On Saturday afternoon, Iowa showed it had the potential to be something interesting this year with its 24-3 win over Wyoming.
I don’t know about how interesting, but it will be worth watching. It might even be a bit of fun.
The defensive effort was tremendous, shutting down a quarterback who will likely find himself drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. The whole situation had shades of 2003 Ben Roethlisberger in the game against Miami (OH) written all over it.
Iowa’s defense played with a lead most of the game, it never felt Wyoming was in control of this game. From the beginning the Iowa defense was immeasurably more talented and disciplined than the Cowboys offense.
Individually, Josey Jewell is somehow better than he was last season and making plays like this:
A.J. Epenesa played (and quite well) in his Hawkeye debut. Josh Jackson has all the makings of a star. We might even have a solid safety in Jake Gervase. Ben Niemann played arguably his best game in the Black and Gold. Brady Reiff had a damn interception.
Wyoming had just 233 yards of offense and were 5-18 on third down. Josh Allen was good, but even his arm wasn’t enough to overcome a powerful Iowa pass rush and an aggressive secondary hellbent on making the Cowboys pay.
Bad timeout management and several penalties helped doom any Wyoming upset, with this amazing, terrible, wonderful, tragic, hilarious punt the true turning point of the game.
Couple things: With 38 seconds left in the first half, Kirk called a timeout. It stopped the clock. The next play, Epenesa sacked Allen for a 3-yard loss. Then, the fateful punt.
Following a Wyoming offsides call, Noah Fant caught his second touchdown of the game. The sophomore tight end finished with just two catches, but both went for touchdowns. His second had to have been disheartening to the Cowboys.
Nothing hurts a football team more than an avoidable mistake being turned into seven points.
Those 38 seconds completely changed the entire aspect of this game. Iowa went from — best case scenario — possibly getting in field goal range to scoring a touchdown and going up by 11 points.
That’s a helluva swing. It was also a great throw from Nate Stanley and this seems like as good of a place as any to dump this random bit of information.
As I was trawling through the Iowa Football interwebs, looking at the stats and news from Iowa’s 24-3 win over Wyoming, something caught my eye.
It’s from game notes Iowa handed out in the press box after the game. Including Nate Stanley, 14 quarterbacks have started a game for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Nine of them have been winners in their first contest.
Brad Banks, C.J. Beathard, Nathan Chandler, Jake Christiansen, Jason Manson, Randy Reiners, Ricky Stanzi, Drew Tate, and, now, Nate Stanley.
Kyle McCann, Scott Mullen, Jon Beutjer, James Vandenberg, and Jake Rudock.
Oh, and guess who the last quarterback to throw for three touchdowns in his Hawkeye debut?
None other than Ricky Stanzi.
What I’m trying to say here is that with the win, Stanley puts himself in pretty good company. Does it mean anything? Not in the slightest, and let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It is, however, interesting.
Overall, Nate Stanley’s first game went.. alright. Here’s Kirk fielding a question about him from a video of the presser Marc Morehouse shot:
Q. What did you think of your quarterback today, Coach?
KIRK FERENTZ: I was really pleased with him. He went through some rough times out there. I mentioned the whole team really responded to the bumps, but I thought he did too. He didn't get rattled. I'm sure he was internally, but he stayed strong, just stayed steady out there, and some of those throws that he made were pretty impressive and the catches as well. But for Nate to make those kinds of throws, I thought that, especially coming off a couple bumps, that says a lot about his makeup.
I think Kirk hit it right on the head. He did have some rough moments on the field, especially in the first quarter, but as the game went on, he got better.
The internal vs. external idea of being rattled also is kind of interesting to me as well. There weren’t really any signs of him being outwardly uncomfortable and he handled everything that was thrown at him. Stanley is a tough kid and it’s impressive he was able to do everything without center James Daniels (who is expected to be back next week).
Ferentz made the right choice here and the trust he has in Stanley paid off.
Elsewhere on the offense, Nick Easley became a known commodity today. He’s a walk-on, originally planned to go to Iowa State and the Hawkeyes managed to convince him to take his talents to Iowa City instead. He’ll probably be booed next weekend when Iowa heads to That Town Out West.
Akrum Wadley went over 100 yards, his tenth career rushing game and was, once again, great.
His 23-yard scamper on 3rd and 21 is one of my new favorite runs of his.
James Butler (whom I badly wanted to score a touchdown so I could call him Jimmy G Touchdowns) was fine in his Hawkeye debut, toting the ball 10 times for 47 yards. Wadley took the bulk of the carries, getting 24 for 116.
Iowa’s offense is a work in progress, but there’s definitely some explosiveness and a bit more pop than we had last year. I’m looking forward to seeing what this team starts to do as it rolls through the early stages of the season.
A huge amount of growth happens through the first couple games of the season and as they more comfortable with one another, some really great things could happen.
Speaking of great things, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this new tradition.
This is, simply put, awesome. Iowa football’s connection to the University Hospitals has always been tremendous and I’m really glad to see something like this happen.
So, now, game one down. What’s next?
Ahhh, yes, I remember.
You're right, it is original.— Iowa State Athletics (@CycloneATH) September 2, 2017
Our fight song came out 21 years before Iowa's did https://t.co/umNEKh8WUe
It’s hate week.