The Good: Jerminic Smith
Jordan Canzeri was the obvious hero of Saturday's game but as the recap piece was essentially dedicated to him and Adam talked a little more about his awesome performance in The Takeaway, we'll go with Jerminic Smith. The stats speak for themselves: 4 receptions, 118 yards and a long of 49. Here's the nice grab of 49 yards:
It wasn't all pretty though. Smith dropped a pass he should have caught in the 4th quarter on 3rd and 5 at the Illini 16 yard line that would've given Iowa a first down and an opportunity to score a touchdown. Considering the score was 23-20 at the time, a touchdown would've made the final few minutes a little less nerve-wracking and Iowa wouldn't have needed a Ke'Shawn Vaughn fumble to essentially seal the victory. But I digress:
That's never poor company to be in (I know there are going to be jokes made).
The Bad: Pass Defense
As expected, Wes Lunt had a solid day: 25/42, 317 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. If there was anything good Iowa did against Lunt, it was sacking him three times. My question is: Why didn't Iowa get more pressure on him? The most telling play of how Lunt plays quarterback is when he was sacked by Drew Ott:
That's what we call a "Peyton Manning sack." Lunt probably could've fought to keep his balance and tried to make a play, but instead he played it safe and took the sack. Lunt doesn't run because he can't run. Iowa knew that coming into the game. Yet, for some reason, they frequently had their ends containing the edge instead of rushing the passer. Why? He posed no legitimate threat to scramble and looked like the slowest player on the field (Marshall Koehn would blow by Lunt in the 40-yard dash).
The time that Lunt was given opened up the right side of the field and man did he take advantage of Greg Mabin. Geronimo Allison is the Fighting Illini's best wide receiver. Wouldn't it make sense for him to be covered by Iowa's best cornerback? I understand that Ferentz/Parker don't have their cornerbacks roam and have them line up in a base formation but Mabin was getting abused and it can be costly when the opponent is taking advantage of such an obvious mismatch.
Naturally, when King actually did cover Allen, he blew coverage and Lomax took a poor angle, allowing Allen to score a 53-yard touchdown. Regardless.
The Bad: Injuries
Ugh. Add Ott, Myers, Boettger to the list with Tevaun and LeShun. Ott is out for the season, Tevaun is out until Maryland and Daniels, Boettger and Myers aren't listed on this week's depth chart. I honestly didn't expect the Illinois game to be so physical, but there were some hard hits dealt out on both sides. Canzeri can seemingly handle the running game by himself, Jerminic Smith is an able replacement for Tevaun and Croston looked pretty good at tackle. Alternatively, James Daniels looked less than capable in pass protection and Parker Hesse is obviously no Drew Ott (no one is Drew Ott). It's rough that Iowa had to suffer even more injuries to key players prior to their biggest remaining road test of the season. Next man in.