The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Hawkeyes.
After all, Wisconsin is up next.
But most importantly, the bye gives the Hawkeyes added time to work on their offense, which – let’s be honest – needs more work than what’s possible in a week off.
The Iowa offense still couldn’t find a rhythm against a Northwestern defense that allowed 52 points the week prior. Before facing the Hawkeyes, the Wildcat defense held opponents to an average of 25.2 points per game. The Hawkeyes scored 20.
There was one bright spot, though: freshman running back Tyler Goodson.
Goodson flashed a preview of how potent he can be against Northwestern, and that’s why he deserves more carries going forward.
Look at Iowa’s touchdown drive early in the third quarter against Northwestern. It was a 13-play, 59-yard drive that resulted in six, putting Iowa up 17-0. Guess who sparked that entire drive? Goodson.
Goodson carried the ball eight times, gaining 48 of the team’s 59 yards on the possession. It was the first – and only – time against Northwestern the offense strung together more than four plays for six points.
He did more than run the ball, too. Check out the excellent blitz pickup by Goodson on Tyrone Tracy Jr.’s touchdown How can you not love this?
Love to see true freshman RB15 Tyler Goodson cleaning up in pass-pro! Just another reason Iowa felt comfortable not redshirting their future star. pic.twitter.com/QSIdFhOkyF— Joe Kipp (@JuhKipp) October 26, 2019
Goodson got hurt on that drive, but eventually returned to the game, carrying the ball two more times.
I know he’s a freshman, and in years past, playing a freshman seems to be the cardinal sin. It’s gotten better lately, though, as shown by Goodson’s touches this season in a crowded backfield.
Goodson has 64 carries for 316 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown this season. He’s caught 19 passes for 137 yards, too.
For comparison: Mekhi Sargent has 98 carries for 443 yards and four touchdowns, and Toren Young has 62 for 357 and one score.
I totally understanding desiring a back-field-by-committee approach. Iowa’s top three tailbacks are talented. They all average 4.5 yards or better per carry. But I’d love to see Goodson get more touches.
In the past two games, Iowa has three touchdown drives, and two of those have been nine plays or more. Both of those have Goodson’s signature:
- Drive 1 (third quarter vs. Purdue): Nine plays, 72 yards, touchdown — Goodson: 1 reception for 20 yards, 1-yard touchdown run
- Drive 2 (third quarter vs. Northwestern): 13 plays, 59 yards, touchdown — Goodson: eight carries for 48 yards, 1 reception for -1 yard
I know, small sample size, but in the past two games, Iowa’s two long touchdown drives featured Goodson in some form or another.
Goodson has that “it” factor. And against Northwestern, especially on Iowa’s touchdown drive in the third quarter, he showed why he deserves more time on the field.
Goodson reminds me of Akrum Wadley. He’s incredibly quick, has great footwork, and his electricity is fun to watch. He’s a spark.
Iowa’s offense hasn’t looked sharp since hanging 48 points on Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 28.
Through their first four games of the season, the Hawkeyes averaged 33.5 points per game. But once the conference slate hit in full force, the offense has struggled.
Iowa’s averaged 15.3 points per game over its last four – less than half of the average to start the year.
Yes, defenses have gotten significantly better. But this isn’t new. Iowa’s offense, in all reality, should be clicking by now, not searching far and wide for an igniter.
My suggestion: Get Tyler Goodson more touches.