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Morning After: Infield Hit

The Hawkeyes accidentally scored double digits and are rewarded with the top spot in the West.

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Well that was...something?

What the hell do you even say about that game? It was terrible on nearly every level. Even Tory Taylor was off his game. Read that again! Even Tory Taylor had an off day!

There’s nothing we don’t know about this team already, other than the rare off day by Tory Taylor and Drew Stephen’s hooking a kick off the upright, which is not a home run in this sport. The defense had an amazing goal line stop on the Wildcats that gave me Syracuse 2006 flashbacks and kept jNW bottled up all day. Stephens made an absolutely nails field goal to win the game, a kick that landed in the bleachers.

The offense still stinks. They will be WAY below last year’s totals in points per game, yards per game, passing yards per game...almost every category, which is unfathomable (except it’s the scheme, not the personnel, so it’s totally fathomable that they could go lower). They somehow also have this. More weird Iowa stats:

Pay Phil Parker and LeVar Woods more money. NOW.

The biggest news today? Iowa now has pole position in the Big Ten West after today’s results. Nebraska stubbed their toe in East Lansing. Wisconsin lost to Indiana for just the second time since 2002. Minnesota lost to a horrible Illinois team at home, and they probably have another loss coming up to Ohio State.

So the Hawks pull back into the top spot in the West with three games to go. That’s great. There will be more unentertaining football next week with Rutgers heading west. Early Scarlet Knights over/under? I’m seeing 29.5. Some have it at 28.5. First to 10 wins.

  • The Brian situation. I haven’t said much about it other than a single comment saying I am of the same thinking on this. Kirk can whine all he wants about process and the distraction of a dismissal mid-season. He had no control over this part of the house, and that is his fault. He and Gary Barta created this work-around so Brian could be at Iowa with his dad. The moment his co-conspirator in this nonsense decided to retire last summer, he lost control entirely. If his offensive coordinator had a last name other than Ferentz, this never happens. Kirk is in control in that scenario, he can do his top to bottom evaluation, determine nothing is wrong and they are too late into the coaching carousel to do anything, so nothing changes. It happened though, and the program is better off for it.
  • For the mouth-breathers in the back - Beth Goetz said in her own statement that she didn’t like the timing either, that a mid-season dismissal isn’t her preferred method. But because this whole thing turned into a national punchline, she had to act. Again - the program is better for it and Iowa can act quickly on this.
  • Part of me feels bad for Brian, but all of this has enormous caveats with it. He’s an Iowa alum. Played at Iowa. Was a pretty good player. Played on two Big Ten championship teams. Nearly lost his leg mid-career due to an injury that developed a staph infection. Decent position coach. He’s taking a ton of grief for his side of the ball being so bad and there are rumors that his family is getting flak for how bad it’s been (which, if you are one of these people, you are the biggest possible loser).

The caveats - you watch games like Saturday and you wish he’d been fully fired on Monday, not given this pillow-y soft landing. And he’s been paid handsomely in this role.

Mad Men has a way of getting to the point, and fast. All the angst headed his direction? Yeah, it sucks, but that’s what the money’s for. He made good money. He’ll be ok. His last name hurt him in this instance but in the NFL it might help land a gig, Whatever the case, Godspeed, Brian Ferentz.

  • Injuries happen across the country. It sucks for Iowa that they’ve lost, at various portions of the season, Kaleb Johnson, Jaz Patterson, Cade McNamara, Luke Lachey, Erick All, and Beau Stephens was carted off today. Mason Richman was banged up at various portions of the season, too. That’s just the offense. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, such as Joey Labas and his camp injury. So of course, Kirk was going to use this as a reason to bring Brian back. I can’t evaluate Brian. It wasn’t him. Too many major injuries. Gotta bring him back. The thing about that is, I have eyes. And while my eyesight is poor and I have to wear glasses, that’s ok - with glasses on, I can see really well! And I’m not insane!
  • There is no possible way the rest of Iowa’s quarterbacks are worse than Deacon Hill. He nearly lost a fumble again today and threw an awful pick in a close game that kept Iowa from getting points on the board. But the others might turn the ball over more in practice and that means more than an in-game turnover. Practice turnovers > real life, in-game turnovers. Make it make sense.
  • Rutgers is next and they gave Ohio State all they could handle before the Buckeyes went cow tipping and tipped Rutgers over. Bet the under again. 28.5. Unbelievable!
  • I imagine Kirk sees that tweet above and thinks, “...and?? We’re winning.” He’s right but damn - we will look back on this in 10 years, see the stats, and be absolutely apoplectic about it. I’m already doing that in text exchanges with friends.
  • Since the Penn State game (5 games ago), Iowa has allowed three touchdowns. Somehow they lost a game in that stretch.
  • The highest-scoring game at Wrigley this season was 20-9, a Cubs win over the Reds on August 1. I mentioned it in my weather/line adjustment piece on Friday. Nowhere close to that figure today.
  • Seriously, what was that from Tory Taylor? Not his best game.
  • Also seriously - what the hell with the field? The conditions on the infield, and especially on Iowa’s goal line stand, were atrocious. Kirk was non-pulsed playing this in a baseball stadium, and he has every right to feel that way. Let’s stop with games on a baseball field. The Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium was a mess with a frozen field, and this was a mess with enormous divots late in the contest. Those divots were at least a foot deep, maybe more.
  • This would be a good resting spot for Iowa’s offense. Just keep digging on those divots, fellas - just a few more feet so we can bury this crap offense and move on to whatever Kirk imposes next.