked like, the space between Mabin and free safety Jordan Lomax. The Illini passed at the right side of Iowa's secondary (and linebacker flat, too).
The damage was limited with timely sacks from Ott and tackles Jaleel Johnson and Nathan Bazata (I thought Bazata had his best game, and Johnson just continues churning).
Still, some tough moments for the secondary, including three pass interference penalties (two on Mabin and one on Desmond King) and a face mask call on Mabin, who snapped Illini WR Geronimo Allison's facemask as he started to break free on a streak (maybe not a bad penalty?).
Lunt finished 25 of 42 for 317 yards and a TD. Allison caught eight passes for 148 yards and a 53-yard TD in which King leveled off and Lomax overran. This did give Illinois life.
Mabin scored the ultimate atonement with an interception of Allison on a double-reverse pass early in the fourth quarter, squelching an Illini drive that reached Iowa's 40.
1. Second-and-15 from Illinois 17 — After Daniels, who at this point was in the game for guard Jordan Walsh (shoulder, returned, should be OK), was called for a false start, Iowa OC Greg Davis went to what has become a bit of a go-to for the Hawkeyes this year. Canzeri sneaked out of the backfield and three O-linemen (Daniels, C Austin Blythe and guard Sean Walsh) got out to lead a screen pass, something Iowa has called a handful to more than a handful of times in games this year (made a living off it vs. Pitt).
Beathard completed the pass off his back foot and while leaning (the angle was tricky, which happens when a screen is kind of sniffed out). Daniels showed his athleticism by winning the race to throw the block to spring the play. He pancaked Illinois LB Mason Monheim on the Iowa sideline. Canzeri cut off that block and a block thrown by Jerminic Smith, who sent cornerback Eaton Spence to the turf. (Officials initially threw a flag on Smith, but picked it up. It looked like a clean block, but also definitely fell under 50/50 call. Was totally surprised they picked it up.)
Canzeri scored on a play with two key blocks thrown by true freshmen (Daniels is a freak athlete, BTW. All three OL I talked to after the game — Blythe, Welsh and Walsh — started with 'athlete' when talking Daniels).
2. Illinois first-and-10 from its 34 late first quarter
— Small play, but you remember it. Allison broke wide open on Mabin in the middle of the field. It was a post pattern, he had a step and it was going to be a TD. But . . . Bazata ran a loop around Johnson and forced Lunt to deliver the ball maybe a count early. He also might've shielded his vision. Either way, it was a big little play from Bazata that turned out to be fairly huge. That's disruption that doesn't come with a number, an important element for Iowa's offense.
UP NEXT — AT NO. 20 NORTHWESTERN (5-1, 1-1)
— Here's a fairly frank assessment on the Wildcats' 38-0 loss at Michigan from Inside Northwestern.
— This is pretty much what you want out of your quarterback. And if it's your redshirt freshman quarterback, he's beyond his years and you should feel pretty good about Clayton Thorson.
— Jake Rudock haunts Pat Fitzgerald. Rudock is, after all, 3-0 against Fitzgerald, with two of those wins coming while he started at Iowa (2013 in OT and big 48-7 last season).
THE NUMBERS GAME
Touchdowns in the red zone
— 1 of 4
— 1 of 2
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. ISU — 4 of 5 (off), 1 of 1 (def); Week 2 Iowa State — 2 of 3 (off), 1 of 2 (def); Week 3 vs. Pitt — 3 of 3 (off), 2 of 3 (def); Week 4 North Texas — 5 of 5 (off), 1 of 3 (def); Week 5 Wisconsin — 1 of 4 (off), 0 of 2 (def); Week 6 vs. Illinois — 1 of 4 (off), 1 of 2 (def)
: Iowa has gone for it on fourth down inside the opponent's 10-yard line in each of the last two weeks and has come up empty. Last week, it was fourth-and-2 from Wisconsin's 8 and an incomplete pass. This week, it was fourth-and-goal from the 1 and an incomplete pass on a pseudo fade route to WR Matt VandeBerg.
We learned Saturday that maybe New Kirk has his limits. Late on a fourth-and-goal from the 1, Ferentz put Koehn in the game for a 19-yard field goal with 15 seconds left before halftime. I wonder if the missed PAT influenced his decision or if the patchwork O-line had something to do with it.
