Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I admit it. So I'll just say it now. I was wrong. I spent last week’s edition of this post telling you I was giving up on Iowa football. Not just because I was fed up with what I had been seeing on the field, but because it seemed like Iowa Football had given up on Iowa Football. I was wrong. And boy did it feel good!
After I ranted last week about a lack of passion from this team, they came out of the gates Saturday night swinging. And they never quit. It was the single most notable difference from any other game I’ve seen this year. Guys were flying around. The defense was literally everywhere, all the time. They were excited to be playing football. they worked their asses off for each other. And it showed. That kind of fire and passion is what college football is all about. It’s all we, as fans can really ask for out 18-22 year old kids. And we got it. This one clearly meant a lot to the players and coaches alike. Love. It.
2. Freshman! Freshman!
When I was in college, which seems like way too long ago, there was a song popular at the time about being in college (revolutionary, I know). It’s not a terribly great song and I’ll let you decide about the message, but about 3 minutes in there is a part that popped back into my mind Saturday night.
Freshman! Freshman! Freshman! DO SOMETHING CRAZY!
With just under 4 minutes left on Saturday, the Iowa defense needed to make one last stop. The freshman, Manny Rugamba, did something crazy.
Rugamba was starting for the injured senior Greg Mabin. The kid looked damn good Saturday.
A few minutes later, with two seconds remaining on the game clock, Iowa handed the keys to the season to another freshman. And again, he did something crazy.
3. Wadley Gonna Wadley
I don’t think I’m close to alone when I say I’ve been pounding the table for a while now demanding Akrum Wadley get more work. The kid is like a real life video game joystick. We all got our collective hopes up last week when we heard the staff had finally been looking for ways to get him the ball in space. Then last week happened and that dream seemed pretty much dead. While there wasn’t a TON of creativity in getting him the rock this week, they did work in more screens and some tosses, sweeps, etc. to get him outside the tackle box. But even when they didn’t, he made Michigan look silly. The following needs no words.
(Shoutout in advance to @HeavensHawkeye, the man does great work and it is easier to show you his fantastic clips than to track down individual ones. Follow him on the Twitters - just come back when you’re done.)
Wadley breaking Wolverine ankles! pic.twitter.com/X8ecAdC08J— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) November 13, 2016
4. Bad Cop Time
OK, I’ve made it past the halfway point and I’ve been almost entirely positive. Time to let the pessimistic legs run for a bit. It wouldn’t be the same if this just stayed buried deep inside. So here it is:
Iowa looked great Saturday. It played with energy and desire and the staff actually took some chances. It got Wadley the rock 23 times, 9 more than Daniels, and many of them were on plays that put him in a position to do what he does best. WHERE THE HELL HAS THIS BEEN ALL SEASON???? Why did we have to wait until Iowa’s hopes for a West Division title repeat were crushed before we see the defense flying around and stuffing everything the opponent throws at them. Why did it takes months of fans complaining about predictable play calling and not getting playmakers the ball for the staff to makes some adjustments? They see this team every day, shouldn’t they see that before some idiot with a smartphone figures it out? I loved most of what I saw (the passing game is still largely a disaster), but it’s so frustrating to think about the wins left on the table by the uninspired football we saw for the several weeks leading up to Saturday. End rant.
5. A Little Sweeter
Saturday’s win was awesome. No doubt about it. The atmosphere in Kinnick made me eat my heart out (you may recall I spent my Saturday at a wedding instead of my usual spot in section 105 and I felt damn good about that until about 6:59). And the finish was unreal. But the icing the cake for me was the opponent. Jim Harbaugh is a fantastic coach. He is doing great things for Michigan football. But he is also a sociopath.
Some poor group of equipment guys got to spend hours of their lives that they’ll never get back converting Iowa’s pink visiting locker room into a home locker room. And at that moment, the mental battle was won. The locker room was in Harbaugh’s head, and rather than just let it be its own thing, he made sure it was in the mind of every Michigan player. Between this move, the whole camping out at a high school kid’s house, and the booger eating on national TV, I’m telling you the guy is just off.
Whatever happens tonight, just remember: games come and go, but eating a booger on national TV is forever. pic.twitter.com/r9WiKQOh3o— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) November 13, 2016
And since we got the icing on the cake, why not a cherry on top? The win by Iowa means OSU no longer controls their own destiny. They are sitting in a 3-way tie with Michigan and Penn State. PSU has already been destroyed by Michigan and you may recall they took down OSU. that leaves a showdown between Michigan and OSU Thanksgiving weekend. If OSU wins, they still lose. They would then be tied with Penn State, but would lose the tiebreaker. That’s what you call a two-for-one.
6. Let’s Get Mad Again?
The football team gave us all a reason to be happy again on Saturday. The hoops squad had a pair of games this weekend, too. They’re 2-0 and averaging 104 points a game with a slew of young talent that is really fun to watch. So I’m wondering if we should be getting mad again this year?
My brain tells me not to get my hopes up. The competition hasn’t been great so far and we knew coming in this was going to be a quasi-rebuilding year. There was a ton of talent that graduated last year and a bunch young guys on this squad. The competition level is about to jump up dramatically and things could get bumpy, but my heart is telling me this group is going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. In game one, we got what we expected out of Jok - 27 points on 11/19 shooting. We got double-digits out of Baer and Wagner and Cordell Pemsl.
In game two, Jok wasn’t really needed. Brady Ellingson dropped 23 points in 16 minutes on 4-6 shooting from beyond the arch. Pemsl continued the hot start to his collegiate career with 18 points and 9 boards. Cook and Jok scored 14 and 13 respectively and 13 Hawkeyes found the scoring column. This team gets up and down the court, is fun to watch, and has shown a number of different scoring options. It’s still too early to say definitively that I think they will make the big dance, but they have a chance. They will start getting opportunities to rack up quality wins beginning this week. It’s a great time to be a Hawkeye.
7. Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
While it is, indeed, a great day to be a Hawkeye, things weren’t ALL sunshine and rainbows over the weekend. Things didn’t get off to the best start. There was this, from Desmond King...
And then of course there was this beauty:
And when I saw this, I thought it was over. All the hard work by the defense to be squandered on, well, you judge:
But, alas, the bumps in the road just made the trip even sweeter.
Iowa beats Michigan, the celebration was too damn fun to watch... pic.twitter.com/PpNQIRejdN— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) November 13, 2016
Deal with it Michigan.