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It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It: Northern Illinois Defeats Iowa

We have to talk about it sometime.

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

LET'S GET RIGHT TO IT. We'll start with Kirk Ferentz's press conference. Here's the transcript. Ferentz found some positives from the loss,

"I just thought overall the effort was good. I thought our guys responded really well at times on offense and defense, and especially the defense. They got thrown into some really tough situations, but made a good situation out of a tough situation. I thought Jake Rudock did a lot of really good things. There were a lot of individuals that did a lot of good things, but they also had some bad plays, and those are some of the things we're going to have to get smoothed out."

It's hard to argue with Ferentz here. Rudock made mistakes - most notably the interception that ultimately lost Iowa the game - but he made decisions I felt last season's quarterback wouldn't have made. There was the touchdown pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz. C.J. posted up on the goal line and Rudock put the ball where only he could catch it. Rudock threw the ball away a couple of times showing some good pocket presence and his touchdown run was good play.

The defense played well enough to win but they ultimately ran out of gas in the second half. A deflected pass that resulted in an interception and a failed third and one pass down field to Damond Powell resulted in little rest for the defense in the third quarter. The effort was there; they were playing with cement shoes.

KIRK GOT SNIPPY. The next immediate question was: "Take me through the last play, the interception. What was the target?" His reply? "What did it look like? It was a ball to the sideline that got intercepted. Pretty obvious I thought." There was a follow-up question in which Ferentz said the play was "one we'd like to have back." He noted that the three total turnovers were "hard to overcome," and not just the final interception thrown by Rudock.

FERENTZ DIDN'T MAKE EXCUSES. He had his chance with a question about the heat. He noted that the team practiced in it all week and that weather on a football field affects both teams equally. He noted that NIU executed in the third quarter and Iowa didn't, despite opportunities.

MOVING FORWARD. Ferentz was asked if the staff considered pulling Rudock at any point. He said, "today? No, I don't think so, I thought Jake did a lot of positive things out there, made good decisions." He doesn't think Rudock's INT will derail his career. About the team overall and the rest of the season he added,

"You play 12 games and we've got 13 weeks in front of us right now, two bye weeks. What we choose to do with every day and every opportunity will determine the season, and again, we'll watch the tapes, but from where I was standing I thought our guys played hard, competed hard. It wasn't a matter of effort, not a matter of them not being invested. But we just made some mistakes that were tough to overcome, and we're going to have to do better than that."

THERE'S PLAYER POST GAME VIDEO. The list is rather long so here they are linked:

LET'S GET RECAPPY. Unfortunately, Kevonte Martin-Manly has lost enough games at Iowa to know this: "When you win, people are going to pat you on the back and tell you you're the greatest. When you lose, people are going to tell you you suck. You have to ignore it." Martin-Manley was a big part of Iowa's offense finishing with nine receptions.

For three quarters, the defense played well enough to win. Iowa's three senior linebackers played well. The highlight of the day belonged to Christian Kirksey who laid a crushing hit on NIU tight end Luke Eakes that resulted in a scoop and score. It was Kirksey's 21st birthday but after the game he said, "Yeah, it's my birthday, but we lost. It's not that exciting."

IOWA RAN 80 OFFENSIVE PLAYS. Iowa's no-huddle offense moved at a quicker pace than at any point last season. Still, there was a rhythm missing; It could be opening day kinks. At times, they looked like a garage band that just got together four weeks ago. But, to steal from a friend of mine following the game, hiring an offensive coordinator and implementing a new offense shouldn't be a two year process.

It appeared as if Iowa's power run game may have been the better game plan; wearing down a MAC defense on a hot afternoon. Instead, there were long pass attempts down field that in hindsight, the first down would have been more beneficial (in the long run, at least).

AND NO LINK HERE, JUS ME SPITBALLIN'. Is there shame in losing to this Northern Illinois team? I thought a couple months ago that this would be Iowa's toughest game in the non-conference. They're a fringe Top 25 team that should be in the Top 25 after they beat Purdue. They undoubtedly had this game circled since their Orange Bowl loss to Florida State. They played hard and Jordan Lynch is one helluva football player. Iowa has the better facilities, more money in the program, the high paid coach and per the experts the better athletes. Jordan Lynch though, he's a five-star player despite recruiting experts giving him only two during high school.

Still, a Big Ten team, on a blazing hot day, should have enough depth to, at the very least, survive a MAC opponent. Two-time conference champion or not. Iowa had to go deep into the defensive reserves when too much time on the field combined with the heat sent starter after starter to the bench with cramps. The game plan got flipped and the script reversed. It was NIU that should have had the tired legs in the fourth quarter. But, that's water under the bridge and not cruising through veins hydrating muscles.

As RossWB already covered, the frustration, from this fan, stems from the same old problems. Rinse, repeat. Everybody in the stadium, and I'm sure watching and listening, knew that a team that declared anything within the 40-yard lines four down territory wasn't going to punt the ball. Everybody. Blah.

There's positives. I felt Jake Rudock, in his first ever college football game, showed me more than the quarterback of last year's team. He made good decisions with his checks and audibles and showed good game management. Perhaps that's what won his the starting nod. Assuming he can only improve on his performance, his future appears bright.

The safeties are a problem. The interior line is a problem. The interior defensive line needs work too. The ends looked improved and B.J. Lowery is a good player.

The good news is Iowa will play one of the worst teams to come to Kinnick since 2010 next week. These players need a win. The program needs a win. There will be opportunities to get more experience for Iowa's second string. And maybe the offense will start to find a rhythm. After that, Iowa heads on the road for the first time to face an Iowa State team that lost to FCS Northern Iowa. Then it's more MACtion.

It's not over yet. Nobody predicted 14-0. Penn State lost its season opener in 2012 to Ohio while Bill O'Brien's offense attempted to find its tune. Maybe that's wishful colored glasses/koolaid whatever thinking. Bill O'Brien's Penn State system isn't broke. Maybe Kirk Ferentz's just is.




IOWA HONORED JIM ZABEL. I'm assuming this will appear at every home game this season. Iowa played a brief clip of Jim Zabel calling Marv Cook's touchdown versus Ohio State on the videoboards and loud speaker in Kinnick Stadium. The short tribute was titled "memories."