Schwartz: Ten Sentences – The Miami Win

September 1, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

It felt great to have Hawkeye football back on Saturday night, but as it’s Week 1, overreactions will be at a fever pitch. Let’s try to restore perspective without sacrificing the joy that comes with a season-opening victory. Here is this Sunday’s Ten Sentences:

1. There’s an apocryphal story that the novelist Ernest Hemingway, upon completing his first novel, took sail on the ocean and, upon reaching deep enough waters, hurled his novel overboard, the thinking being that he didn’t want anyone’s first impression of him to be something that clearly could never represent his actual ability.

2. Although almost certainly not true, the story serves as a lesson for the first week of college football, which is loads of fun but provides almost nothing concrete about the teams, and if we’re trying to get a read on a team’s personality, it’s best to enjoy Week 1 as much as you can before taking sail so that you can dump it in the ocean.

3. Because if you want to know your team – really come to understand what makes it tick, what it does well, where it struggles – you’ll learn more in Weeks 2-4 than you’ll ever learn during Week 1.

4. So as nice as it is to have Hawkeye football back in our lives following Saturday’s 38-14 win against Miami of Ohio, treat it as a one-off, something with surface-level entertainment value yet little to nothing useful in terms of discovering a team’s true identify – we’ll know the real trends as the sample size grows.

5. Week 1 is an awesome mess, a chance for players to shake out the jitters, and an opportunity for fans eager for the rush of the season to jump to conclusions, many of which will seems like distant memories when the middle of October rolls around and teams have finally shown us their true selves.

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6. So, without spoiling Iowa’s win with premature analysis, let’s just enjoy it for what it was: a win in which the Hawkeyes rushed for 213 yards, Nate Stanley passed for a very Stanley-esque 250 yards and two touchdowns, and Oliver Martin, who played high school ball two miles from Kinnick Stadium, practically in its shadow, scored a touchdown on his first reception as a Hawkeye following an offseason odyssey that returned him to Iowa City following a stint at the University of Michigan.

7. It wasn’t perfect; that first half – woof.

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8. But remember, if we take everything we saw out of the Hawkeyes on Saturday as indicators for the entirety of the 2019 season, that means we have to do the same for Rutgers, which put up nearly 50 points, Penn State, which nearly hit 80, and Northwestern, which couldn’t even hit double digits – do we feel good about reaching conclusions about any of those teams after just one game?

9. That’s not to say the game is completely without merit – after all, a win is a win; among those storylines that are worth watching as potential long-term trends was Miami’s devotion to keeping its run game the hell away from A.J. Epenesa’s side; the Hawkeye secondary’s propensity for giving up long passes on third down; and Stanley continuing his career-long trend of throwing behind receivers – maybe these results all mean something, or maybe come October they’ll be little more than the ramblings of a foolish writer attempting to make heads or tails out of the Hawkeyes from one August game.

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10. If we’re looking to extend the meanings of this game beyond Saturday night, let’s consider what’s most important and what might still be talked about come next weekend and beyond: first, the Hawkeyes won; second, Alaric Jackson went down with a knee injury; third, Stanley appeared most comfortable throwing 12 yards or less; and fourth, Djimon Colbert looked like a factor providing support against the run and in pass coverage.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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