I was not expecting that. What we witnessed for 55 of the 60 minutes on Saturday night was a brutal beating in football parlance.
Iowa ran at will against Iowa State, punishing them in a way that we have rarely seen since Iowa State actually made this a rivalry 15 years ago after snapping Iowa’s 15-game series winning streak. Some late game special teams and secondary gaffes made the final score of 26-20 much closer than it actually was.
The Hawkeyes still have a lot to clean up and they’ll have another very beatable foe next week before Big Ten play begins, but this was the kind of ‘feel good’ win this team needed. This was something the Iowa fans needed in more ways than one, too.
A) It’s always good to beat Iowa State
B) It’s even better to destroy them
C) It was good to have a performance like this after last week
Iowa beat Missouri State last week in a game that really didn’t feel like a win; fans were moping and wondering just what kind of year this would be.
While everyone is still wondering what kind of year this will be, a dominant win against Iowa State on the road is real good medicine. It was a healthy dose of Mark Weisman and the Iowa running game that basically could have run for positive yards on every play.
Iowa’s game clinching drive that began at the start of the fourth quarter went 15 plays for 73 yards and ate up 7:38 on the clock. It was old school, give the ball to Sedrick Shaw 1995-type of domination and looked like this:
CORRECTION: rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, pass, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush for a touchdown. #B1G
— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) September 15, 2013
Domination. Don’t just take my word for it, here are two Cyclone fans:
Since I've been involved in the rivalry, this is the most physically overmatched Iowa State has been. Wasn't around for the Walden years.
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) September 15, 2013
Everybody know its a run to Weisman, but the Cyclone defense can't stop him.
— Paul Clark (@cyclonereport) September 15, 2013
Paul Clark probably died a little bit typing that, too.
Following that drive, which left less than eight-minutes in the game, Iowa had 359 yards to 179 yards for Iowa State. 67 of Iowa State’s yards came on a missed tackle by BJ Lowery when Iowa blitzed on third down in man to man coverage. Iowa had run 76 plays to Iowa State’s 43 at that point in time, too. Iowa had 21 first downs to just seven for Iowa State at that point and the score was 27-7 with 7:05 to play.
ISU would score two more touchdowns and the Hawkeyes will need to keep working on man to man coverage and clean tackling on the back end. Iowa State also executed an onside kick recovery in this game which seems to happen a few times per year against the Hawkeyes.
So in the end it was like a reverse Monet; from far away it doesn’t look to good but when you analyze things close up, it wasn’t bad. It still wasn’t great, but it didn’t have to be:
-Iowa ran the ball 60 times out of their 83 plays
-Mark Weisman carried the ball 35 times for 148 yards
-Iowa was 11-20 on third down conversions
-ISU was 5-14 on third downs
-ISU was held to just 59 yards rushing on the game
-Iowa ran 83 plays and controlled the ball for over 38 of the 60 minutes
Jake Rudock continues to impress the heck out of me. The kid has a great head on his shoulders and is the best looking young QB Iowa has had since Drew Tate and probably Matt Rogers before that. While Ricky Stanzi flashed and impressed as a sophomore in 2008, Rudock is more in control of the offense and looks more confident in himself than Stanzi was that year. Stanzi also had more targets to throw to, or rather targets that would hold on to the ball; Iowa added four more drops to their season tally tonight with three of them coming on third downs which effectively killed the drive. Two of them were by CJ Fiedorowicz, another by Tevaun Smith and the last by Jacob Hillyer. Rudock finished 14-23 for 160 yards and if those four passes were caught, he would have been 18-23 for around 200 yards. He has a very bright future at Iowa and he’s going to be the starter to the end of the year as long as he stays healthy.
Weisman looked like he was having a ball out there and was actually looking for contact late in the game. He’s gonna need some time in the ice bath as he’s had 85 carries in three games for 425 yards, which is nearly 142 yards per game.
No Cyclone had more than 26 yards on the ground as the Hawkeye front four did work in this contest with Carl Davis leading the way. He’s really come into his own this year and he was drawing some double teams in this contest.
What should we take away from this game? Or rather, what do I take away from it?
Iowa likely gained some confidence and learned more about itself. We knew all spring and summer that this Iowa team’s strength was going to be in its power running attack. After three games, Iowa is running the ball nearly 65-percent of the time, so that is on the mark. Rudock is a better quarterback than I thought he would be, much better; but Iowa’s wide receivers are more challenged than I expected them to be and I wrote they would be the most challenged unit of the Ferentz era….which is saying something.
Iowa is still struggling to score points despite dominating much of the past two games; the Hawkeyes have now gone 10 games without scoring 30 points.
The defense definitely takes away some much needed confidence from this game, even though that was the worst offensive line they’ve seen this year. Yes, I think Missouri State’s offensive line was better than what ISU had out there most of this game. While Iowa could very well be a three or four win team itself, I think Iowa State is going to struggle to win even one game this year.
In the end, the Hawks rushed for more than 200 yards for the third straight game, the first time that has happened since 2002. They emerged from the game relatively healthy and they are riding a two-game winning streak for the first time in nearly a year. They have the look of many Ferentz era teams, in that they may be an improving team week to week this year.
The big question will be what is their ceiling?