Schwartz: A Worthwhile Hawkeye Defeat

September 24, 2017

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

The moment I can’t get out of my head from Iowa’s 21-19 loss Saturday night to Saquon Barkley is the one in the fourth quarter when Barkley leaped over an Iowa defender – airborne and vulnerable – and deflected the blow of sophomore Amani Hooker.

That’s the sort of play that ends a running back’s night. Maybe even his season. Barkley was an 18-wheeler driving through a swarm of gnats.

Barkley’s performance against Iowa – 211 yards rushing, 94 receiving and a touchdown – rates as the most dominant performance by a running back against the Hawkeyes I’ve ever seen. It surpassed Ron Dayne’s 216-yard performance against Iowa in 1999, the day he broke the NCAA career rushing record. It’s superior to Christian McCaffrey’s dominance of Iowa in the Rose Bowl.

Still, Iowa fell one play short of pulling the upset. Somehow, some way, on the night that Barkley secured his Heisman candidacy, the Hawkeyes simultaneously played excellent defense. If that sounds like a contradiction, it should, because those two angles should not exist in the same football game.

What a rollercoaster. In a matter of mere minutes, Akrum Wadley went from frustrating afterthought to Barkley’s worthy understudy. A.J. Epenesa and Hooker announced their presence to the college football world – yet they still played in the shadow of Anthony Nelson, the sophomore defensive lineman who had a season’s worth of highlights in one game. Josey Jewell made so many tackles (16) that he passed four Iowa players in one night on the team’s all-time list.

One could find things to complain about the Hawkeyes. Let’s not. Not now. Not after a night in which they faced a lock-down defense and slowly found ways to punch holes in it. Not after a night in which Iowa emerged as Wisconsin’s top challenger in the Big Ten West.

Instead, I’ll turn to you, the Hawkeye fans, for your thoughts on what went down at Kinnick Stadium. I’ve said all I can say. Here are some of your responses to the question, “What should I write about from this game?”

Todd summed it up perfectly:

Heather, echoing the sentiment held by many:

Continue reading below

Grant, who brings the right perspective:

Continue reading below

And my student Jarek, who spoke for all of us:

Lastly, Shawn told me I needed to write in Haiku. Fine, here goes:

Penn State was ranked fifth
Hawkeyes nearly pulled upset
Saquon said no way

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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