As a unit, the Hawkeyes run blocking was better than the YPC (Yards Per Carry) indicated. ISU played their safeties down in the box and forced Iowa to run into 8 and even 9 man fronts at times and the leading tackler for ISU was one of their safeties with 9, and the other safety had 6 tackles as well. ISU’s front seven was a much better unit against the run than NIU was last week and they were able to win more fights in the trenches. Iowa’s OL will need to continue to step up their play and improve in the run game.

Several very well blocked plays went to waste in this game. Both Bullock and Garmon missed some running lanes by pressing the seam too quickly. A couple of other plays were broken up by a single guy missing his assignment and what was a short gain could have ended up a big play. The only counter play Iowa ran all day was a good example of the RB not letting the blocks set up. If Bullock had run that ball one gap back inside he would have been in the secondary with a chance for a big play.

Pass protection was a huge issue last week and while Iowa wasn’t perfect there this week, they definitely took big steps forward as a unit. They allowed some pressure and JVB was flushed several times but they didn’t give up any sacks. The ISU DEs were smaller, quicker types and it’s a good sign that the Iowa OTs didn’t consistently struggle as they did last week.

Brandon Scherff
This game looked like a step back from last week for Scherff, and he had problems both run blocking and in pass protection. Scherff’s issues were largely with getting beat by speedy, smaller DEs. Several times he got the inside gap shot on him and it disrupted the play. Scherff’s foot speed and quickness are improved over last year, but he still has some work do in that department. It causes him issues in both phases of the game and will be something he needs to improve.

Best Play: +1 Scherff Nice job releasing DE inside and picks up DT coming on the stunt. Showed some nice patience here in pass protection. D3 Play 6

Run Blocking: -2
Pass Protection: -2

Matt Tobin
This was another steady game for Matt Tobin and he was pretty consistent in both phases of the game. ISU’s DTs gave the other interior guys a lot of issues but Tobin showed the size and strength to be able to consistently get ahold of his guy. He was effective in combo blocks and got to the second level pretty consistently. He did his job in pass protection and stayed balanced throughout the day. This is the best two game stretch he’s had in his career thus far and he appears to have turned the corner after a very rough Insight Bowl to close out last season.

Best Play: +1 Tobin Got a great push off the snap on the DT and ends up driving him 10 yards down the field. Great run blocking. D1 Play 5

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Run Blocking: +2
Pass Protection: +2

James Ferentz
Ferentz was at his best in this game on plays where he was pulling in the run game. He looked good pulling around the edge and found his guy and finished the block. He had some success with his combo blocks but the ISU DTs were able to beat some blocks and make plays as well. Ferentz was very good in pass protection again this week and was able to get line calls made to pick up blitzes all game long. This wasn’t a bad effort from Ferentz but the level of play from DTs he faced this week was noticeably better than last week.

Run Blocking: +1
Pass Protection: +2

Austin Blythe
Last week was rough for Austin Blythe and this week was certainly no picnic either.  In short, he really looked like a Freshman in his 2nd start in this game. Blythe had issues in pass protection and even more issues in the run game. He was able to be effective in combo blocks on DTs but wasn’t able to get a hat on the LBs very often. Some of that was due to ISU’s active LBs and some of it was poor angles. His issues in pass protection were the same as last week, lunging at the DT and not moving his feet to mirror his guy. He also chased a twisting DT and ended up allowing the DE a free run inside.

Best Play: Got a nice block on the LB down the field on the screen play. Took a good angle and took him out of the play. D4 Play 2

Run Blocking: -3
Pass Protection: -3

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Brett Van Sloten
Brett Van Sloten quietly had a decent day on a very rough day for the offense. He looked worlds better in pass protection this week facing a similar undersized and quick DE. He was especially solid in pass protection down the stretch in 4th quarter drives. His kick step was sharper and quicker, his hand usage improved and he bent at the knees more.  He was more consistent as a run blocker and was much better about keeping his pads down and delivering a pop and driving his feet on contact. The issues he did have in the run game were reaching down to a 3 tech DT as the game wore on. As the ISU DTs settled in they were really attacking the LOS and slanting to the play side on the snap. As a result it made them very difficult for the OTs to get their heads across to prevent them from disrupting the play. That said, Van Sloten looked a lot better this week.

Best Play: +1 Van Sloten Buried LB on pulling around on outside play. Got off the ball very quickly and located the LB extremely quickly and iced him for the play. D1 Play 2

Run Blocking: Push
Pass Protection: +2