So, we know Iowa's defense is solid, right? According to ESPN, Iowa's scoring defense is 2nd in the country, giving up less than 11 points per game. But I got to thinking - that includes a garbage time score from ISU against our 9th string defense, and some special teams gaffes in the AZ game, not to mention the fake pun in the EIU game that resulted in a score.
If you comb all that stuff out, how many actual scoring drives have opposing teams put together against the Hawks? The answer is, "Not many."
Follow along here.
Game One, versus EIU -- Eastern Illinois fakes a punt and picks up the first down. Iowa's defense still should have held them, but it's arguably that the defense already did its job and special teams allowed this drive to continue. Erase it. Drives against Iowa's defense? 0 points.
Game Two, versus ISU -- One touchdown in garbage time against the bench. Scratch it. 0 points.
Game Three, versus Arizona -- A blocked punt, a pick six, and a kickoff return add up to 21 points. Actual scoring drives against Iowa's starting defense amounted to just 13 points in this game - one touch and two kicks.
Game Four, versus Ball State -- no points
And now, Game Five, versus Penn State, the Nitts knocked in just one field goal.
Add that all up, and Iowa's starting defense has given a TOTAL of just 16 points and one touchdown in five games, for a scoring defense that gives up just 3.2 points per game.
People, that's insanity. Granted, three of these games were against cupcakes, but even the AZ game would have been a Hawkeye blowout but for three plays, two on special teams, and one on offense.
When people say, "Iowa has one of the best defenses in the NCAA," what they mean is, "Iowa has the best defense in the NCAA." Because even counting all that garbage above that you can't fairly lay at the feet of the starting defense, we're still ranked #2 in scoring defense.
When you think of that, KF's decision to sit on a two-score lead for an entire half of play seems pretty reasonable. However, knowing the kind of screwups our special teams are capable of, you can't help but wish we strung up a nice six-minute drive to chew through some clock and really put it out of reach in the 3rd quarter.
And now we have two weeks to gameplan for Denard, who is THE. MOST. AWESOME. PLAYER. IN. ALL. OF. COLLEGE. FOOTBALL. This was decreed from On High in week two, and will be repeated throughout the season, even as Michigan strings up five losses in Big 10 play.