FIVE SENTENCES ON INDIANA RESULT
1) Not only did Iowa get muscled up front by Indiana, the Hoosiers rode a QB who was pulled, put back in and found at Arizona Western Community College in Yuma last January.
2) Yes, Cam Coffman was pulled in favor of true freshman Nate Sudfeld, but after a pick six, Coffman returned and gutted the Hawkeyes for 315 yards and three TDs (first 300-yard performance by an Indiana QB since 2010).
3) Indiana’s first-year offensive coordinator Seth Littrell was hired on Jan. 3, while Iowa hired its first-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis in late February.
4) And this introduces the “is it the roster or is it the scheme?” debate, which will lock in with the Iowa fan base until . . . one or the other is fixed.
5) The difference between the two QBs was the broken coverage that Coffman found for a 77-yard gain to Iowa’s 1 and James Vandenberg’s forced INT from IU’s 12, negating anything, including a field goal, which ended up being the winning margin (this fact wasn’t lost on Vandenberg).
THREE PLAYERS WHO PLAYED
1) Wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley – He was a tough matchup for Indiana, catching seven passes for 131 yards and a 24-yard TD. On the TD reception, Martin-Manley was mugged by an IU defender, but broke free and won the race to the end zone. KMM showed some nice body control out of catches and is starting to see some bang for the YAC buck. The 131 was the most for an Iowa receiver since KMM had 101 against Northern Iowa on Sept 15. The last Iowa WR who didn’t have the initials KMM to have a 100-yard game was Marvin McNutt last Nov. 19 against Purdue with 151. Martin-Manley’s 131 yards were the most for a receiver in the Big Ten this week.
2) Linebacker Christian Kirksey — The pick 6 was a total bait play, with Kirksey showing blitz, waiting for IU’s Nate Sudfeld to audible out and then dropping into coverage and making a play, his second interception return for a TD this season, with this one coming from 18 yards. His fumble recovery was even more impressive, if you take into consideration he started the play with the ball under his back on the bottom of the pile. Kirksey is the outside linebacker right now. Iowa needs his athleticism between the hashes. I wouldn’t be shocked if he were moved somewhere inside next season. OK, maybe I would be shocked, because his coverage skills might be too valuable to take off the perimeter. Radical passing thought.
3) Running back Damon Bullock — His numbers were fantastic, but he did finish with 107 total yards (83 rush, 24 receiving) and scored Iowa’s first rushing TD in three games. Again, he showed some toughness. There was nowhere to run and he stuck with it. Plus, he took a couple of shots, including one to the knee in the second half, that were kind of ugly. Remember, no other scholarship offers. Keeper here.
1) Playcalling — Didn’t understand the third-and-2 run from Iowa’s 29 after Indiana scored to make it 17-14 in the third quarter. Iowa was stuffed in the first half, rushing for just 21 yards. It found some footing on the first drive of the second, with Bullock rushing for 14, 9 and 11, Martin-Manley going for 15 and Greg Garmon taking an 11-yarder outside. Yet, third-and-2 Iowa decided to test IU’s strength. Teams start with the inside zone against Iowa and then go from there. This was an outside zone, which, as stated, got Iowa on track in the second. It’s just that Iowa went to the outside zone well one too many times. DT Larry Black penetrated past OG Austin Blythe to take away the cutback for RB Damon Bullock. Center James Ferentz got off a combo block too late to stop LB David Cooper, who came untouched but didn’t finish the play. Safety Mark Murphy stopped Bullock. No one had Murphy. Iowa seemed to want to go power on power here. Iowa got stuffed and went three-and-out.
2) Defense — Coach Kirk Ferentz said the defense played better, and it did have some critical stops, had a pick six and recovered an unforced error. Still in the last three games, Iowa has allowed 504, 433 and 473 yards. This is Iowa’s worst stretch of total D since allowing 431, 468 and 393 in 2007. The difference is Iowa won two of three in that stretch. This time, the Hawkeyes are 0-for-3.
3) Special teams — Iowa took a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. You knew the way the game was going that it probably wouldn’t stand. Well, Indiana’s Isiah Roundtree took the ensuing kick to IU’s 39. Four plays and 61 yards later, the Hoosiers had the winning points. Special teams didn’t bust, but the 39-yard return just opened the door that much more against a defense that was hanging on for dear life.
1) Vandenberg pick — It’s third-and-goal from the 12. Iowa lined WRs Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley on the field side. WR Jordan Cotton was on the boundary. QB James Vandenberg was in the shotgun. Vandenberg raised his foot and got IU to show double safety blitz with seven seconds left on the playclock. Iowa didn’t snap and the Hoosiers dropped out of that just before the snap. It was an empty backfield. Davis ran a post; KMM ran 3 yards, stopped and turned to look at Vandenberg, who gave the field side one quick look. He also made a half-hearted pump fake that no one bit on. Cotton was the choice. There was no pressure. Corner Antonio Marshall jammed Cotton hard to the outside and stayed in contact to the goal line. Vandenberg tried to hit Cotton on the back shoulder. Cotton was never fully turned and never full disengaged from Marshall, who played the ball and made his first career interception. I asked Vandenberg if Cotton missed a read. No, he said, that was on him.
