Stat Pak: Iowa almost makes a living off TEs, RBs

Even after allowing 3 red-zone TDs, Iowa still leads the nation in RZ TD percentage

Marc Morehouse
Published: October 20 2013 | 5:04 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:08 pm in
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1) For the "it was the offense" crowd, Iowa went into OSU 11th in the Big Ten in scoring offense (29.7 points a game).

2) For the "it was the defense" notion, Ohio State's 6.3 yards a play is the most since Michigan averaged 8.27 yards last season. (My vote goes to the defense, which came up with one meaningful stop against probably the best offense in the Big Ten.)

3) That three-TE offense was very New England Patriots (bigger receivers operating against corners). The best authors know what to steal and/or make their own, so If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. (That's the opening line from the "Catcher in the Rye." Got to know what to steal.)

4) DE Dominic Alvis has some sort of back injury and when it flared, he was done. (Kirk Ferentz said it's something that will be ongoing for the rest of the season, so it's week-to-week mode with Alvis, which is too bad because he was having a solid senior season.)

5) Valid question on why it took until week 7 to find the all-TE, all-the-time offense. (Everything shifts week-to-week, yes, and we don't know if this would've mattered against Michigan State. Regardless, here it is, let's see if we see it again.)

1) OSU QB Braxton Miller – I don't know where he'll end up this year, but Miller did finish fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season. Saturday, he finished first in the MVP voting of OSU's victory. He piled up 324 yards total offense (102 rushing, 222 passing) and completed 22 of 27 passes for two TDs and no picks. He had one fumble late (he's had 22 fumbles now in his career), but the Buckeyes recovered it. He's totally at ease in traffic. Read-option QBs are raw meat sometimes for a defense, but Miller never let Iowa have a clean shot at him. He anticipated contact and slid through it fantastically. "I can always tell when he's feeling good," OSU coach Urban Meyer said, "when he's running and carrying out fakes."

2) OSU RB Carlos Hyde  — Tweeted that on his 19-yard TD run that he is a fantastically athletic rolling appliance. Hyde is a 235-pounder who pushed the pile against Iowa. So, yes, 235 and physical, check. Beyond that, though, he moved really well. OSU called a few zone reads where he ran east-west toward the sideline and let the blocking set up a lane. He hit that with speed. He went for 149 yards and two TDs.

3) Iowa TE Jake Duzey — C.J. Fiedorowicz said Duzey is a 4.5 guy. That's not bad for a 6-4, 245-pounder. That is, potentially, a Dallas Clark model. Potentially. It was one game. Let's try to keep it in perspective (me included, since I just did bring up Dallas Clark). Duzey had 24 receiving yards on Iowa’s TD drive to open the game and finished with career highs of six catches for a 138 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, the first TD reception of his career. Duzey is Iowa’s first 100-yard receiver since Kevonte Martin-Manley had 131 yards against Indiana last season. His 138 receiving yards are the most by a Hawkeye since Marvin McNutt has 151 yards on nine catches vs. Purdue in 2011. And, as far as anyone knows, it was a career best in a game for an Iowa TE. Clark had the 95-yard TD reception vs. Purdue in 2002 and finished with 116 yards.

1) Another big play through the air — This was a lack of discipline. Miller ran a zone read fake to running back Dontre Wilson, a burner. Both safeties Tanner Miller and John Lowdermilk bit and the middle of the field was open. The coverage was quarters. Lowdermilk flipped his hips to the sideline and seemed to be taking the seam on his side of the field. Miller had his eyes in the backfield, ran forward and was flat footed when Corey Brown ran a post into a wide-open canyon in the middle of Iowa's defense. Iowa knew about Wilson's speed. OSU ran the fake to the boundary and strong side of the formation. OSU lined up three receivers to the field side. The fake fueled this play. In a split second, this one was over.

2) Running game fades again — Running game was non-existent in the second half. Just six carries for 29 yards. Why? Well, Iowa was forced to try to keep up with Ohio State, which maximized every drive. The Buckeyes scored TDs on their first three drives of the third quarter, going 15 plays and 75 yards, 11 plays and 84 yards and 10 plays and 75 yards. Iowa ran a grand total of 11 plays in the fourth quarter. We've been over that 6:55 TOP for the Hawkeyes in the SECOND HALF. Iowa was forced out of its comfort zone and put a ton of weight on QB Jake Rudock. Rudock said after the game finishing is what the goal is now and that means "not taking no for an answer." That should be tattooed on the running game this week vs. Northwestern.

3) First down defense — On 27 second downs in this game, the Buckeyes faced an average of 6.11 yards for the next first down. In the first half, it was eight second downs for an average of 6.87. In the third quarter, when OSU really flexed, it was 12 second downs for 4.41 yards to go. In the second half, it was 19 for 5.78. That third quarter included a second-and-1, a second-and-2 and four second-and-3s. "I think we had more second-and-2, second-and-1, second-and-3s than we've had all year," OSU coach Urban Meyer said. "That's because we were dropping back on first down and kept throwing hitches and curls and flat routes." Yes, the Buckeyes aggressively attacked the cushion Iowa corners allowed. Corner Desmond King tied for the team lead with 12 tackles mostly because Miller threw to receivers who sat under the 10-yard cushion. This was Iowa respecting OSU's speed.

