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IOWA STATE 20, IOWA 17: TURTLING

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Good job, good effort, Iowa.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

A 42-yard field goal with seven seconds left to play gave Iowa State a well-deserved 20-17 win over Iowa Saturday. Netten, a native of Ankeny, was 2/2 on the day, with both field goals coming from more than 40 yards away. Iowa State quarterback Sam B. Richardson went 25/37 for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns, torching the Iowa back seven repeatedly in the second half.  And while the Iowa defense held up admirably against the Iowa State running game, there were no answers to ISU's passing attack.

On offense, Iowa was hilarious.  Rudock, who started strong, threw an interception in the third quarter and went into a complete shell.  He finished 16/24 passing, but for just 146 yards and no scores.  Rudock did run for a touchdown in the first half and finished second on the team in rushing yards.  Mark Weisman, who obliterated Iowa State behind almost the same line last year, ran 16 times for 49 yards.  Iowa amassed just 129 yards on 44 carries, an embarassing 2.9 yards per attempt.

Let's start a checklist: Things that Iowa screwed up Saturday, and the way that Kirk Ferentz's system caused them.

Iowa sent out a clearly-injured Brandon Scherff in the second half to hold up the left side of the line, mostly because it hasn't bothered to recruit or develop a backup tackle in the last three years.  Two years ago, when Scherff broke his leg, Iowa moved a guard out there and imploded.  This year, Iowa opted for a damaged Scherff over a healthy Ike Boettger, mostly because Boettger is a converted tight end and redshirt freshman.  As a result, Iowa's running game never got started, because Iowa tried to run almost exclusively off the left side.

Kirk Ferentz, your response?

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Iowa safety Jordan Lomax was thrown out of the game in the fourth quarter for a targeting penalty.  Iowa replaced him with Anthony Gair, who has not taken a snap this year. Iowa's safety recruiting has been so bad in the last, well, ever, that there really wasn't a capable replacement for a guy who was converted from cornerback because the existing free safety options were so bad.  In the past, Iowa went with walk-ons at free safety, and only recently determined that it should probably get actual athletes at that position instead.  Of course, just seconds after Gair entered the game, ISU ran a wheel route for Gair's corner and scored the go-ahead touchdown.

Kirk, what do you think about that?

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Iowa's halfbacks combined for 89 yards on 31 carries, a 2.9 yards per carry average.  Those three running backs: Mark Weisman, a former walk-on fullback; Damon Bullock, a two-star project who is really good in space but has never, eh-eh-eh-eh-ever been good in Iowa's zone running system; and Jordan Canzeri, a last-second two-star offer who also happens to be the team's best back, but was injured for most of the day.  LeShun Daniels, the only halfback on the team that any other Power 5 program actually wanted, didn't play.  The other backups, Jonathan Parker and Akrum Wadley, have Canzeri's resume.  For those scoring at home, that is three positions where Iowa has just simply failed to recruit and retain anyone who can play like an actual featured athlete on a team of this caliber.  This is when I remind you that Marcus Coker is a senior at Stony Brook, and that Iowa's recruiting coordinator just left to run a Culver's.

Kirk, your thoughts?

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While Richardson -- who had not thrown for more than 185 yards in a game this season before today -- was incinerating Iowa's secondary in the second half, Iowa continued to use three linebackers and four defensive backs.  That included walk-on Bo Bower at strongside linebacker, a position that basically requires the player to act as a fifth defensive back in coverage.  Bo Bower is a good tackler and a good story -- and we all know how Ferentz loves a good story #DallasClark -- but he was repeatedly targeted by Mark Mangino.  Because Mark Mangino is better at football than pretty much anyone on our staff.  Mark Mangino got fired FROM KANSAS for losing games like this.  He won an Orange Bowl, too, by the way.

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Iowa has three kickers and two punters on the team, three of which are on scholarship.  The punters were fine today.  The kickers have been so bad that Iowa wouldn't even allow them to kick a field goal in the first half. When Iowa needed a field goal to tie in the fourth quarter, BOTH KICKERS RAN ONTO THE FIELD.  You are reading this correctly: Iowa momentarily sent out two kickers to kick a field goal like it was a 35-yard free kick in the fucking Premier League.  Marshall Koehn made it, thankfully.  The guy with the scholarship did a nice job on two extra points, and probably shouldn't expect to have to kick any more than that in coming weeks given the offensive coordinator and head coach.  Iowa didn't recruit the local guy who just beat them, by the way.

Iowa followed that ridiculous display of sideline execution by -- you guessed it -- botching the clock at the end of the game, letting 15 seconds tick away before calling a crucial timeout during Iowa State's final drive.  Iowa was celebrating the 2004 team today, a group that is best known for throwing a bomb to beat LSU despite Kirk Ferentz not realizing that the clock was running as the ball was snapped.  I guess we just wanted them to feel at home.

Ferentz then tried to ice the kicker, but waited too long and let him actually miss the kick before bringing it back for a mulligan.  For proper kicker icing, we'll need to add another million to that contract.

Take it away, Kirk Ferentz!

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The passing game: I don't know how you can justify the fact that your receivers caught eight passes for 59 yards against a secondary that had been burned by Tyler Lockett last week and Zach Vraa the week before that. The top receivers at North Dakota State and Kansas State posted more yards against this defense than all of your receivers combined.  Let's see what arguably the best wideout in the history of the program has to say about your offense, Kirk.

Your response, Kirk Ferentz?

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This marks the 12th time that Iowa has lost as a double-digit favorite since 2006, the most such losses of any team in the Big Ten over that time by a factor of ten (when Hlas last punched the numbers in 2011, no other Big Ten team had lost more than three in that way).  Iowa is 9-15 in games decided by seven points or fewer since 2010, which is awesome given that our entire philosophy is to play every game to within ten points.  Iowa committed two horrendous drive-continuing penalties on defense during Iowa State's game-winning possession.  For the entire game, Iowa committed seven penalties for 75 yards, four penalties and 40 yards more than Iowa State.  But, hey, execution.  Good job, good effort.

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This is supposed to be Ferentz's third act.  We've been hearing about it for two years, ever since he made the idiotic decision to hire Greg Davis as his offensive coordinator two weeks and one Caribbean cruise before spring practice began, thereby neutering Iowa's 2012 offense before it was even installed.  We've been hearing about it ever since that team went 4-8 with losses to Iowa State and Central Michigan and a six-game losing streak to end the season.  We've been hearing about it when Ferentz lost to Northern Illinois in the opener last season and scraped by Missouri State.  And I think, after two games that Iowa should have lost and one that it did lose, where none of the things that have cost this program games in the last five years have been fixed AT ALL, we can make the call: This third act sucks.  We don't fix anything.  We don't even see the problem with anything.  We just score 14 and try to hold on for dear life, because that's just what we do now.  It's the 2009 Minnesota game, ad infinitum.

So congratulations, Kirk.  You turned a season where you -- stop when this sounds familiar -- played every game as a coin flip and had them all come up heads, then lost to Northwestern when you didn't have a backup quarterback ready and finished 11-2, into the biggest contract in the country.  You're going to take $40 million into retirement because our athletic director is a moron.  I'm assuming that notepad is chock full of scribbles about investments and vacation ideas for your later years, because I'm damn well sure it doesn't have anything to do with football.  Your third act is pretty much done now, and since we can't afford to get rid of you, we can simply let you know that you can go whenever you'd like.