Schwartz: Game 4 – 10 Thoughts in 10 Sentences

September 23, 2018

Written by David Schwartz

Ten thoughts in 10 sentences—Badger edition. The Hawkeyes on Saturday lost to Wisconsin, 28-17, to fall to 3-1:

1. The reason Saturday night’s loss hurts so much is because of how winnable the game was for the Hawkeyes.

2. Before we get into some details, let’s address the biggest, most memorable elephant in the room—Shaun Beyer’s perplexing, inexplicable blunder on punt coverage that was the result not just of his own bad judgment, but poor team communication on a macro level.

3. Sure, this mistake is on Beyer, which he no doubt knows, but it’s also on his teammates, some of whom should have waved him off in the third quarter; but they didn’t, and as a result the Hawkeyes handed Wisconsin prime field position, a touchdown and—if we’re being honest—the game.

4. Maybe you’ll find this interesting or maybe you won’t: The fumble occurred right in front of our seats in Kinnick, and watching it up close it felt like it was happening in slow motion; Beyer was the Hawkeye who touched the ball, but there were at least two other Hawkeyes who nearly did it before him, and even as it was unfolding our section and sections around us screamed, “Don’t touch it” and “Get away … get away from it!”

5. Not that Iowa’s coaching staff cares or should care about what their fans think, but they’ll be the subject of much second-guessing because of their decision to go for it on fourth down inside the 10-yard line in the first quarter instead of kicking a gimme field goal.

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6. That hypothetical field goal, had the rest of the game played out exactly as it did, would have allowed the Hawkeyes to play for a winning field goal late in the fourth quarter instead of a winning touchdown, but it turned out not to matter for two reasons: first, Wisconsin played its best football in the fourth quarter, making plays as Iowa scrambled to find itself; second, the gorgeous touch on the football Nate Stanley showed during the first three quarters had left him by the fourth, when he reverted to his non-conference form by, among other things, firing rockets at his receivers.

7. Lost among the disappointment were two more touchdowns by Noah Fant, who last week set the Iowa record for most career TDs by a tight end, and who now has 16 for his career with at least eight games remaining this season.

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8. The most memorable offensive play from Iowa on Saturday night wasn’t a scoring play, it was Stanley’s 46-yard pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson to set up Iowa’s first touchdown.

9. Stanley telegraphed the throw as he scrambled away from Wisconsin pursuers and, off balance and against his body, threw a laser to Hockenson that confirmed what we already knew: Stanley’s right arm is a cannon.

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10. The Hawkeyes will use the bye week to rest their bodies and make adjustments as they head into the meat of their Big Ten schedule, and as for fans, let’s move on from Wisconsin, because the miserable loss is over, and as much as it hurt, it’s also clear that—mental mistakes aside—Iowa is a team that deserves to compete atop the Big Ten West.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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