DEFENSE. It wins ballgames. That was true for Iowa on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin where the Hawkeyes came home with a 10-6 win and a perfect 5-0 record. We spent a week prior to the game talking about each team's strengths, weaknesses, and similarities. So, we'll spend a majority of this post focusing on how Iowa won the game.
This is Wisconsin's first play of the game. They attempt to beat Iowa to the edge right away. Here, the left tackle steps to the outside trying to seal Ott and the motioning fullback is there to pick up the first linebacker off the edge. Ott is straight up on the tackle and at first looks like he's sealed but uses his quick step to make a play in the backfield. After bending his left arm the wrong way against Iowa State his health was thought to be a concern most of the early season. He announced he was back on the game's first play.
This was his second INT and from Iowa's Raider package. It doesn't get much easier than both of his picks as the wind was a factor for both quarterbacks. Maybe Stave saw the one-on-one and went with the height advantage throwing to a 6'6" Tanner McEvoy, but this throw was terrible and an easy pick for #14.
Thank Joel Stave again for another gift. His right guard stepped on his foot and instead of eating it he tried to get it to his running back. Watch Nate Meier, lined up at nose, get leverage and blow up the play. Had the ball been handed off this play wasn't going anywhere. He's having one helluva senior season thus far and has been a pleasant surprise. One of the good stories, if you will.
That one play.
Normally, a QB sneak doesn't appear in a post like this. But this is important for one reason: that Old Kirk vs New Kirk discussion. Fourth quarter, less than 10 minutes to go and Iowa has the ball at the Wisconsin 26 (thanks to a bad spot). It's just inches for a first down. Kirk Ferentz, without hesitation, sends his offense on the field and calls one of the most basic plays in football. He choose to run his quarterback behind two of the best interior linemen in the Big Ten. CJ Beathard would fumble on the game's next play but this was a gamble, no doubt. A bad snap exchange or Wisconsin stuff and this blows up like Tommy Armstrong throwing on third down. Kirk trusts his defense and this shows he has trust in his whole team.