THIRD DOWN. If you want to point to a reason Iowa beat Minnesota, perhaps third down conversions is a good place to start. The Hawkeyes rank 17th in the nation converting third downs this season. Iowa was a whopping 10 for 15 on third downs against the Gophers and started the game with a 17 play drive that resulted in 91 yards of offense and a touchdown.
Let's look at those third down conversions and see how Iowa keeps possession and things moving.
This was the first possession and following a Beathard sack on 2nd down Iowa goes right to the screen play. Now, this isn't as easy as it looks and that's why Iowa hasn't had success in the screen game in previous seasons. It takes an athletic quarterback to pull this off and some touch on the pass too. Iowa's OL does enough in space to create a lane for Derrick Mitchell Jr. and his effort results in a first down.
Again, opening drive and another 3rd and medium. Did I mention athletic quarterback above? If you're looking for one particular reason Iowa is having success offensively it's all right here. When you have a quarterback that make plays with his feet it adds another element to your offense. We saw it with Drew Tate and Brad Banks. Opposing coaches have said Iowa is an easy prep because you know what they are going to do. When Ferentz has this wildcard, it's no easy prep anymore.
Still the first drive but 3rd and 15. Notice the protection for C.J.B. This time it's a delayed blitz or perhaps a spying LB that decides he has a clean shot. CJ stays in the pocket, waits for Matt VandeBerg to come open across the middle and fires a perfect pass.
CJ is special, but it's a collective effort. There was plenty of things we could have looked back at; the offensive line plowing big holes, Leshun Daniels looking the best he's ever had and the breakdowns on defense. There's a reason Iowa's having success on offense and success in the win column. Converting third downs is a major part of it.
FINALLY. There's not a that one play this week but rather a tribute video of Austin Blythe produced by the Iowa film guys. This is really cool. At least to me. There's a lot of coaches' eye camera work here. Enjoy.
VIDEO: Iowa C Austin Blythe following Iowa's 40-35 win against Minnesota. https://t.co/AhsF5mBFBO— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) November 15, 2015