3 and outs (forced by defense)
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. ISU — 3 (def), 2 (off); Week 2 vs. Iowa State — 4 (def), 4 (off); Week 3 vs. Pitt — 3 (def), 2 (off); Week 4 vs. North Texas — 6 (def), 3 (off); Week 5 vs. Wisconsin — 4 (def), 3 (off); Week 6 vs. Illinois — 5 (def), 1 (off)
: Iowa wasn't terribly efficient on offense, a number that sagged for a second straight week (it is the Big Ten now), but it was hot early with TDs on two of its first five possessions and the other being the 13-play, 55-yard drive that died on Illinois' 1. The defense helped Iowa get off to a 16-7 halftime lead with three three-and-outs forced in Illinois' first five possessions (one of those other drives went only four plays).
Second half adjustments
— 179 yards, 5.42 yards per play (33 plays)
— 242 yards, 5.90 yards per play (41 plays)
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. ISU — 163 yards, 5.25 yards per play (31 offensive plays), 195 yards, 6.5 yards per play (30 plays on defense); Week 2 vs. Iowa State — 232 yards, 6.62 yards per play (35 offensive plays), 66 yards, 2.12 yards per play (31 defensive plays); Week 3 vs. Pitt — 165 yards, 5.5 yards per play (30 off plays), 124 yards, 5.1 yards per play (31 def plays); Week 4 vs. North Texas — 148 yards, 4.9 yards per play (30 offensive plays), 207 yards, 4.3 yards per play (48 defensive plays); Week 5 vs. Wisconsin — 69 yards, 2.55 yards per play (27 offensive plays), 177 yards, 4.21 yards per play (42 defensive plays); Week 6 vs. Illinois — 179 yards, 5.42 yards per play (33 offensive plays); 242 yards, 5.90 yards per play (41 defensive plays)
The takeaway: Canzeri's 75-yarder was the money play of the second half for Iowa's offense. Canzeri's 11 straight rushes was Iowa's money drive of the second half. The defense's fumble forced in the fourth quarter was the money play by the defense. Iowa has outscored opponents 105-47 in the first half this season and 51-28 in the fourth quarter. Winning numbers.
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. ISU — 4 (off), 3 (allowed); Week 2 vs. Iowa State — 6 (off), 3 (allowed); Week 3 vs. Pitt — 4 (off), 3 (def); Week 4 vs. North Texas — 4 (off), 4 (def); Week 5 vs. Wisconsin — 2 (off), 3 (def); Week 6 vs. Illinois — 5 (off), 5 (def)
You have to like that all of Iowa's explosive plays were organic. There were no flea flickers or any other chicanery. OK, the wide-open 21-yard TD pass from CJB to TE George Kittle was off play-action, but that's a staple for the Hawkeyes. OK, the 49-yarder to Jerminic Smith was off a broken play. CJB made some magic happen, but it was within scheme. OK, so maybe the toss sweep that Canzeri took 32 yards was a little trickeration. Iowa has run that play maybe five times the last three-plus seasons.
Illinois and Lunt and Allison stuck Iowa with its biggest number of 20-plus, all pass plays. Canzeri's success gave Iowa some balance (two 20-plus rushes vs. three 20-plus passes). Canzeri notched seven explosive plays.
The Iowa/Greg Davis definition of explosive (it's 12-plus runs and 16-plus passes): 9 (Illinois State 9, Iowa State 12, Pitt 6, North Texas 10; Wisconsin 5; Illinois 9)
Magic points (scores inside of two minutes)
Tracking the Hawkeyes
: Week 1 vs. ISU — 3 (off), 7 (allowed); Week 2 vs. Iowa State — 7 (off), 0 (def); Week 3 vs. Pitt — 10 (off), 7 (def); week 4 vs. North Texas — 7 (off), 0 (def); Week 5 vs. Wisconsin — 3 (off), 0 (def); Week 6 vs. Illinois — 3 (off), 0 (def)
: Iowa drove 57 yards on 13 plays to set up Koehn's 19-yard field goal for a 16-7 lead with 15 seconds left in the first half. Iowa faced two third downs on the drive, with CJB putting too much juice on a pass and throwing slightly behind a wide-open Smith in the back of the end zone for what would've been a touchdown. With 24 seconds left, Ferentz decided on the field goal.
Still, this is the sixth game with points inside of two minutes. The takeaway is that Iowa is a pretty solid two-minute offense.
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