Gone are the days of Hayden Fry beating the brakes off of Iowa State. Matt Campbell is a good football coach who has elevated the Cyclone program. Kirk Ferentz is an excellent football coach who cut his teeth in the NFL. Kirk’s philosophy is to not turn the football over and rely on his defense and special teams to win the game. One can’t argue with his success. The two teams have been evenly matched, with the Hawkeyes coming out on top seven out of the last eight times the teams have faced off. The head coach gets a lot of the credit for that. Let’s take a look at a few things from Saturday.
Jaziun Patterson played his best game as a Hawkeye against a salty Iowa State defense. Patterson toted the ball ten times for 86 yards (8.6) and a touchdown. Here are three plays that stood out.
Patterson gets some key blocks and quickly heads north and south to gain 59 yards. I enjoy his running style where he looks to make just one cut and quickly turn up field.
One of my favorite plays of the day involved Patterson in pass protection taking out two defenders on an important 3rd and 1. This, folks, is winning football.
Finally, Patterson found the endzone for Iowa’s only offensive touchdown on the day.
Iowa’s offensive line will be the determining factor in how successful this season will be. Two stats that stuck out to me were Iowa’s running game and sacks allowed against the Cyclones. After rushing for just 88 yards (2.4) against Utah State, the Hawkeyes gained 112 yards on the ground for an average of 3.9 yards per carry against a better Iowa State team. In addition to an improved job of run blocking, Iowa’s offensive line gave up just one sack for the second game in a row. In 2022, Iowa gave up almost three sacks per game. Iowa State was coming off a five sack performance against UNI. The Hawks have allowed two sacks on the year. If Iowa is able to consistently run the football, the Hawkeyes can beat most anyone in the college game as our defense and special teams are typically lights out. Our tight ends are the best in college football, and our wide receivers appear to be capable. We also have a quarterback who doesn’t lack the confidence to throw a 50/50 ball up to a wide receiver. I no longer dread watching our signal caller drop back to pass. I feel better about Iowa’s offensive line after week two. If we can continue to build on this the Hawks should be in every game they play this year.
A stat that was mentioned during the broadcast is basically Iowa Football in a nutshell. Since 2015, the Hawkeyes are 64-2 when up by eight or more points. Most all of us fans complain about Brian Ferentz’s offense, but Kirk Ferentz is stirring the drink. The Hawkeyes are built to grind out leads by running the clock, not making mistakes, punting the ball, and letting Phil Parker’s defense win the game. Once again, you can’t really argue with winning 97% of the games where we have an eight point lead or more.
Do I feel that Brian Ferentz has held this offense back? Yes. Am I fine winning ugly football games? Absolutely, yes! As long as we can sing about not having any beer in heaven, I am a happy Hawkeye. It’s great to be a Hawkeye!