Schwartz: 10 Thoughts in 10 Sentences From Hawkeyes’ Week 1

September 2, 2018

Written by David Schwartz

Ten thoughts in 10 sentences—the season-opener edition. The Hawkeyes defeated Northern Illinois, 33-7, to move to 1-0:

1. Iowa’s defensive line looked Saturday the most dominant it has since the 2010 unit of Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, Karl Klug and Broderick Binns; the Nelsons, AJ Epenesa, Sam Brincks, Parker Hesse and others who rotated in disrupted everything Northern Illinois tried to do in an offense built on deception and the quick reading of defenses.

2. Seriously, NIU managed just 65 yards in the second half, and most of those came late in the fourth quarter, long after the game’s result had been decided.

3. What’s more notable: that Iowa held NIU to 3-of-12 on third down, or that NIU had just 12 third-down plays?

4. I don’t know how long Kirk Ferentz, the winningest football coach in Iowa history, plans to stick around, but I hope it’s long enough to earn at least 19 more Big Ten wins so that he can move past Joe Paterno for fourth on the all-time Big Ten coaching list.

5. Obviously Paterno, fired in 2011 for his role in the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky child-assault coverup, would top the all-time Big Ten wins list if Penn State had been a part of the conference during the first quarter-century that he coached the Nittany Lions, but they didn’t join until 1993.

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6. If punter Colten Rastetter continues to have days like Saturday, when he hit punts of 69, 57 and 55 yards, the Hawkeyes will demolish the modest (at best) expectations for the position they held all spring through the start of the season.

7. I’ll admit I massively overreacted when NIU blocked Rastetter’s first punt attempt of the season, and by overreact I mean my exact internal monologue was, “Oh my G-d this season is going to be a total disaster.”

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8. One doesn’t realize how much one needs something until it’s gone: No video board anywhere in or near Kinnick Stadium’s north endzone made following parts of Saturday’s win challenging.

9. The thing that disappointed me the second most when Ricky Stanzi got hurt against Northwestern in 2009—the most frustrating was the simple fact that he got hurt at all—was realizing that backup QB James Vandenberg hadn’t been given enough reps earlier in the season to be able step in when he was needed, so I was delighted Saturday that Ferentz and his staff put Nate Stanley’s backup, Peyton Mansell, in for a couple of series against NIU (he looked good!).

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10. It’s too early in the season to let Stanley’s subpar performance Saturday keep us up at night, but he wasn’t good, and if he’s equally unsteady next Saturday against Iowa State there are going to be a lot of Hawkeye fans wondering what happened to their quarterback.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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