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The Morning After: Michigan

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Flat Stanley has a bad adventure in Michigan.

Tough day for Flat Stanley.

For those of you with children, you may have experienced Flat Stanley sometime in their academic career. The point was to take Stanley with you as you do things in your life and then during show and tell you would share what Flat Stanley did (or if you had a particularly strict teacher, you wrote a paper on the adventures).

I’m going to tell you about Flat Stanley’s adventure yesterday to Ann Arbor.

Stanley had been having a great senior year. He was undefeated and even getting some attention that he might be the sixth or seventh best quarterback available in the draft next April which would make Flat Stanley, rich Stanley.

The trip to Michigan to play a potentially average Michigan team was his big chance to show that he was deserving of the hype and was prepared to take his team to great heights.

Anyhow, Stanley went to Michigan and brought all of his friends. Stanley’s best friends were the big guys that play on the offensive line and block for him to help him keep his clothes clean each week. I don’t want to ruin the story, but Stanley must have upset his friends this week because they protected him about as well as the inmates did for Adam Sandler in the remake of “The Longest Yard”.

As you all know by now the Hawkeyes lost to Michigan 10-3 in a sloppy game played in excellent weather. Iowa lost the turnover battle as well as the battle in the trenches. The Iowa defense did the best they could to keep Iowa in the game all the way until the last drive but by halftime it was apparent that if Iowa was going to win, the defense would have to score. They were unable to do this.

I’m not going to do a play-by-play because this was a game that definitely wasn’t a “how-to” for future students. If you want to watch four minutes of “highlights”, here you go.

Instead of a play-by-play, here is the result of each drive throughout the game.

  • M - Punt
  • I - Turnover (fumble)
  • M - Field goal
  • I - Punt
  • M - Touchdown
  • I - Punt
  • M - Interception
  • I - Interception
  • M - Punt
  • I - Field Goal
  • M - Punt
  • I - Punt
  • M - Punt
  • I - Interception
  • M - Missed field goal / Halftime
  • I - Interception
  • M - Punt
  • I - Punt
  • M - Punt
  • I - Punt
  • M - Missed field goal
  • I - Punt
  • M - Punt
  • I - Punt
  • M - Punt
  • I - Turnover on downs
  • M - Knee

I couldn’t write a better description than just seeing that there were 15 punts in the game.

Here are some various thoughts on the game, in no particular order, written six hours after the game ended when some of my disappointment will hopefully be absent from my thoughts.

  1. Brian Ferentz: It would be easy to blame Brian for the loss as he often put three or four or even five wideout and let the Michigan defense sack the daylights out of Stanley, eight times to be exact. However, as we’ll discuss later, some of the blame can fall on others. Ferentz probably called a game that should have been a win. With that said, I’m definitely not convinced that he should be the next Hawkeye head coach.
  2. Geno Stone: Tremendous game for Stone as he stepped up against the big, fast Michigan receivers. He recorded four tackles and an interception and I can recall that one of the tackles was in the open field that prevented a Michigan first down. The junior safety just ensured that he will be looked at by many NFL teams and this will be a great tape for them to watch.
  3. Penalties: There were two pass interference/holding calls that should have been called on Michigan including one in the end zone against Oliver Martin. If either is called, the final score would have been different. At this point I believe A.J. Epenesa knows that there won’t be a holding call on a lineman against him, he’ll just have to fight through everything. He was able to add a sack and another tackle for loss today but otherwise he’s going to have to open the door for teammates. Chauncey Golston had eight tackles and a sack due to the extra attention given to Epenesa. Then. late in the game, there were three straight penalties called on Iowa that turned a 1st and 10 in Michigan territory to an eventual punt.
  4. Tyler Goodson: Goodson impressed me with his hands as he was utilized as a receiver out of the backfield. He ended up with 62 yards on five catches but was probably under used as a runner. Goodson seems to have the speed and allusiveness to play against teams like Michigan and probably should have seen more action.
  5. Offensive line: Most of the trouble for the line appeared to be when Michigan was stunting and blitzing as the middle of the Iowa line often didn’t know which man to pick up. Eight sacks is never ideal and the coaching staff better get back to the drawing board before Penn State comes to town. I’m not sure if there are some younger players that can take some plays on the line in the guard spots but obviously Saturday wasn’t good.
  6. Nate Stanley: At this point, it seems like Stanley is who he is, a durable, quality, Big Ten quarterback. He won’t win big games for you but with the right play makers and the right scheme, he can lead you to eight or nine wins. The narrative that he doesn’t throw interceptions was quickly dashed on Saturday as he threw three interceptions against a Wolverine defensive backfield that wasn’t doing anything overly tricky. The really disappointing aspect of his game was the fact that he had no ability to avoid sacks. Often, it looked like he turned back into the pocket rather than rolling out and throwing the ball away. No one is asking him to be Justin Fields, but a little C.J. Beathard wouldn’t hurt.
  7. Penn State: The Nittany Lions head to Iowa City on Saturday night with potentially a better team than any Iowa will see this year including Wisconsin. While Iowa has a habit of playing well at home, especially at night, this will need to be a great week of practice and a win on Saturday for Iowa fans to get this bad taste of the Michigan game out of their mouth. A great season is still on the table, but a home win on Saturday is imperative.

Flat Stanley definitely didn’t have a good adventure this week but the best thing is that there will be another adventure next week and with a win, all will be forgiven.

There’s always next week for Flat Stanley.