I had intended to make this short and sweet. Two words. I’m dead. Apparently that wasn’t up to the editorial standards of The Pants. And who doesn’t want to start off the week by reliving every detail of something you finally blocked out a couple days later. So let’s rehash the nightmare that was Saturday, shall we?
1. Historically Bad
I’m stating the obvious when I say that Iowa’s run defense is bad. But I mean, it’s really bad. Historically bad. We haven’t seen a rush defense this bad at Iowa during the KF tenure save for one other season. Trust me when I say you don’t want to relive that season. Iowa finished 3-9 in 2000. We could be headed there. Now, I know we’re already to 3 wins, but this schedule hasn’t exactly been murderer’s row. It’s not going to get any prettier. Seriously, kill me now.
2. Maybe Worse?
I’m not going to sit here and blame anything on anyone other than the staff and the players that lost the game Saturday, but that was some historically bad officiating. Northwestern was called for 1 penalty, a 5-yarder on a false start that amounted to absolutely nothing. Iowa was nailed for 6 for SEVENTY yards. What’s not shown in the box score is the scoring opportunities afforded or prevented by brutal officiating. Take, for instance, the no call on the obvious pass interference/face guarding/tackling as Iowa was putting together a drive to end the first half. Mirror that to the one that was called against Iowa to set up another Northwestern TD late in the second half and you get Iowa fans throwing stuff on the field. Iowa played like garbage much of that game, but the defense got absolutely no help. Blatant holds at the point of attack, no calls on anything (and I mean anything) for Northwestern and Jaleel Johnson had a right to be a little confused as to why he was being flagged for the same offenses. Ugly stuff.
3. CJ is Neutered
I don’t recall exactly which one of you knuckleheads made this comment, but last week one of you referred to CJB as looking neutered out there. Nailed it. No more is he a gunslinger with grit an instincts who just makes plays. You see glimpses of that player on occasion, but mostly when I watch him now I see a guy trying to make the correct read, run through his progression and protect his body. That’s great and all, but it means he’s a split second late stepping up or getting out of the pocket. This offensive line isn’t good, but CJ, with excellent legs, not feeling pressure and escaping like we have grown accustomed to is only making matters worse. He’s late on throws to guys that are wide open, he isn’t taking the same chances down the field (granted, this receiving group is not last year’s and the loss of MVB is killer) and his instinct to run is being held back it seems. This is a worrisome trend we’ve seen with QBs under KF. Guys just seem to look different the longer they’re in the system. And not in the way you hope. On the bright side, at least now we know he can punt. Given the Wiegers experiment, I wonder if that’s something KF looks for on the recruiting trail. Things that make you go hmmmm.
4. Speaking Of
Speaking of the offensive line... Let’s go. 41 carries, 79 rushing yards and nowhere to go. If you can’t create holes for guys to run through, you sure as hell better be able to get in someone’s way on their route to CJ. That hasn’t exactly been happening either. Six sacks, FOUR by Ode, Oden, Odengonakillyourquarterback. Again, some of that is on CJ either walking right into one or not having the clock go off in his mind, but for the love of football just get in the guys way for 3 freaking seconds. If the defense is going to let people cram the ball down our throats, the offense is going to have to put up some numbers. Not gonna happen when you get this kind of line play.
Northwestern's defense had 5 total sacks before Saturday's game vs. Iowa. DE Ifeadi Odenigbo sacked CJ Beathard 4 times himself in 38-31 win pic.twitter.com/VzTCn82gZd— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 2, 2016
We got a brief, honest glimpse into the locker room during the post-game interviews. It’s as pretty as you might imagine. Now I know most media outlets have poo-pooed this and are now saying King clarified his comments. OK. Judge for yourself.
“They really outcoached us a little in the passing game.” Oh. Not something you typically see from an Iowa player. Certainly not something you expect to hear from your All-American, Thorpe Award winner. True, but not something you expect to hear. This comes after not being voted as a team captain for the second consecutive week. The rumor mill will be busy this week, but good Lord what’s happening in that locker room? That’s your best player, the guy who opens so many doors for your defense from a creativity standpoint and he’s coming as close to throwing the staff under the bus as you can get. Get your popcorn ready.
6. Is it Hoops Season Yet?
The first thing I thought as I was making the long trek down Grand Ave on Saturday, soaking, looking like a wet puppy dog amidst 70,000 less than thrilled friends, was, “is it basketball season yet?” Well, no, it’s not, but Saturday did mark the official open to basketball practice. Thank God. Iowa fans are going to need something, anything, to get their minds off this football team the next 8 weekends. I’m not saying the basketball team is going to be stellar, but the expectations aren’t what we had for this football team and at least they are damn exciting to watch. Let’s just try to survive until November 11th.
For the last several weeks, I’ve included a quick clip of Penn State’s, uhh, well fed kicker. He’s not a small human being and he’s made a name for himself this season crushing opposing return men like grapes. Saturday, he had the favor returned.
And he didn’t like it.