Schwartz: Ten Sentences – Offensive Offense Edition

October 13, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

The Hawkeyes lost 17-12 Saturday night to Penn State. Ten sentences to help us makes sense of their struggling offense:

1. Just asking: Do you think it’s more challenging for a head football coach to have a come-to-Jesus conversation with an underperforming offensive coordinator when that offensive coordinator is his son?

2. Here is how much Iowa has scored against the four power-conference opponents it has played this season vs. how much those four opponents have given up, on average, to the other power-conference teams they have played:


Iowa scored

Other teams scored



41.25 ppg

Iowa State


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20.3 ppg



30.0 ppg*

Penn State

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* Rutgers removed from equation because they’re a D-II program playing a Big Ten schedule.

** Brandon Smith’s highlight-reel catch kept this from being a 6.

3. Three big ideas came out of Iowa’s 10-3 loss to Michigan last week: First, Iowa’s defense is good; second, Iowa’s offense is not very good; third, Michigan’s defense is fantastic, and surely any Big Ten team that doesn’t have Jonathan Taylor will have a hard time scoring on the Wolverines.

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4. The third revelation held true for exactly one week, until Saturday, when Illinois, a team now on a four-game losing streak, put up 25 against the same vaunted Michigan defense that held the Iowa Hawkeyes to just three.

5. Then came Saturday night’s Hawkeye game against Penn State at Kinnick Stadium, when they settled for a field goal, and then a field goal (attempt), and then a field goal, and fumbled, and threw an interception for the fourth time in two games until – finally – Brandon Smith made one of the most impressive, complicated receptions in Iowa football history to give the Hawkeyes their first touchdown against a power-conference opponent in 28 days.

6. (As long as we’re in the business of not putting Rutgers into equations, that was Nate Stanley’s first touchdown pass this year that didn’t come against Miami of Ohio or Middle Tennessee.)

7. Something is truly amiss with the offensive line, whether it’s individual inexperience, chemical inexperience – meaning the rotation hasn’t played together enough – or unfortunately timed early-season injuries that have players such as Alaric Jackson going through the equivalent of spring training against some of the Big Ten’s better teams.

8. It’s also true – if we’re searching for positives slash reasons slash excuses – that Iowa, despite the frustration of the last two weeks, might actually be better than we think, since they’ve lost consecutive games to Big Ten royalty by a combined 12 points.

9. Whatever point of view you’re coming from, the fact remains that Iowa is struggling mightily to put the ball in the end zone against competent teams, whether that team is Iowa State, Michigan, or Penn State, and when a touchdown finally happens mostly because a wide receiver becomes a contortionist mid-play, that’s a sign that something major needs to be fixed.

10. And that brings us to the most frustrating thing of all: Have we seen a single sign that Iowa’s offense has what it takes this season to transform their offense from a liability into an asset?

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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