6-0. How about that? This is our weekly look back at the previous game in which Iowa kept their record perfect, improving to 6-0 after a 29-20 win over Illinois. What stood out? Let's see:
Let's start with the play action. Here's a beaut.
I tried to break this up and you can see the same play twice. First, note how bad Illinois' linebackers and safeties bite on the fake. That's a solid sell by CJ Beathard but more importantly, that was solid timing on the play call. Iowa had ran on 1st down three out of four prior to this play. Kittle had nobody near him as Illinois sold out to stop the Iowa run and this was wiiiiide open.
The Screen Game
Why does the Iowa offense look as good as it ever has in the Greg Davis era? The screen game. Finally, Davis has the horses to have this effective element in his pocket. Beathard makes a difficult and athletic throw. Iowa has athletes getting out to block. Iowa has an athlete making the catch. This has been a big factor in Iowa's success in 2015 and makes it difficult to set up and tee off on certain passing downs for opponents.
Losing Drew Ott is going to hurt. A lot. His strip sacks and ability to get in the head of opposing quarterbacks will be missed. Especially against Northwestern, a team that will test the edge. But there's reason for some optimism. His name is Jaleel Johnson.
Sure, it probably helps if you actually try and block him. He won't be there to help the edge but he will provide a solid brick wall in the middle of the field that will force opposing offensive coordinators to look elsewhere.
And if you're worried about offensive tackle, you should be. I won't pick on poor James Daniels because that could make this post rated NC-17. There's a reason Iowa decided to run the ball 11 times in a row and pass just a handful of times the entire second half. Pass protection will need time to develop but he proves here he can set a wall on a run block.