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Iowa Hawkeye Football 3, 2, 1: Western Michigan

3 Takeaways, 2 Questions, 1* Thing I enjoyed

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Iowa
Cade Mac looks to lead the Hawks in Happy Valley
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Our Hawkeyes are 3-0 but we look far from perfect. I predicted a score of 42-6 last week, and we more or less got there, 41-10, but it didn’t feel like a 31-point victory for much of the game. The Hawks trailed after the first quarter. Iowa got things going and a celebratory Swarm Golden Ale (Exile Brewing) was consumed as a new postgame tradition.

3 Takeaways:

  • I keep waiting for our defensive line to take its play to a higher level. Joe Evans has been terrific, but I expected more disruption from this group. The Hawks’ D-line has been splitting reps, but I would love to see Aaron Graves and/or Anterio Thompson get more plays and step up and get to the quarterback more consistently. Thompson showed freakish athleticism blocking the punt against the Western Michigan horses.
  • Our offensive line looked like an offensive line Iowa would trot out onto the field. If you subtract the sack yardage (I know this is a rule so it is what it is), Iowa ran the football 38 times for 287 yards for an average of 7.6 yards/carry. That is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! Love me some smashmouth football!
  • I was not enamored with our defensive backfield. There appeared to be a few communication breakdowns which led to big plays. A no-no for Iowa’s defense. Hopefully, Jermari Harris settles back into the grind more this week. I did think that Deshaun Lee looked good in Iowa’s first two games.

2 Questions:

  • In my opinion Iowa’s offensive line will determine how we do against Penn State. Points are going to be a premium (at least for us), but the Hawks need to run the ball effectively and keep Cade McNamara in the game. On the season Penn State’s defense is allowing 11.7 points per game, 96.7 yards rushing (3.1), and has ten sacks (3.3). We are not built for a shootout. If the Hawks get a road whiteout win, it will be a 17-14 game at most.
  • Can Iowa limit Penn State’s big play ability? Penn State always has skill players. Heck, Penn State has dudes who back up dudes. Iowa got caught a few times against Western Michigan with edge contain, and we had a lapse in communication that led to a quick score. Those miscues will spell our doom in Happy Valley. I’m afraid our margin for error will be minuscule this week.

1 Celebration:

I went back and forth on my favorite play(s) from Saturday’s game. I am completely honest when I say that downing a punt inside the one-yard line is one of the best plays in sport. Tory Taylor’s punting average is a little down, but he continues to pin opponents deep. He is a special teams weapon.

With the injury to Luke Lachey, Iowa’s Erick All will have even more balls thrown his way. All is all that and a bag of chips. Here were a few excellent plays All made against Western Michigan.

The Hawks would be wise to keep feeding #83.

Also, let’s just leave this here. Adrian Clayborn was an all-timer.

I’m all for history repeating itself. Whiteout shmiteout. Go Hawks!