The weather played right into Kirk Ferentz's hands and kept the score low and close. But like so many other games this season, when the time came to make a play on offense, Iowa failed and failed miserably.
It feels like the game was so long ago that this post is barely relevant. Plus we have 9 month to stew over why and how this season went so, so poorly. So today, I'll keep it short.
Four factors in review
Make Taylor Martinez look like 2011 Taylor Martinez - Martinez was just 8 of 14 for 63 yards...so, success. But, giving credit to the Iowa defense would be a mistake in this case. The passing game for both teams was extremely hampered by the wind. In the two quarters going against the wind, Martinez was 2/4 for 9 yards and led the team to just 3 points.
Keep going to C.J. Fiedorowicz - Another success. For the second straight week, Feidorowicz was Iowa's leading receiver. He had 6 catches for 56 yards and had a big 25-yarder that helped the Hawks to their only score. He finally became a big target when his number was called, and a very good safety valve. Too bad that happened in the last 2 games of the season.
Don't hold back - I don't want to complain too much, because the game plan seemed to work pretty well. Iowa smartly deferred and took the wind to start the game. They moved the ball well in the first quarter with the wind and then held on tight in the middle of the game against the wind. When Iowa finally got the wind at their back in the 4th quarter, the game was in reach. They had ball 4 times in the 4th quarter needing a TD to win and 4 times, they failed miserably. So, I can't really fault the conservative plan for having such a good chance at the end.
However, there was some painful conservatism and bad coaching decisions on display Friday and nothing close to the "nothing to lose" attitude I had hoped to see. Iowa punted from Nebraska' 31 to net a whopping 11 yards after the touchback. The 3rd-and-4 in the fourth quarter where Iowa ran it up the middle for 1 yard and then punted was especially frustrating. Also terrible: the illegal substitution following a timeout that made Mike Meyer's kick into the wind that much harder, the general 4th quarter play calling (one drive 3 passes, 3-and-out...next series, 3 runs, 3-and-out).
Senior send off - Well, I'm sure that's not the way any of the seniors wanted to go out. I don't want to really rip into any of them, because what's the point really? Other than Micah Hyde and James Ferentz, I'm not sure that any of the seniors played all that well, and some were just bad. But it's over now. Thanks for your time as a Hawkeye and good luck in life.
The long wait to 2013
With no bowl game to look forward to, an almost filled recruiting class, and the smallest number of probable draftees in quite some time, this is going to be a loooong couple of months. Spring ball will at least give us a little taste and maybe a look at who will be Iowa's quarterback next year, but that's about all there is to look forward to at this point.