I predicted that Iowa would step into this game with an added urgency to showcase a revamped and retooled offense. Boy, was I wrong! I could use all 10 reactions to highlight how sad of an offensive display that was, but I’ll try not to.
Reaction 1: The weapon is still lethal. And by the ‘weapon’, I mean our punter, Tory Taylor. After multiple failed 3rd and shorts, Taylor stepped into the ball and boomed punts that pinned the Jackrabbits deep in their own territory. It was more of the same in the second half, and Iowa even regained the lead after a safety that resulted from a monster Taylor punt. If Iowa’s going to be successful this year, they’ll need the Aussie to continue his superb play. (I wish I was joking) #TheWeaponForHeisman
Tory Taylor booming punt, Terry Roberts downs it around the five yard line.— Kennington Lloyd Smith III (@SkinnyKenny_) September 3, 2022
Reaction 2: The defense is who we thought they were; aggressive, deep, and talented. The Hawkeyes had under 60 yards total offense in the first half, but SDSU had only one big-play opportunity themselves, in what became an overthrown ball from quarterback Mark Gronowski. I was especially impressed with Terry Roberts, who pressed SDSU’s wideouts and allowed almost no breathing room through the duration of the game. The front 4 also looked capable of producing another elite season and dominated every quarter.
Reaction 3: Quinn Schulte is ready for the occasion. We knew replacing Jack Koerner wouldn’t be easy, but the walk-on and former Xavier Prep standout looked primed to do just that. Schulte had multiple pass breakups that resulted in stalled drives for the Jackrabbits. Phil Parker’s ability to lose NFL talent and replace it without losing a step is remarkable.
Iowa safety Quinn Schulte has come up with consecutive big pass breakups to force a field-goal attempt.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 3, 2022
Reaction 4: One yard per rushing attempt against an FCS opponent in a full half of football is as bad as it gets for the offensive line. Injuries are hurting this group, and it’ll take some time to adjust to new units, but I still expected them to assert more of a physical presence and dominance, which they failed to do.
Reaction 5: It’s time to roll with #8. 6 for 15 / 41 yards / 1 INT was our starting quarterbacks stat line at the half. That abysmal first half display was followed-up by a near interception on Iowa’s first drive in the second half. What more needs to be said? I don’t enjoy watching a kid get boo’d, but something has to change.
Reaction 6: Body language.
The energy from the defensive unit and special teams was off the charts from the first snap. I cannot say the same for the offensive unit. It just looks like two totally different teams on the opposite side of the ball. The defense flew while the offense could barely crawl.
Reaction 7: Nobody chews gum better than Kirk Ferentz. When times get tough, this is something I find myself falling back on; we have the best damn gum chewer in the nation and nobody can take that from us.
Reaction 8: Lack of creativity from Brian Ferentz. Again, this is something I predicted against, but I’m willing to admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. Same short routes, same single-reads, same unwillingness to get your best playmakers the ball in open space. What happened to the style of play used against USC in the Holiday Bowl? I fear we may never see it again.
Reaction 9: Feed Arland Bruce in as many ways as possible. In his only rushing attempt, Bruce had an easy first-down pickup. Bruce embodies the skillset that’s now being coveted in WR rooms (think Deebo Samuel). Iowa is doing him a disservice by not featuring him more in the run game.
Reaction 10: Let’s take a moment to appreciate Fran. Even when his teams lose, I feel entertained and excited about potential developments. When Iowa football wins, I somehow feel the exact opposite.