The Good: Offensive Line
I doubt that offensive line porn is some sort of sick niche genre but if it is, Iowa's performance against Northwestern would win an AVN. Actually, offensive line porn is my fetish and I was greatly satisfied on Saturday but that's for another time. Let's start off by talking about the line itself. Without Boone Myers and Ike Boettger available, Iowa originally had Sean Welsh listed at LG and James Daniels at RT but the two switched places and on Saturday the Hawkeyes fielded the following lineup:
- LT: Cole Croston
- LG: James Daniels
- C: Austin Blythe
- RG: Jordan Walsh
- RT: Sean Welsh
To put it another way:
- LT: Walk-on
- LG: True freshman (4-Star Recruit)
- C: Senior
- RG: Senior
- RT: Sophomore, who originally played guard
Two seniors, two underclassmen, one of which is a true freshman and a walk-on. Normally, you'd look at that lineup and think: Well, probably going to be some problems there. Apparently not.
Iowa rushed for 321 yards on Saturday (294 net yards), 207 of those coming from Akrum Wadley. Derrick Mitchell, who was overshadowed by the insane performance of Wadley, rushed for 79 yards on only 10 carries. Wadley and Mitchell averaged 7.8 and 7.9 YPC respectively. This was against a Northwestern team that was ranked 35th in rushing defense coming into the game and was only allowing 3.86 YPC. They'd only allowed four rushing touchdowns on the season. Wadley scored four touchdowns by himself.
Also worth noting is that a gimpy C.J. Beathard was only sacked twice, both times coming on the same drive early in the second quarter.
Time of possession, usually a deceptive statistic, favored Iowa 37:22 to 22:38. And Iowa's TOP was not deceiving. They churned out lengthy drives behind their offensive line and wore the Northwestern front down. Midway through the third quarter the Wildcats had all but surrendered. There was nothing, literally nothing they could do to stop Iowa's offensive line from pushing them around and letting Wadley and Mitchell pick up huge chunks of yardage. By the fourth quarter it was just sad:
I'm sure PSD will have more on the offensive line in his VINE post. Make sure you check it out just to see how impressive it was.
The Bad: Sloppy Kicking
It's unfair to expect Marshall Koehn to be perfect but he missed another FG from inside 35 yards. Unbelievably, he is 5/5 from 40+. There was also the missed PAT, which was apparently due to a bad snap/hold, though you have to start raising your eyebrow. Koehn has now missed a PAT in three out of the last four games. Ultimately, it didn't matter against Northwestern but you're flat out lying if you're telling me that you weren't sweating the fourth quarter against Illinois. He has all the talent to be a great kicker. Still, he seems to have lapses in focus and that leads to ridiculous things like missed PATs. And this isn't just on him. The whole unit needs to clean it up.
The Ugly: He Who Shall Not Be Named
Seriously, I thought we were ok with He Who Shall Not be Named on the RB front. Daniels was banged up but we'd expected to see him again the season...right? And then Canzeri? That was brutal. They're saying it's only a sprain but it looked ugly. And then he tried to hurt Mitchell but apparently he's OK. Lay off the running backs, angry deity. I know you're mad about 7-0 but you just need to stop.