Phil Parker’s defense pitched a shutout, and Iowa’s offense looked capable. It was a good day to be a Hawkeye.
Deacon Hill played like a Big Ten quarterback on Saturday. It’s almost like this position is the most important in football. Big Deac was 20-31 for 223 yards. He threw one costly interception at the end of the first half. He also threw a touchdown to “newly discovered” wide receiver Kaleb Brown. Hill hit tight end Zach Ortwerth down the seam for a 54-yard connection. If Hill plays at this level, the Hawks can stack some wins. I contemplated giving Hill a higher grade because, after the past number of weeks, this felt like a Tom Brady-like performance (my apologies for using a Michigan QB as a comparison.)
Iowa’s three-headed monster of a running back ran the ball 37 times for 170 yards (4.6). Leshon Williams, Kaleb Johnson, and Jaziun Patterson were pretty even with how many times they carried the ball. Jaziun Patterson hit paydirt with a four-yard rushing touchdown. Iowa has three “starting” running backs, and each brings something a little different to the table.
Saturday was a bit unique in that Iowa’s wideouts had eight receptions. That was a far cry from what we have seen from this position recently. Nico Ragaini was targeted 11 times (?!?) and caught 4 balls for 48 yards. Kaleb Brown is flashing his athleticism and potential (don’t you think we could have used him earlier?). Brown hauled in three passes for 27 yards and this score.
Seth Anderson had one catch for 21 yards.
Iowa loses two NFL-caliber tight ends in Erick All and Luke Lachey, and tight end coach Abdul Hodge goes to the pantry to grab a couple more big fellas who can block, run, and catch. Addison Ostrenga (soph) had eight catches on eight targets for 47 yards. Freshman Zach Ortwerth had one reception for 54 yards.
Iowa’s play-action passing attack can be very effective when the Hawks are running the ball successfully.
Iowa’s offensive line wasn’t perfect, but considering the Hawks had some guys banged up, the Hawkeyes rushed for 179 yards and didn’t allow a sack. It was a pretty dang good day on the farm for the hay bale tossers.
[hint, they are all going to be A’s]
Rutgers’ running back Kyle Monangai was the B1G’s leading rusher entering the game. He managed 39 yards on 13 carries. Phil Parker will do that to you. Rutgers only had seven first downs on the day. The Hawkeyes didn’t have staggering stats from this group, but they played Iowa football. Tough. Smart. Physical.
Jay Higgins and Nick Jackson continued to have sensational seasons. Higgins led the squad with eight tackles including 1 TFL. Jackson had seven tackles and Iowa’s lone sack on the day. The Hawkeyes didn’t collect as many tackles as we are used to seeing because Rutgers only ran 41 offensive plays.
The Hawkeyes allowed only seven completed passes. Jermari Harris was very active, breaking up two passes. Cooper DeJean and Sebastian Castro each broke up a pass. Quinn Schulte had this interception that he almost took to the house.
Special Teams: A-
Tory Taylor punted three times for an average of 47.7 yards. Taylor will be missed next season. Drew Stevens was almost perfect. Stevens was 3 for 4 on field goals. He missed from 47 yards and connected from 32, 43, and 24 yards. He was 1 for 1 on extra points. The minus grade was for the one missed field goal. It’s not uncommon for a college kicker to miss from 47 yards, outdoors in November in the Midwest, but at Iowa, LeVar Woods has expectations set at Mount Everest levels.
Next Up: Illinois
I will be heading from Minneapolis to Iowa City this coming week to experience Kinnick Stadium for the first time since 2002. I attend many Hawk/Gopher games in Kinnick North, and I attended my first bowl game last year in Nashville. The last time in Iowa City? Iowa/Iowa State 2002. The Hawks lost a heartbreaker to the Cyclones after taking a 24-7 halftime lead. I am most excited to see The Wave in person for the first time. Considering I cry without fail on my couch waving to the kids, I will be a mess experiencing it for the first time.
As always, it’s great to be a Hawkeye! Go Hawks!