FIVE SENTENCES ON CENTRAL MICHIGAN RESULT
1) I’m not going to tell you how to act or post or however you want to vent your frustrations, but please try to remember that these are people who work hard and care and have this stuff eat at their heart much longer than we can ever imagine and not faceless commodities.
2) That said, the accountability train begins with Kirk Ferentz, he’d be the first one to tell you that and he said yesterday the big picture (winning, the opponent) sometimes goes out of focus when the little picture (improvement) rings out so loudly. “The other part of the equation is we’ve been — and you can see why now — really focused on our improvement. I thought we took a real positive step a week ago. I thought we really improved as a team and then today, that wasn’t the case. It’s going to be like that all season. We’re focused on trying to get ready for an opponent, but also trying to get better as a team.”
3) The passing game is a minus, it’s starting to hold Iowa back and the cavalry isn’t coming.
4) Special teams are a nightmare, and a change in philosophy is needed.
5) Is this team over-coached? (Was there was too much thinking for the hands team yesterday and not enough reaction? Structure is structure and it’s probably more obvious — and the screams would be much louder — if it wasn’t there.)
THREE PLAYERS WHO PLAYED
1) RB Mark Weisman — He had 217 yards and three TDs. He runs with terrific technique, delivering the blow and giving defenders a shoulder pad sandwich. His 5-yard TD run was a picture of why the players train the way they do in the weightroom. Running back is not a problem.
2) LB James Morris — Showed a lot of toughness coming back into the game after leaving with a lower-back injury. He finished with 12 tackles, half sack and a QB hurry.
3) K Mike Meyer — Yes, he set Iowa’s record with 63 straight made PATs. Anytime you erase Nate Kaeding from the record books, it’s a big deal. But he also knocked that 46-yarder, into a wind that gusted as high as 25 mph, and made an indecisive coaching staff, with the regular offense going in and then off the field after a timeout, look like it knew what it wanted to do all along. Meyer went in cold on that kick and drilled it. He also has 10 touchbacks this season after just four in 2011.
1) Special teams units — Iowa lost 22 yards on its lateral play that ended the game, but take that out, and Iowa still averaged just 15.6 yards on six kick returns. In three of four games, the Hawkeyes have averaged teens in kick return yardage and are 110th nationally with 16.79 yards a return. Iowa averaged minus-1 yard on two punt returns. The onside kick.
2) QB James Vandenberg — He didn’t seem to be the same player after he missed a wide-open Kevonte Martin-Manley for what would’ve been an easy TD in the first half. Too many doors are shutting in pre-snap read.
3) Bend, don’t break — The offense, as much as anything else, will dictate that the defense has to blitz more. The offense will need more time to do something, anything. The defense needs to get off the field. Yesterday was a brilliant exercise in “bend, don’t break,” but Iowa will face better QBs and, if it doesn’t find a way to pressure, it will find itself in a lot of track meets this offense isn’t ready to run.
1) Onside kick — Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz lined up on the 50, 20 yards off the kick, which has to go 10 yards for CMU to legally recover. CMU WR Jesse Kroll went untouched when jumped on it at the CMU 42. This seems like a lot of moving parts for the hands team, which has the main directive of recovering the ball. Fiedorowicz fell away from the ball, positioning himself to go where it was headed. Technique, alignment, it all seems too passive, allowing an aggressive, little-used WR to steal the game.
2) Personal fouls — Iowa had four with three leading to CMU field goals, including the game-winner. These penalties ranged from all over different times of the game to all age groups of the roster. They are selfish penalties, at their core. They also force you to question if the players are listening to the coaches.
NEXT — MINNESOTA (4-0)
– Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray (ankle sprain) is likely out for Saturday’s game against the Hawkeyes (11 a.m. on ESPN2). “I don’t anticipate him playing next week. It would be a minor miracle if he was ready to play,” Gophers coach Jerry Kill said Saturday. “I can’t control the healing process, but right now, I’m not real optimistic (about) how quick that’s going to come along.”
Sophomore Max Shortell will get his second start. He led the Gophers to a 17-10 victory over Syracuse, passing for 231 yards with no interceptions.
– The Minnesota equipment crew tweeted a picture of the T-shirt the Gophers will wear in the weightroom and during the walk through at Kinnick Stadium this week.
WHAT KIRK FERENTZ SAID
CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Closing the deal (Red zone TDs/possessions)
Iowa’s D has allowed just five TDs in 17 red zone entries. Still, 7 plays, 64 yards, 1:33. That’s all it took for the Chips to score on their penultimate possession, capped by the 13-yard TD to Titus Davis. Numbers are nice, but Iowa needed clutch in the final minutes. After having played little in the first two games, Weisman now has six TDs in the last two games. It’s the best stretch of TDs for an Iowa back since Shonn Greene went for five twice in 2008.
Setting the tone (defensive three-and-outs)
Iowa 3 — This won’t do it. In the first half, when CMU took a 23-14 lead, the Chips went TD, FG, punt, TD, FG, FG. Iowa couldn’t get off the field in the first half and so it couldn’t stop the bleeding.
CMU 3 — A fumble and halftime accounted for two of these.
After adjustments (second-half yards and avg. yards per play)
Fantastic number for Iowa considering the fact that it threw just nine times in the second half. Five possessions stunted this effort. That was the fewest number of second-half possessions Iowa has had this year. The stolen possession on the onside kick was a killer. CMU’s number is all the more impressive when you consider it ran just 14 times for 49 yards in the second.
Game-changers (offensive plays of 20-plus yards)
Iowa 6 — Iowa’s first play of the game was a 38-yard completion from Vandenberg to Keenan Davis. They even sustained that explosiveness, but only because running back Mark Weisman had rushes of 34, 24 and 32 (he also had a pair of 18-yard runs).
CMU 4 — Three passes and one run, which dug the Chips out of a hole on a first down from their half-yard line.
Two-minute magic (points, final two minutes of half)
Iowa 0 — Weisman scored on a 12-yard run with 2:18 left. And then everyone went home.
CMU 16 — CMU got a field goals with 2:00 and 12 seconds left before halftime, and then you saw the end of the game, a TD with 45 seconds left and the game-winning 47-yard FG with three left. If this were a national stat, the Chips would’ve lapped the field this week. Incredible clutch.