Funny what an offensive line can help you do. When Iowa wanted to run on Iowa State, it more or less could. When Iowa wanted to pass on Iowa State, it more or less could. Part of that is because Iowa doesn't have abjectly incompetent people at those skill positions, but really what happened is that Jake Rudock was able to stay upright and Mark Weisman was able to find holes and get to the second level with regularity because the offensive line was doing its job exceedingly well on Saturday.
Yes, the competition has to be considered (more on that in a bit) but for all our grousing about the quarterback and the guys he's throwing to and the guys he's handing off too—all important, I assure you—the fact is it's remarkably easier to accomplish what you want to do when you have the opportunity to execute without the play being blown up from the start, and that has everything to do with the blocking.
So while Iowa's OL wasn't perfect on Saturday, it was good. It was damned good. That at least bodes well for the rest of the season because while the skill position talent isn't great, at the very least the blocking will put these guys into better position to make plays.
But about that competition. An Iowa State partisan texted me five minutes into the game worried that ISU wouldn't win a game at all this year. After Saturday's game I kinda see what he means.
It's not that nobody on Iowa State is good; it's not even that most of Iowa State's players are bad. It's just that where the Cyclones are lacking, they are sorely lacking, and that includes places like "basically the entire offensive line" and "basically the entire secondary."
That being said, Sam Richardson has some moxie at QB, I like ISU's wideouts. You have to hunt and peck for the talent on the Cyclone defense but it's there. But you just can't win much in a BCS conference if you can't block anybody and you can't even stop offense of the caliber of UNI's or Iowa's.
Still, it does make me wonder what kind of a team would be fielded if Iowa took a cue from some other similarly populated states and just had one BCS-conference team. Like how would the Cy-Hawks fare in a typical regular season? Probably an 8-win team or so, right? Well, you'd hope so, anyway, what with 170 scholarships to work with. But I digress.
Jake Rudock didn't throw a backbreaking interception! Wooooooo.