There are a lot of things not to like about Friday games. In a normal season, they put fans, and coaches, in an unnecessary position of choosing college over high school. Traffic sucks, more than usual. There’s one less day of practice and gameplanning.
But on a Saturday after a blowout win of a rival? Well, it just gives fans one more day to embrace the post-win glow before thinking about all the little things which might bring their team down.
Today is filled with none of the dread which normally accompanies a gameday for the now 2-2 Iowa Hawkeyes. After Iowa’s 35-7 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-3), there’s a lot of positive to take away:
- Iowa, on the whole, asserted their will from start to finish in the run game which did not shy away from motion
- Phil Parker continues to build a defense as reliable as a midcentury American-made pickup truck
- Tory Taylor and Terry Roberts provided the 1-2 punch in Iowa’s punting game
Perhaps most importantly, Kirk Ferentz is salty as all-get-out:
"We figured we'd take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here.," -- Kirk Ferentz— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) November 14, 2020
There was also a converted two-point conversion which ended my least (and most) favorite stat about the Brian Ferentz era:
2-point streak over for Iowa (10 straight whiffs). Petras to Goodson (officially a rush). Iowa up 28-0— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) November 14, 2020
After learning the card says to “go for two” a decade ago, you’d think Frenemy of the Pants, The Daily Gopher would have decide to hold off on firing this tweet...
Kirk keeps it classy going for two up 26-0 in the fourth— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) November 14, 2020
This is a rivalry game, there is precisely NO ROOM for class.
When the Big Ten returned, I certainly expected the dimmer switch we have seen. It’s weird watching these games without fans and with coaches wearing their masks with inconsistent “ability.”
What I really undersold was the level of pettiness we saw in tonight’s game. Don’t get me wrong, it would absolutely STINK if Iowa was on the receiving end of either the last two games, especially last night, but it is so, so, so nice to see Kirk & company dole out what he did last night.
Is this what it felt like in the 90s when Hayden Fry told Gary Barnett, “I hope we didn’t hurt any of your guys too bad”?
Now, maybe all of this will come back to Iowa.
Physics dictates that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Iowa is certainly experiencing that opposite reaction with Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern.
Yet Iowa, nay, the curmudgeonly Kirk Ferentz has staved off a reaction from his inverse, PJ Fleck. He’s stuffed Fleck in a locker the last four years and by neither hook nor crook has he been able to prevent that inevitability.
The six-game winning streak is delightful and it’s wild to see a sanctioned Big Ten Twitter account dish the shade.
We’ll worry about the reaction when it happens.
Iowa’s game was reminiscent of past November blowouts. There were a couple against Nebraska where Iowa just. wore. them. down. There was 55-0, of course, and that was a team operating at the peak of its power after taking plenty of self-induced lumps throughout the season.
It is unlikely this would be the peak of this group’s power as there are plenty of miscues for the Hawks to iron out. Spencer Petras isn’t showing much. Keith Duncan hasn’t been perfect. There’s still half a season which could see Iowa’s creativity stall out or Kirk’s game management comes back to bite them or they simply fall victim to 2020 with a COVID-19 outbreak.
Yet their last two wins have by a collective margin of 70 points. Tyler Goodson looks great, son, and Mekhi Sargent has found the perfect role as Goodson’s lieutenant. The offensive line is clicking. The wide receivers are doing what needs to be done. Iowa has a guaranteed top 2 scoring defense in conference (not counting Wisconsin), irrespective of the results of today’s games. The last two blowouts have made the Northwestern and Purdue games feel like distant memories.
Time will tell just how costly those outcomes were but for now it’s Saturday.
And we have a win to celebrate.