27-17: TIME TO UNDERSTAND THE HORROR

27-17. Feeling pretty good about that, right? As well we ought to be; that Arizona defense was fast. The headlines are probably going to be about Robinson's 100 yards or "OMG 2 FRESHMAN RBS"--maybe even about Stanzi--okay, probably not about Stanzi--but the real story has to begin on the other side of the ball.

Now, you wouldn't normally see a game in which your (underdog) opponent scored 17 points and conclude, "wow, that defense is legit."

But that's exactly what to take away from the Iowa victory today: fear this defense. They... oh, you know what? Put this music on first, then read on (but don't actually watch the video, because it's stupid):

 

 

 

 

Got it going? All right.

Here's the last two starting quarterbacks' combined stats from when they faced Iowa: 14-36, 129 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT. Oh, and 2 benchings. Austen Arnaud, you are not alone; you may take solace in the fact that while you threw 4 INT in the game, you were able to complete more than 4 passes to your own team. Not so for Mike Scott, who just submitted a stunning 4-14, 1 INT, 50 yard performance. Like, that was his entire day through the air. 50 yards.

Arizona held the ball for only 22:04 of the game today. That number makes sense, considering the team only managed 8 first downs. 2-12 on third down conversions, which is only slightly mitigated by going 2-3 on 4th down.

Put it like this: Arizona's scoring started with a horrific first quarter pick-six by Trevin Wade (who is unimpeachably awesome). It ended with a score on a hurry-up late TD with Iowa protecting a 17-point lead. Inbetween was one field goal off of a 58-yard run to the 1 by Nic Grigsby... and pain. Lots of pain.

The chief agents in Iowa's dissection of the Matt Scott Show were Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug, and Tyler Sash. Clayborn and Klug were helldemons on the defensive line, continually pressuring Scott and wrecking the point of attack for Grigsby. Clayborn ended with 10 tackles, a sack, another tackle for loss (by running Grigsby down from behind, which a 280-pound man absolutely should not be able to do), and a forced fumble. But if he ended 10 plays, he affected about three times as many; Mike Diaz was little more than a turnstile at LT. Klug, too, had his name called plenty of times, and Sash was EPIC TYLER once again, his 43-yard interception return cementing the end to Scott's day.

As for the offense? Ehh. Ricky Stanzi was fine in the second half, as you might have guessed, but after the opening TD drive in the first quarter, Stanzi looked on the verge of implosion. He threw that interception to Wade, then spent most of the next few drives throwing balls to random places on the field. It was bad. Very bad. But for an utterly improbable 43-yard draw on 3rd and 23, Iowa might have gone into the locker room down at the break. Totally different game at that point? Eh, maybe. Not sure that does anything to the defense's demolition of the UA offensive line.

Also, taking nothing away from the effort-filled performances of Allen Reisner, Colin Sandeman, Paul Chaney Jr., and Riley Reiff... it's really obvious this team could use Tony Moeaki, DJK, and Bryan Bulaga back on the field. Like, soon. Preferably for next week.

Last, we would also be quite remiss if we didn't acknowledge a strong candidate for team MVP, Ryan Donahue. The Redheaded Cannonfoot boomed five punts for an average of 51 yards--2 stayed inside the 20 and another was a 62-yard touchback. Net punting on the day: 46.2 ypp. Considering that Arizona's was only 34.2, that's a significant benefit in the field position fight. Ask Arizona if they enjoyed staring at a long field after every time they held Iowa to a punt. Matt Scott will probably answer, and his response will be uncontrollable tears.

So that's that. 27-17 in the books, and a defense that is starting to look like the fearless ass-kickers we thought they'd be before the season began. Next week, Happy Valley. And the salvos begin firing... now.

Murray-chris-donahue-hawkeyesportscom_medium
Bring it.
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