TEMPE, ARIZ. –
The Hawkeyes brought their fans. The Hawkeyes brought their weather. The Hawkeyes didn’t bring their game.
Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter picked apart No.-16 Iowa and Arizona State’s defense stuffed the Hawkeyes, holding them to 100 yards in a 44-7 victory Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 71,700 at Sun Devil Stadium, ASU’s first sellout crowd since 1998.
About 15,000 of those fans were Iowa supporters.
Right now, the question is where Iowa goes from here. The answer is that’s a good question.
“We’ll look at the films tomorrow and go back to the drawing board,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We just have to do things better.”
Iowa’s defense was porous. Iowa’s offense was poor.
That wasn’t a good combination against an Arizona State team that was out for revenge after last year’s 21-2 beating it took last year in Iowa City.
“For some players, revenge is a big motivator,” ASU Coach Dirk Koetter said. “It isn’t for me, but it is for some players. I don’t try to downplay that.”
In the desert southwest, revenge is a dish best served chipotle.
Who knows how revenge is served in Michigan.
The Hawkeyes (2-1) could find out this week when they travel to No.-17 Michigan (2-1). They go into the Big House two years removed from a 34-9 victory over the Wolverines in 2002, Michigan’s worst home loss since 1967.
“Offensively or defensively, we’ve had some success the last few years,” Ferentz said. “What we need to do is do what we’re doing better, quite certainly.”
The Hawkeyes didn’t do anything on offense. And the defense didn’t do much more, allowing 511 yards, its most since Matt Roth was in high school.
ASU converted 13 of 19 third downs. Iowa had just six total first downs.
The game finished at 2 a.m. on the East Coast. Walter had a night that might’ve kept East Coast Heisman voters awake.
The senior completed 31 of 43 for 428 yards, five touchdowns and an interception.
Walter’s fifth TD pass gave him ASU’s career TD record with 66, passing Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer.
Iowa’s front four – ends Roth and Derreck Robinson and tackles Jonathan Babineaux and Tyler Luebke – didn’t record a sack. Didn’t get within a temporary restraining order of Walter.
“I don’t think I have to answer any more questions about last year,” Walter said.
The Hawkeyes were held to 38 yards in the first half while the Sun Devils (3-0), behind Walter’s brilliant performance, put up a 27-0 halftime lead.
And make no mistake, this baby was zip-locked at halftime.
Before halftime, Walter had Iowa quarterback Drew Tate’s career numbers. Check that, he put up better numbers than Tate has in his three games as Iowa’s quarterback.
“They did pretty much whatever they wanted to us,” Roth said. “We were their whuppin’ boys.”
True freshman tight end Zach Miller terrorized Iowa’s linebackers, catching 10 passes for 85 yards and two TDs. Wideout Derek Hagan terrorized Iowa’s two-deep defensive backs, catching eight for 112 yards and two TDs.
“As a defense, we just came out flat,” cornerback Jovon Johnson said. “We didn’t play our defense the way we’re used to playing it.”
The gametime temperature was a comfortable 75 degrees after thunderstorms pushed kickoff back nearly 45 minutes. Then ASU’s defense, a largely unheralded unit, pushed the Hawkeyes back to Iowa.
The Hawkeyes never established a running game, rushing 56 yards on 27 carries. Senior Jermelle Lewis was ineffective, gaining just 14 yards on 10 carries before being replaced by Marques Simmons in the fourth quarter.
Tate was sacked four times and completed just 8 of 19 passes for 44 yards.
Tate put a lot of the blame on himself. A gracious gesture on his part.
This was systems failure across the board.
“I did a poor job leading the offense, leading the unit,” Tate said. “I tried to do some things I probably shouldn’t have done.”
In the first half, the Sun Devils had 283 yards of offense to Iowa’s 38.
The Hawkeyes had two first downs and went three-and-out four times.
It was the first time in 40 games that ASU shut out an opponent at halftime.
No amount of halftime adjusting was going to save the Hawkeyes from their worst beating since a 41-3 loss at Wisconsin in 1999.
Only Walner Belleus’ 83-yard punt return with 18 seconds left in the game kept this from being Iowa’s worst loss since a 49-3 loss at Michigan State in 1999.
No matter the margin, it felt a lot like Michigan State ’99, a lifeless, hopeless, helpless effort.
“It was a pretty thorough beating in every regard,” Ferentz said. “They had a great plan and certainly played a tremendous game in all three phases.
“Probably one of the only positives is that it counts as just one loss. If they gave style points, it’d probably count as a couple.”
The Hawkeyes have less than a week to get over this hangover.
They open the Big Ten at the Big House.
And they need a big turnaround.