Whoa. 45 points. I thought I was out of my mind for predicting Iowa to hit 30. That second half of the first quarter was just absolutely crazy. I sitll have a hard time comprehending that it was Iowa football that I was watching when we saw 35 points scored in a matter of 4 minutes. Crazy. Just crazy.
Find a Spark
Wow, that was a success. The first quarter was spark after spark after spark. It started with a methodical drive that featured Jake Rudock going 3/3 on 3rd downs, a Mark Weisman 3 yard run on 4th-and-2, and was 15 plays for 80 yards and took over 7 minutes. It ended with a 12-yard TD pass from Rudock to Jake Duzey. And then thing got crazy.
Three plays later, Desmond King had his first career interception and returned it for six.
The next time Iowa got the ball after a three-and-out, Rudock threw a beauty of a bomb to Damond Powell for a 72-yard TD pass.
Then an Indiana 83-yard TD run…followed immediately by a 60-yard jet sweep by Jonathon Parker for a fourth Hawkeye touchdown in a matter on minutes.
While there wasn’t really the trick play I was hoping for/expecting, I’ve got to give Greg Davis some credit for finding ways to get the ball in the hands of the team’s playmakers. Parker is becoming a bigger part of the offense. There was also that little counter pitch play, some option/read stuff with C.J. Beathard, and the sweep is becoming a whole package of plays (hand it off, inside zone, play action, etc…). Tevaun Smith also saw more targets and had four eceptions and got the ball on an end-around. All good things.
Get Pressure Early
I don’t even know how to grade out the defense after this game. Indiana didn’t have a drive over six plays, had sixthree-and-outs, punted nine times, and turned it over three times. So that sounds really good, right? But there were those three ridiculous runs by Tevin Coleman. He terrorized Iowa the way UNI’s David Johnson did. And holy crap, that dude is good. He accounted for half of the Hoosiers' yards. But other than Coleman and one long pass to Shane Wynn, the defense was really good.
So, I don’t know. Maybe it was kind of a fluke thing? Or Coleman is just that good. I still think the defense is a solid unit and will be able to handle at least the next four teams well.
Air it Out
As Kirk Ferentz said, it was a "wild" and "weird" game. The whole 2 QB thing didn’t play out as anyone expected. But, I don’t think there’s anything to complain about there. Iowa didn’t really need to throw it that much. Rudock threw it 27 times and Beathard just 5. The nice thing to see was the continued commitment to throwing it down the field. Rudock had long completions to Powell and Smith and took a couple of shots that resulted in pass interference penalties.
I think for now, the QB controversy is over. The way they used the two this game seemed just about right. Beathard was just kind of off on this throws, missing screen passes by yards, and when he was used it was more like his one series in the Ball State game. He had he own "package" that contains more shotgun, more option/read, more quick hitting… It is a good change of pace and a separate look for defenses to think about (even if Kevin Wilson said that Rudock and Beathard weren’t very different before the game).
Rudock now leads the B1G in completion percentage (67.5%) and has the least number of interceptions (2) of any of the main starting QBs. If he has more games like Saturday’s (19/27, 210 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs), then Iowa should be in pretty good shape the rest of the season.
Keep Going For It
Kirk Ferentz isn’t backing down….4th-and-short inside the 20 and he’s going for it. It has been wildly successful this year and that continued against Indiana. Iowa went for it twice and each time ran it with Mark Weisman, who is still perfect on the year on converting 4th downs. Iowa has down converted nine 4th downs out of twelve opportunities. Eight of those have led to, or been, a touchdown and the other led to a field goal.
The big fourth down on Saturday was the final play on the first half…4th-and-goal from the 1 with 3 second left. You kick that, right? I think so. Going for it midway through the 3rd quarter and the with faith in your defense, you’d expect to get good field position on your next possession. But at the end of the half, if you don’t get it it heavily swings momentum against you. Right? But Kirk Ferentz said go and Weisman went. He might not have gotten it on his first try, but Indiana called a timeout moments before the snap. The second try he got in no problem. That capped off a 38-point first half and extended the lead to 17 points. The Hawkeyes hadn’t even score 38 points in a GAME all year before that. That was a big play.
Hopefully Iowa’s offense can build off this 38-point outing. Things were really clicking in the first half before they kind of just cruised and played more conservatively in the second. And having Maryland up next on the schedule should help keep things going in the right direction. The Terps are ranked near the bottom of the B1G in every defensive category. They are 13th in total defense giving up 450+ yards a game, 13th in rushing defense, and 11th in passing defense. This would be a great time to get rolling.