Just as a reminder for everyone that may have forgotten during the offseason, I write all of this in real time and I don’t edit before posting because editing is for Monday’s. Read this as a running diary of sorts. All (over) reactions must be accepted and forgiven. Thank you.
For those of you that got to be at Kinnick Stadium count yourself lucky (as if you didn’t already). All of us peasants at home had to endure the final inning of a 6-3 Phillies/Mets game that nobody in the entire United States gave two craps about. I live in Philadelphia and I can honestly tell you that nobody was watching that crap sandwich.
Anyways, we finally flipped over and Nate Stanley just Rick Rolled our right on a beautiful a play action play that sent Ihmir Smith-Marsette in motion that went for 17-yards. Everything is back to being right in the world. God bless football.
Facing 3rd and five, Brian Ferentz tries to get a little exotic, running Nico Ragaini on a reverse that goes for a yard or two. Being that Iowa was in Redhawk territory already, they elect to go for it and Nate Stanley misses on a nice play design that gets Ragaini one-on-one on the outside but Stanley misses. Juries out, but it looked like a miscommunication on what shoulder it should be thrown over? Redhawk football.
Redhawks facing an early 3rd and 15... and Phil Parker dials up a Amani Jones, Chauney Golston, Daviyon Nixon and Maui rush package. And it absolutely works with Nixon burying baby Gabbert into the brand new and exquisite looking turf. Redhawk punt.
On Iowa’s second drive of the game, we get back-to-back bursts from Mekhi Sargent; one of which would’ve gone for a touchdown if it wasn’t for a shoe string tackle from once-upon-a-time Hawkeye Manny Rugamba. I think he talked some ish after making the play and that seems like a big mistake. You have to appreciate Iowa establishing the bully ball and getting Sargent some early confidence. He’s so important for the success of this offense this year.
A few plays later, Stanley is crushed on a slow developing play down field and is nearly picked off... crisis evert... and Alaric Jackson is down on the field and fiddling with his right knee. This is not what we need right now. College Football God’s, please. This is supposed to be a magical year...
Alaric Jackson runs off the field. A good sign.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) September 1, 2019
On the very next play, Stanley keeps it on an option and scoots for a first down. Dare I say, he looked... FAST?
The Hawks push it into the redzone but sputter out (Brandon Smith and his incredibly large hands nearly makes a circus catch but can’t show the toe tap swag) and elect to kick the field goal. 13-plays, 79 yards and 6:50 off the clock. That my friends is some god damn Iowa football.
3-0, Hawks after one. Everyone Wave.
On the next drive for Miami, Chuck Martin dials up some tempo for his freshman QB and it works like a charm. After a few missed tackles on their backs (and a nice find from Gabbert to Mayock that puts them on the one-yard line), they finally find the endzone on a little fade route. 10 plays, 77-yards and 4:23 off the clock.
7-3, Redhawks. The secondary probably needs to be a little better if they want to earn the Birds of Prey nickname.
Iowa opens up with two straight runs for Toren Young who is another shoestring tackle away from breaking one to the house. One of these guys are going to make a house call soon. Stay committed, there’s no need to panic. A few plays later Nate Stanley gets called on a questionable intentional grounding putting Iowa in a third-and-forever at midfield when Brian Ferentz dials up a little flip screen to Sargent that goes foe 41-yards to the Miami 9-yard line. If you don’t absolutely adore this kid yet, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. He lays the wood every chance he gets. He’s dynamic and slippery. I think I’m in love.
On the very next play, Stanley finds Brandon Smith (and his obscenely large hands) on the out route for a beautiful touchdown over Rugamba. Probably shouldn’t have talked all that ish earlier, champ.
10-7, Iowa and everything is back to normal.
Punt for the Redhawks.
Punt for Iowa.
Punt for the Redhawks.
Out of the half, the Iowa defense forces Miami into a 3rd & 11 and the defensive line gets a nice jump and puts some pressure in the face of Gabbert who quickly gets rid of the football. Just like that, Iowa football with 13:30 on the clock.
On first down, Nate Stanley over throws a wide freaking open Brandon Smith. As the driver and CEO of the “Nate Stanley is a 1st Round Draft Pick” Club, it’s getting harder and harder to argue for him when he can’t take a little off these types of passes. Thankfully, Iowa has Mekhi Sargent who has a little touch of that Le’veon Bell patience in the back field. There’s something different with Iowa on this drive... they’re more explosive. Finally, on the Redhawk 10-yard line, Brian Ferentz unleashes Oliver Martin who (because this is the best Disney movie ever) scores a touchdown with his first catch in an Iowa uniform. We won’t be forgetting this one anytime soon. What a beaut:
That’s route tree euphoria right there.
Welcome home, Oliver. Welcome home.
17-7, thanks Harbaugh!
And just like that Iowa is knocking on the door again after a big time pitch and catch to Ragaini who juked the hell out of a Redhawk or two. NFL Nate is finally rewarding my faith. Two plays later, Sarge skips his way into the endzone and that’s 21 unanswered points for the beloved.
80 yards rushing (6.6 per carry), three catches for 55-yards and a touchdown for Mekhi.
24-7, Doak Doak Doak!
Redhawks punt after Michael Ojemudia lays the hammer on third down to prevent the conversion.
On the next Hawkeye drive Nate Stanley shows us all that he’s basically Cam Newton with a better arm, wide receivers (best of all time?) convert a few more first downs and then Brian dials up a FB dive that turns into an almost accidental lateral to Stanley that turns into a fumble and recovery for Miami of Ohio.
I just got a text from the fourth member of SpoCo Radio who is in attendance at Kinnick that said, “Is it me or has the offense taken off since the fullback has played less”. This is 100% correct and needs to be jotted down on both Kirk and Brian’s notecards. Until otherwise proven, Iowa still has a third-and-short problem. Could 11 and 12 personnel be the cure? More than likely.
4th quarter. Hold ‘em up.
Gabbert drives the Redhawks down the field yet again (AJE is getting double teamed and held a lot) before eventually throwing a pop up off his back foot that falls right in the hands of a tight end in the endzone.
24-14, turns out boneheaded turnovers are killers. Go figure. With that said, baby Gabbert is balling right now and I look forward to him transferring to a better program next season.
After a PI on ISM, a beautiful screen on 3rd & 4 that Sargent converted to keep the chains and clock moving and another third down conversion on a rollout to Beyer, Iowa faced yet another third and short from the three yard line and decided to go big. Guess what happened? It was snuffed out and stopped short.
For a team that knows they have issues, they sure don’t mind trotting out jumbo packages hoping that things will suddenly change. Woof.
Anyways, New Kirk keeps the offense on the field, in a jumbo set, and Toren Young walks into the endzone. What the hell do any of us really know anyways?
31-14, and as of right now, Mekhi Sargent has 91-yards rushing, Toren Young has 48-yarsd rushing, Stanley has 20-yards rushing, Ihmir Smith-Marsette has 16 and Tyler Goodson has 14 yards of his own. AKA 9-yards shy of 200 with 6 minutes left in the game.
On the first play of the Redhawks drive, Gabbert gets hammered by Maui and finally throws a duck... Ojemudia is right there to pick it off. Birds of Prey are officially back.
A few plays later Stanley finds ISM on a little bubble screen that leads him right into the endzone.
38-14, and Stanley only needs 20 more touchdown passes to pass Chuck Long.
Iowa covers everything. Go count your cash.
Play the damn Polka!