Sure, Iowa just throttled a wildly overmatched FIU team, 42-0. But how much do we really know? What was really important about beating FIU? What does it all mean, Basil? The Takeaway has the answer.
1. The defense is still awesome. Sure, Iowa won 42-0, but for the defense, the score remains 3-2; that's how many points opposing offenses have scored, and how many points the Iowa defense has scored. It was almost a 9-3* lead for the Hawkeyes, as AJ Edds was one shoestring away from taking a pick to the house in the second quarter. All told, Iowa harassed the, uh, "Golden Panthers" (how that isn't a sex act in UrbanDictionary.com is beyond me--oh wait, here we go) into three turnovers, including two embarrassingly easy interceptions. Iowa is now +2 in turnover margin on the season, and it's a lot easier to win games if you're on the right side of that metric (also helpful: playing wretched football teams every week).
Speaking of giving the ball up, while Stanzi absolutely punished the FIU defense to the tune of 162 yards and 3 TDs on only 8-10 passing, he once again threw an unconscionable pass. This one was dropped by a stationary FIU defender after hitting him square in the numbers. Stanzi showed flashes of brilliance Saturday, but--if uncorrected--his penchant for stupid throws will come back to haunt Iowa once the real season begins (and that would be this weekend).
2. Colin Sandeman is ready to play in the Big Ten. Sandeman was pressed into action last season out of sheer necessity, returning punts and going over the middle despite weighing roughly a buck oh five. He's a different player altogether these days, and his two scores against FIU signaled to the Big Ten that the Iowa receiving corps is deep and dangerous. That felt really weird to type.
DJK is Iowa's top receiver these days, as he does things nobody else on the team can do. His tightrope act over the last five yards of his touchdown catch was probably the most masterful play of the entire game, and it set a clear tone for the entire game: Iowa will dominate. Even when Stross comes back in a week (and hopefully no later than that), it's unlikely that DJK will be unseated from the starting lineup.
As far as Brodell, he was once again lightly used as a receiver, gaining just 15 yards from scrimmage on two catches. That's fine for early season games against punching bags, but we're hoping to see more from him as the season goes on. He's most effective in space, so the dreaded bubble screen ought to return to Iowa's repertoire any day now. We don't know why O'Keefe hasn't busted it out yet; do the coaches think opposing teams don't know about it? Trust us, they do.
3. Anyone who booed Jake Christensen is a lowlife piece of shit. The boos were largely coming from the student section, which isn't a complete surprise; having been students at Iowa ourselves, we know good and goddamn well that Chicagoland's unbrightest 19-year-olds can barely be trusted ever, much less at 12 noon after four hours of sleep and 11 beers. That's no excuse. No real fan boos like that, especially not a kid who's been a class act the whole way and never once complained even as he was getting sacked four times a game and was throwing to receivers who had no business being on the field, much less starting. Not to go all Mike Gundy on you, but this certainly merits mention:
He's a good kid. Further, he's not even a bad quarterback--despite his first drive stalling, he did end up going 8-12 for 99 yards and a score. His touchdown to Sandeman was beautifully thrown. Hardly the work of someone who's bad at football or who, as Pat Harty idiotically claimed** (not making this up), "was set up to fail."
And so now we have a new quarterback who's almost certainly going to start against Iowa State next week, and a very good (maybe even better) backup that doesn't dare set foot on the field unless Iowa's down by two scores and Stanzi is visibly drunk. It's a shame.
We don't know yet what the Daily Iowan's coverage of the game will look like, but as the paper of record for the UI campus, it had goddamn better excoriate the students for an unbelievably classless gesture to Christensen, who has handled himself on and off the field with an almost unreasonable amount of maturity. That his fellow students can't be bothered to even try to return the favor suggests that Christensen deserves far, far better, and the Iowa students deserve far worse. Grow up, you insufferable little pricks.
Clayborn and Sandeman photos are via John Schulz of the QC Times; the Christensen picture is via Charlie Neibergall of the AP. All photos from HawkMania's picture thread, which is quite worth your time, especially when Clayborn is caving in McCall's spinal column.
*Yes, we're giving the defense the extra points on those, otherwise it's unfair when both sides score a TD.
**It would be entirely disingenuous for me to take that shot at Harty without mentioning the rest of his column, which was very respectful to Christensen and unequivocal in its disdain for the boobirds. Then again, Christensen's now the backup QB; how can the media not love him?