The Good: C.J. Beathard
Yes, it was Marshall Koehn who crushed a 57-yarder to win the game as time expired. But it was C.J. Beathard who put him in the position to kick it. Beathard’s passing stats aren’t going impress anyone. Hell, he didn’t even throw for a touchdown and tossed an awful interception that made it a three-point game. But it was Beathard, who I’ve created an image of being a moonshine drinking, chain smoking, country music loving, Joe Namath fur coat wearing, wheeling and dealing quarterback*, who orchestrated this victory and put Iowa in the position to win. The stat in Steve Batterson’s Tweet is most telling:
* - There’s no evidence that C.J. Beathard is any of these things…aside from a wheeling and dealing quarterback.
Adam already talked about the level of trust that Ferentz has in Beathard this morning, so I won’t harp on the matter. If there’s one thing you should take away from this game it’s that C.J. is the quarterback Iowa football needs in 2015. Not only is he what this team needs, he’s what the program needs. And he’s living up to, if not surpassing all of the expectations set for him by the coaches, media, and our sometimes fickle fanbase.
The Bad: Rushing Game
We knew that Pittsburgh’s front seven was going to be a challenge for Iowa’s offensive line, but I didn’t expect them to hold Jordan Canzeri to less than 50 yards and LeShun Daniels to a whopping 1.9 YPC. This Pitt defense had all of the trademarks of a Narduzzi defense at Michigan State: nasty, ferocious and sometimes of questionable legality. How Narduzzi turns his defenses in the 1970’s Raiders is beyond me. Coincidentally, the guy who took most of the punishment from Pitt’s defense, C.J. Beathard, was the most effective runner on the team. He averaged nearly 5 YPC and scampered eight yards in the waning seconds to set up Koehn’s game winning field goal.
It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Pitt ended up being one of the strongest defenses that Iowa plays all year. As it stands right now, Northwestern, Illinois (what), Minnesota and Wisconsin all rank in the top 30 for total defense. There will be tougher or equally tough tests in conference play and Iowa will need to find consistency on the ground if they’re to be successful in the Big Ten. If not, they’ll have to rely primarily on C.J. Beathard and honestly that wouldn’t be the worst thing because ALL ABOARD THAT BEATHARD HYPE TRAIN.
The Ugly: REFS
No seriously. What the hell ACC refs? I mean, we won’t even talk about the helmet to helmet on Beathard that you had to willfully ignore to not throw a flag on. There was also the missed pass interference call where a wide-receiver (Hillyer?) got laid out and apparently that’s not really a big deal. Questionable no calls on holding. Questionable spots for Pitt on offense. It was like Big 10 basketball refs were out there. Man, I’m glad we don’t have to play those guys again.
The referees. Not Pittsburgh.