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Iowa 7, SDSU, 3: Safety dance

Well that was a win

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Iowa defense outscored its counterpart, notching two safeties in a 7-3 win over FCS South Dakota State.

Disaster preceded the game as we learned Keagan Johnson, Gavin Williams and Mason Richman wouldn’t suit up for the game, leaving Arland Bruce as the lone scholarship receiver with a career catch on the roster. This news moved the gambling line 4.5 points, from 14.5 to 10 at some books, proving once again oddsmakers don’t love our Hawks quite as much as we do.

And then disaster ensued for Iowa’s offense immediately as it was forced to punt on its first series despite converting an ever-elusive first down.

Iowa was gifted with a 17-yard punt from SDSU on the Jackrabbits’ first offensive possession of the year, putting Iowa in field goal territory for its second drive of the game.

Four plays later, Aaron Blom missed a 40-yarder after Iowa’s offense mustered just 5 yards. He’d redeem himself two series later, nailing a 46-yarder after Spencer Petras failed to hit a wide-open Leshon Williams on a screen that might’ve gone for a touchdown.

On the bright side, Iowa continued to feed the ball to its best offensive player, Tory Taylor, whose second punt of the day went for 57 yards.

Through the first quarter, Iowa had 15 passing yards while SDSU had 15 yards of false start penalties, making the crowd Iowa’s second-best player early on. The teams traded punts to start the second quarter. Taylor connected with Cooper DeJean to pin SDSU on its own 3, making it the most accurate pitch & catch of the day. Worth noting that punt came from SDSU’s 37.

Joe Evans recorded his first sack of the season to force a punt that drive, and another false start moved the SDSU punter to the back of the endzone, giving Iowa another short field to work with, which is again, meaningless.

Reminder, SDSU is an FCS team.

You’ll be shocked to learn that on third-and-ten with 3 minutes to go in the half, Petras threw the ball right into the chest of Caleb Francl, a guy who plays for the other team.

Leshon Williams and Arland Bruce were open, but he forced the ball to Sam LaPorta. Francl returned it 17 yards to Iowa territory.

Jestin Jacobs got hurt on a drive that was capped with a 44-yard field goal from Hunter Dustman. Quinn Schulte broke up a pass on third down and Iowa sat on the ball for 15 seconds to go into the locker room at 3-3. Iowa ended the half with 56 total yards, 15 rushing. SDSU had 77 yards. Iowa had 4 first downs, 4 punts, and 3 points. Three of Iowa’s drives started in Jackrabbit territory.

SDSU started the half with the ball, and after two straight 12-yard runs for Isaiah Thomas, the Iowa defense stymied the Jackrabbits, forcing a punt to Iowa’s 45.

Unsurprisingly, Petras trotted back on the field to command another three-and-out for the offense. On third down Brian Ferentz dialed up a crossing route that saw an open Alec Wick, but Petras forced it to a fullback in double coverage instead. Special teams once again salvaged a shit sandwich.

SDSU QB Mark Gronowski got tattooed on first down, leaving ...some other guy to face the teeth of the Iowa D.

Despite connecting on a 26-yard pass to Bruce on the ensuing drive, Iowa netted just 4 yards on the next three plays and left Tory Taylor to build a house of despair inside Iowa’s 2-yard line for SDSU.

Jack Campbell met Isaiah Davis in the endzone on the first play of the drive, awarding Iowa 2 points and making the score 5-3. Real sicko shit.

Three straight runs to Williams netted about 12 yards and Iowa’s sixth first down of the day. The next play Petras was sacked for a 10-yard loss, erasing Williams’ hard work. Petras then NAILED Bruce in a seam down the middle for 27 yards. Targeting was assessed on Bruce’s tackle and was strangely upheld because it wasn’t targeting.

Still, with Iowa’s best field position of the day a jet sweep to Bruce netted 12 yards, setting the Hawks up on SDSU’s 11.

Williams coughed up the ball the next play.

The Jackrabbits held the ball at the start of the fourth quarter only to be stymied by the Iowa defense once again.

With the ball on its 30, Petras overthrew Arland Bruce for what would have been an easy gain for at least 7 or 8 yards. The crew called it missing a layup. On the next play Petras hit a double-covered Luke Lachey in the tightest window possible for 6 yards.

On 3rd and 4 Brain Ferentz called a weird bootleg? I dunno, Petras underthrew an open Bruce and Tory Taylor added to his highlight reel, pinning SDSU back on its 8. The Jackrabbits were assessed a holding penalty, starting a potential go-ahead drive on its own 4.

Like a bunch of morons, SDSU attempted to go for it on 4th and inches on their own 11 yard-line, but false-started and brought the punting unit back out. Bruce fair caught it at midfield with about 8 yards of room. Two 2-yard runs for Williams set up a failed third down scramble for Petras and Tory Taylor had a rare touchback.

A sack and a one-yard run preceded an incomplete pass on third down. Iowa once again went three and out with the ball at midfield. On third and 9 Petras missed an open Wick. I’m gonna vomit.

Joe Evans got Iowa’s second safety to give us an insurmountable 4-point lead with 4 minutes to go.

On 3rd and 8 Iowa called a trick play: a draw out of shotgun to Leshon Williams that gained 10 yards and brought the clock to 3 minutes left.

Iowa couldn’t get another first down, and with 37 seconds left the Jackrabbits got the chance to win the game. With no timeouts and on its 20 yard line, Iowa’s D put on the clamps. Four straight plays, a few yards. Iowa ball with 15 seconds. Kneel.

One and oh.

The rest

  • NDSU committed 12 penalties for 67 yards. It would’ve been even more if so many weren’t of the half-the-distance-to-the-goal nature.
  • Iowa, meanwhile, was flagged just twice for 15 yards.
  • If the above write-up sounds like I focused on the offensive ineptitude while overlooking defensive dominance, that’s because it does. The defense was nothing short of sensational today. Each player was spectacular on an individual level, from new starters like Quinn Schulte and Terry Roberts, to rising stars like Noah Shannon and Cooper DeJean. Logan Klemp filled in admirably for Jestin Jacobs. This wasn’t surprising. We knew the defense was going to be great. We also knew the offense was going to suck. I don’t think we knew it’d suck this much.
  • Iowa turned the ball over twice and didn’t force any. That simply isn’t in the manual for this team.
  • This offense ran for 57 yards against an FCS defense, and that is just unacceptable. It also passed for 109 yards, but you know what I mean.
  • Mark Gronowski returned to the game after getting hurt. I’m not sure when, because it didn’t matter.