2) Hughes 77-yard gain to the Iowa 1 — This was the ensuing drive from the Vandenberg pick. Iowa had IU third-and-9 at its 23. Iowa was in a nickel with FS Tanner Miller in a Cover 1. Linebackers Morris and Kirksey were inside. CB Micah Hyde was lined up over the slot and Greg Castillo had WR Kofi Hughes in one-on-one press coverage. DT Louis Trinca-Pasat came fast in the rush and flushed QB Cam Coffman to the right, where DE Joe Gaglione vacated, rushing up field and taking himself out of the play. DT Darian Cooper disengaged and was in pursuit of Coffman, who was running toward the LOS. Castillo tried physically take Hughes out of the play, pushing him out of bounds (or nearly out of bounds, the official on that side threw his hat, signifying a player stepped OB, which Castillo clearly was). Castillo had his back to the QB and didn’t know the situation. Coffman bought time and Hughes disengaged from Castillo and broke wide open behind the senior with no safety help. The only thing that stopped Hughes was his knee hitting OB before he tipped the pylon with the ball.
NEXT — PURDUE (3-6, 0-5)
– Sunday, Purdue coach Danny Hope announced that Robert Marve will start at QB for the Boilermakers, who’ve lost five straight Big Ten games for the first time since 2005. Marve suffered a torn ACL in week 2 against Notre Dame. It was the third such injury of his career and he’s playing through it, apparently.
– During its 34-9 loss at Penn State last week, Purdue QBs took 10 hits. Hope said the Boilers also dropped 10 passes.
– Iowa is a four-point favorite.
– Hope, in his fourth year, might be playing out the string.
Athletics director Morgan Burke released the following statement last week:
“Everyone around our football program has high expectations for the 2012 season,” Burke said. “We have worked very hard over the past four years to improve our personnel, facilities and every phase of our program, which is evident.
“Our student-athletes, alumni, fans, coaching staff and administration all expect to see the program move forward and take a step up the postseason ladder.
“Currently, our performance has kept us from reaching our goals. But we have a third of the season left to play, and our focus is to achieve that consistency over the remaining four games. We need to press forward, converting potential into results and having fun playing Boilermaker football.”
Hope’s contract runs through 2016 after he was awarded a two-year extension in December. He’s guaranteed to earn a minimum of $950,000 in 2012. If Burke elects to dismiss Hope after this season, the university would owe him an additional $600,000. The buyout amount decreases by $100,000 each year through 2016.
The university is also required to pay six months of salary to each assistant coach, according to their contracts. A change would cost the university approximately $1.4 million, including Hope’s buyout.
Iowa is 4-5 and Purdue is 3-6. Nothing might seem to be on the line at Kinnick on Saturday, but a lot is.
CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Closing the deal (Red zone TDs/possessions)
“Bend don’t break” in full force. IU coach Kevin Wilson and Iowa DC Phil Parker are friends. It kind of looked like a spirited chess match. Iowa’s offense hasn’t been and wasn’t again last week good enough to live through an interception at the goal line. That was being shot and then living through a few more scenes before the final demise.
Setting the tone (defensive three-and-outs)
Iowa 3 — Kirksey’s pick six came on a first down, so it counts. Better number than the one two weeks ago against Northwestern.
Indiana 5 — Excellent number for Indy’s defense. The biggest one, of course, came with 4:43 left in the game, when Ferentz decided to pass on going for it on fourth-and-feet from Iowa’s 28. Ferentz said he played for the stop, but it didn’t come until 18 seconds were left. What’s your best chance here? I can’t say I entirely disagree with this call. If Iowa misses, Ferentz wakes up with moving vans parked out in front of his house this morning. Iowa didn’t go for it. These are the decisions that he’s paid to make and paid to live with.
After adjustments (second-half yards and avg. yards per play)
That’s 659 yards against Iowa in the second half of the last three games. Last week, NU averaged 6.59 yards a play. This is a bad number for Iowa, of course. This was an encouraging number for Iowa’s offense, but let’s see what Wisconsin’s offense does to IU this weekend.
Game-changers (offensive plays of 20-plus yards)
Iowa 3 — Iowa did have some healthy running plays, but the explosives came in the passing game. Two of these were during Iowa’s first-quarter scoring drive, capped by a 24-yard TD pass from Vandenberg to KMM. After that drive, Iowa didn’t come up with another 20-plus until the final play of the game, a 26-yarder to KMM to start the lateral desperation.
Indiana 7 — This might be a season high against the Hawkeyes. OC Littrell will be a head coach somewhere soon. Wilson knows what he’s doing. IU’s receivers are a good group. Cody Latimer had 113 yards receiving; Hughes ended up with 110. Tight end Ted Bolser has gone from the young player who single blocked DE Adrian Clayborn in 2010 to a steady receiver, finishing with six catches for 82 yards with a long of 24.
Two-minute magic (points, final two minutes of half)
Iowa 0 — This stat won’t go on the headstone for the season, but the Hawkeyes haven’t been finishers this season. I believe this is where youth shows up, but they do have a senior QB.
Indiana 0 — The Hoosiers did get a field goal with 3:27 left in the first half.
IOWA at INDIANA POSTGAME NOTES
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