Week one for the Iowa Hawkeyes has come and gone and by the only measure that matters at the end of the season, Iowa had a successful season opener. They head to Ames in week two at 1-0.
But for fans and anyone looking toward more than just one game, there are myriad stats beyond wins and losses that matter. Stats like 88, as in 88 yards rushing. Or 2.4, as in 2.4 yards per carry. Or 25, as in the number of points the Hawkeyes need to average this season for Brian Ferentz to have his contract renewed. And 24 - the number of points they scored against a group of five opponent.
Those are numbers that have Hawkeyes fans concerned. And if not concerned, at least disappointed with Iowa’s week one offensive production. In this week’s Reacts poll, a full 80% of respondents said the offense disappointed vs their expectations for the matchup with Utah State.
While the offense overall disappointed, that seems to have largely been attributable to the lack of a running game and frustration over the basic and predictable offense employed by offensive coordinator.
Despite the high levels of frustration, fans were overall relatively pleased with the play of new quarterback Cade McNamara. Nearly 75% of fans said McNamara met their expectations in week one while another 17% felt the former Wolverine exceeded their expectations in the season opener.
McNamara finished week one with 191 passing yards and 2 TDs while completing 17 of 30 pass attempts. Those numbers aren’t lights out, but mask the whole story. Cade started the day 13 of 17 passing through the first half with 115 yards and both of his passing TDs on the day. Of those four incompletions, three hit receivers in the hands in or on the way to the endzone with a clear path for additional touchdowns.
Another TD to close out the first half not only might have shifted opinions on McNamara’s week one performance, but may well have shifted views on the offense as a whole.
As it stands, fans are relatively pleased with Cade but not Brian or the offense overall. That has bled over into the outlook for the team as a whole.
When we polled the fanbase preseason, 100% of respondents expected Iowa to win week two in Ames. Now, during game week, that number has dropped to just over 70%.
While some of that is likely due to the subpar offensive performance from Iowa in week one, some is also surely attributable to the performance of Iowa State in their week one matchup with the UNI Panthers.
The Cyclones entered that matchup as just 8-point favorites but quickly jumped on the Panthers and closed things out in the second half with a 30-9 win. It’s difficult to glean too much from that week one performance, but the 10-13 outing from Rocco Becht was certainly better than expected from a redshirt freshman in his first career start.
Now we’re just a few hours from finding out whether that set of stats is more telling or the one we saw from the Iowa offense in week one. The Hawkeyes and Cyclones kick off at 2:30pm CT. Today’s game will be broadcast on FOX.