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Stat(s) to Watch (NW): Penalties/Run D

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Gotta “clean up some things” and stop the run

“ Hawks have some things to clean up”

Week one didn’t go as planned. Despite finding success in last week’s stat to watch, Iowa came up short at Purdue. If they want to avoid the same fate in week two against the Northwestern Wildcats, they’ll need expand and sharpen their focus. Here are two keys to watch in week two.

Penalties

Our Hawks return home to Kinnick needing to “Clean some things up” after a horrendous display of undisciplined football vs Purdue. The Hawkeyes uncharacteristically committed 10 penalties for 100 yards. Cut that in half and our squad is 1-0 vs 0-1. The Hawks went all Old Country Buffet from a penalty standpoint; lots of false starts and throw in an unsportsmanlike, personal foul, holding, 12 men, pass interference, and a facemask for dessert. That made me a little sluggish. Back after a nap..............

Also, the idea of a Covid Buffet ties in pretty nicely with what that Purdue game looked like from a penalty standpoint. We shouldn’t see anything like that for years to come. Knock on wood. One game in, Kirk’s crew is ranked 128/130 nationally at 10.0 penalties a game. The good news? Here’s how our gum-chewing, writing in his pad leader’s boys have fared the last three years in penalties and the rankings.

2017-18 Rank 32nd - 5.1/game

2018-19 Rank 10th - 4.3/game

2019-20 Rank 6th - 4.3/game

He’s making a list, checking it twice...

I would love to be a fly on the wall (or maybe just in the air; safer, right?) for the practices this week. Limiting penalties and hanging onto the football had to be at an all-time level in Kirks’ 20 plus years. Hit up a comment if anyone remembers the most penalties in the Ferentz era. Anyway, disciplined football will be emphasized this week. Look for this to be drastically reduced vs. Pat’s purple participants. I’m going with 3 penalties for less than 25 yards.

Run Defense

Bowser is a good back

We all knew that even without Rondale Moore and Jeff Brohm, Purdue could zip the football around. David Bell, I think the NFL is calling. What we weren’t expecting was for the Hawk defense to make Zander Horvath look like Mike Alstott. Horvath went for 21/129 and a 6.1 yard average. Northwestern comes in after a 331 yard performance vs Maryland. I can’t decide if Maryland is as bas as they looked or if Northwestern is legit. Probably a combination of both.

Isaiah Bowser is a tough, not overly fast kid with some wiggle. In 2018 Bowser was throwing banana peels at Hawkeye defenders accumulating 165 yards and a tuddy. 2019 was kinder to the Hawks; we limited him to just 36 yards on the ground. I’ve never met Coach Phil Parker, but he seems like a calm, patient man. My guess is that he’s been ready to play Saturday’s game since he walked out of the Purdue’s crappy locker room. I’ve never been there, but Purdue.

If our squad limits Northwestern’s running game, we can get our first win. Peyton Ramsey is a nice QB who can also run it a little bit.

This is going to be the most important second game of the season for Kirk Ferentz. Go Hawks!