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Wednesday Scrambler: Finding the front seven

Where’d they go, will they come back?

North Dakota State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

During the first half of Iowa’s loss to North Dakota State last Saturday, the Hawkeye rushing defense was actually very solid, holding the Bizzzzon to 36 yards on 23 rushes.

Throw in a pair of sacks on Carson Went—er, Easton Stick, who is most certainly some sort of Easton advertising robot from the future, and the boys up front had themselves a nice little half. You may have forgotten that based on what happened after the break.

Unfortunately for Iowa, teams make adjustments at half time — or are supposed to, anyways — and by game’s end almost all of the Hawkeye defenders up front were left as battered and ravished as, well, America’s bison population. North Dakota State finished the contest with 239 total yards, with King Fraizer (talk about insult to injury) leading the way with 99.

Where did the defense go? It certainly wasn’t as effective taking down Bison as some of us were in Oregon Trail. Missed tackles and failed third down stops were aplenty, and even the Outlaw Josey Jewell, who we thought would thrive in a physical, downhill game like this, was held in check by the big uglies on NDSU’s line.

North Dakota State v Iowa
A lot of this happened in the first half. A lot of this didn’t happen in the second half.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The good news, however, is that Rutgers — that miserable excuse for a football team — was nice enough to schedule the Hawkeyes this week. Oh wait a second, jumped the gun there. Did you know Rutgers is third in the Big Ten in rushing offense with nearly 227 yards per contest?

Maybe that trip out to Piscataway won’t be a cakewalk after all, which could be better for the Hawks — perhaps a gut check challenge is what they need.

But if the front seven fails to make adjustments and let the Scarlet Knights run rampant like the Bison, we could be in for another long day.

Moving on to Rutgers — whose AD, Pat Hobbs, gave into peer pressure like I’ve never seen any adult do last week — and their student tailgate, or lack thereof.

Can anyone see Hobbs approaching Gary Barta with a Bud Light and challenging him to a chugging contest before Saturday’s game? I can’t, but if I could, I’d bet a lot of money Barta would decline and counter offer with an easier beer like Busch instead.

Barring something drastic happening before the start of next season, Nate Stanley is the quarterback of Iowa’s future. While C.J. Beathard was momentarily sidelined in the third quarter nursing a shoulder injury, he hit tight end George Kittle for a 37 yard completion. Kittle, on that play, scored more fantasy points than my tight ends have all year, but that’s besides the point.

Of course, Beathard overthrew Kittle on a virtually identical play on Iowa’s first drive, which we should’ve seen foreshadowing the offense’s day.

Not saying but just saying, maybe if Stanley’s in to start this game, he hits that pass and Iowa wins. Just a little something to think about. We might be giving that a deep dive later in the week. Maybe.

Tom Brands is still killin’ it out there in prep for the Jingle Cross (it’s a biking event for those who aren’t in the cycling game).

Terry’s also doing his part — although he doesn’t seem like he’s doing himself any favors running up a hill in khaki pants.

Who has the better bike-carrying technique, Terry or Tom?

In what seems like a weekly installation in this post, we’ll now check in on Jim Harbaugh. On Tuesday’s edition of the Dan Patrick Show, he called milk of the skim and one-percent variety “candy-ass.”

Harbaugh, who was obviously put on this planet to coach football and coach football only, may be sorely misguided, as one eight ounce glass of whole milk has five grams of saturated fat. On the other hand, he may not be, as football players can obviously burn that much faster than you or me.

Either way, Harbaugh’s daily glass(es) of milk probably goes well with the blood of that week’s opposing mascot.

h/t @MitchS91 on the beer video