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Iowa Football: Hawkeye Fans See Improvement, Cautious vs Western Michigan

There was a glimmer of hope in woeful 20 points Iowa scored against the Cyclones. Hawkeye fans aren’t convinced it will lead to a blowout against WMU.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Iowa
Brian has to be a little nervous too.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes certainly did not put on an offensive display in Ames when they defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 20-13. By virtually every standard, 20 points is not a lot. For the Hawkeyes, while the standard is quite low, the bar is officially 25 points. Iowa did not meet that in week two.

But they did find something on the ground that wasn’t there in week one. When Iowa averaged a measly 2.4 yards per carry against Utah State, the alarm bells started going off across Hawkeye Nation. The numbers were skewed in week two by a 59-yard scamper from Jaziun Patterson early in the 1st quarter, but the Iowa run game looked better last week, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

So we wanted to know this week whether the showing on the ground made Hawkeye fans feel better about how this offense is trending as we round out non-conference play in week three. The answer? Not really.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After all, we opened this whole thing with the most important number: 20 points scored. As low as that is, it doesn’t even tell the whole story with Sebastian Castro’s pick-6 accounting for another 7 of those points.

Add in the pessimistic nature of the fanbase as a whole and yep, 54% of us feeling no better after a road win in Ames seems about right.

What is interesting is the third of respondents who do feel better about the offense after that win. Perhaps it’s the signs of life in the running game. Or perhaps it was the multiple big plays that were there but not connected upon in week two. Whatever it was, let us know in the comments below.

Regardless of views on the overall offense, one area where fans seem to have some faith is in the freshman Patterson. He led Iowa backs with 86 yards and got the lone offensive TD of the day. In general, he looked more explosive than starter Kaleb Johnson and had the kind of burst hitting the whole that this offensive line seems to need to be effective.

Given that, more than half of respondents indicated they think Patterson should start against Western Michigan in week three.

Regardless of who starts this week, it’s pretty clear Patterson has earned more work in the running game. He also proved himself as a great pass blocker with his now patented 7-11 split. In week one he also showed promise as a pass catcher in the screen game.

So the real question becomes, how do you keep him off the field on passing downs if you are Brian Ferentz? If Patterson doesn’t start, he seems at minimum like a lock to steal that role from Leshon Williams, who somehow ended up with votes to be your starter this week, despite tallying just 19 yards on 7 carries (2.7 ypc) all season with a long of only 5 yards.

Beyond the running game and starters, the question really facing the Hawkeyes this week is whether they can finally get over that 25 point mark and look like a competent offense. As we’ve said all week, Vegas seems to think so with a line now north of 28 points.

This again is where Hawkeye fans are... less than optimistic.

That’s probably fair. The question this begs is who, exactly, is betting this line up. It started closer to 24 on most books and has steadily risen everywhere as the week has progressed. If not us, Hawkeye fans, then WHO is so optimistic about our offense?!?