It’s been a slow week and half. Every day was an agonizing crawl toward another weekend of football, for which I’m less than excited. Having the extra long wait did not make it feel any better. But the Hawks had that extra time to get healthy and plan for Penn State and the rest of the season. But what’s Iowa’s track record after a bye week?
With a record of 7-6 in games after a bye week (since the 2002 season), Iowa is as close to batting .500 as possible. Additionally, it does not seem as if the score profile of Iowa’s games looks any different pre- and post-bye. This actually may be a good thing when considering the fact that these post-bye games have been disproportionately played against teams like Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Penn State and this week’s contest against Penn State is only going to further tilt the table in that direction. But the score is not the only indicator of changes in play. Let’s take a closer look at these games.
For those of us looking for Iowa’s passing attack to get a boost after a bye week, don’t hold your breath. Iowa basically looks the exact same in passing efficiency before and after a bye. The one thing that does seem to be a possible trend is that Iowa’s pass defense benefits from a bit of a boost. Getting the secondary and D-line some much needed rest has led to Iowa shaving off about three quarters of a yard per attempt by their opponent. That’s going to be vital going into this game against a Penn State team that seems to be finding its footing (and some protection for their QB). But this year, we’re all mostly worried about the rushing game. Iowa looked shaky on rush defense through the first 5 or so games, and struggled to find consistency establishing a ground game.
Well, that’s less than reassuring. It would seem that Iowa seems to have trouble getting a rushing attack started after an extra week off to prepare. It also appears that an extra week of rest does not help the defense be any more stout against the run. Now, the same caveat belongs here. The teams Iowa has faced after a bye are, coincidentally, also teams that are usually quite strong historically. Unfortunately, with a seemingly resurgent Penn State looming large as the next test, I don’t think we should expect any tectonic shifts in the way Iowa performs, even with a fortnight of preparation, if history is any sort of guide.