1) Rudock-to-Duzey for 85 yards — Duzey lined up on the wing, more of an offset TE than an H back. He said the idea was to attack the corner with a go route. That corner was sophomore Armani Reeves, a backup who was in for . . . Bradley Roby. Roby was ejected in the first half after a helmet-to-helmet shot to TE C.J. Fiedorowicz. (It looked like football, but he hit him in the head while CJF was converting from pass catcher to runner. This is going to get called. The defense has to adjust.) It looked like DE Noah Spence wanted to stay with Duzey or might've been assigned. Reeves' first steps were inside toward CJF. Iowa was in a "12" set, which is a running back and two TEs. Iowa TEs accounted for 191 yards on 11 receptions with two TDs. Maybe something New England Patriots-Penn State is happening. Maybe not. We hadn't seen the 3-TE much (really, just a handful of times and mostly only used for short yardage and not pass receptions) until Saturday. This stuff is always week-to-week.

2) Lowery interception and then hold — If any play left you feeling cold and bitter, it was this one. It happened just after the 85-yarder to Duzey, which tied the game 24-24 with 2:30 left in the third quarter. The Buckeyes faced a third-and-5 at their 30. Lowery looked to be locked in man coverage with Corey Brown. Lowery jumped the route, picked off Miller and set up the Hawkeyes at OSU's 37 with 1:42 left in the third. But no. Lowery jumped the route and played it perfectly, except that he clearly had a handful of Brown's jersey. Field judge Joel Clay threw the flag. There was no argument from Iowa. Ferentz wrote something in his notepad. Lowery shook his head and smiled. The drive ended with Hyde doing that punch-drunk weave and then swan dive into the end zone. Iowa went from first down at OSU's 27 to a 31-24 deficit with 13:24 left in the game because a tug of a jersey. It was a penalty.

– Lost in the storm and stress of the Wildcats' 20-17 loss to Minnesota last week was the fact that it was "Peanut Free" game at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill. Odd, interesting, more odd than interesting.

-- The Wildcats' offense was described as "shockingly inept" by the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein in this piece. Quarterback Kain Colter wasn't medically cleared to play -- dealing with an ankle injury -- and so coach Pat Fitzgerald rode Trevor Siemian, the passing half of NU's two-QB system. He threw a pick-6 and was sack-fumbled. Colter and RB Venric Mark (ankle) have been termed day-to-day by Fitzgerald, who said he's optimistic they'll return for the Iowa game.

-- This is 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium on BTN. The kickoff for the Wisconsin game should be announced Monday morning.

-- Colter and Mark combined for more than 320 rushing yards and three TDs in the Cats' 28-17 victory over Iowa last season. The Cats have lost three straight -- Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota -- and are desperate. There's concern Mark might have a fracture.

Iowa — 2 of 3 (NIU: 2-for-3; MSU: 4 of 6; ISU 2 of 5; WMU 2 of 5; Minn 1 of 4; Mich St 1 of 2)

OSU — 3 of 5 (NIU: 0-for-2; MSU: 0-for-1; ISU 1 of 1; WMU 0 of 2; Minn 0 of 0; Mich St 0 of 3)

Better for the offense and not horrible for the defense. The offense is 14 of 25 in this through seven games (56 percent) and the D is 4 of 14 (29 percent). In TD percentage, Iowa is No. 102 in the nation. Even after allowing 3 of 5 against the Buckeyes, Iowa's D leads the nation in red zone TD percentage at 28.57 percent). 

Iowa 0 — Ohio State didn't punt. Iowa had one stop the entire game (nice Lowdermilk breakup on what would've been a TD pass on a fourth down). Worst performance of the year here for Iowa. (NIU 6, MSU 6, ISU 5, WMU 9, Minn 3; Mich St 4)

OSU 0 — Iowa punted just once in the first half and twice in the second. The Hawkeyes moved the ball, but Ohio State's offense didn't blink, scoring on six of nine drives. (NIU: 3, MSU: 3, ISU 4, WMU 3, Minn 1; Mich St 9)

Iowa — 153-8.5 (18 plays) (NIU: 156-4.7, 33 plays; MSU: 285-6.47, 44 plays; ISU: 192-4.92, 39 plays; WMU 287-6.37, 45 plays, Minn 235-6.02, 39 plays; Mich St 104-2.97, 35 plays)

OSU — 306-5.77 (53 plays) (NIU: 234-4.77, 49 plays; MSU: 130-5.2, 25 plays; ISU: 258-7.58, 34 plays; WMU: 89-4.68, 19 plays; Minn: 85-3.54, 19 plays; 210-4.8, 39 plays)

Even with Iowa's numbers greatly massaged by Duzey's 85-yard TD reception, it was season lows. The 18 plays led to just 6:55 TOP. Stat of the game. On defense, also season lows. The Buckeyes put on a dominant performance.

Iowa 3 — Two of these came from Duzey, who, maybe you remember, had a scholarship offer from Oregon, with the 85-yarder and another 22-yard reception. The other came from, yes, a tight end. George Kittle had a 24-yard reception. Again, maybe its the start of something, and maybe not. (NIU: 3, MSU: 4; ISU 3; WMU 4; Minn 4; Mich St 2)

OSU 2 — The 58-yard bomb to Corey Brown kind of shook the Buckeyes out of their slow start. After that, Iowa was on guard for OSU's speed. The D didn't do terribly on that end, but no stops was a killer. Hyde added a 28-yard rush. (NIU: 5. MSU: 4; ISU 4; WMU 1; Minn 2; Mich St 5)

Iowa 7 — What was different about the second quarter? MSU blitzed a few times and Iowa caught them in it, sure. Also, Iowa made plays in the passing game. It worked for a stretch in the second quarter. Rudock completed 11 straight passes at one point, with No. 11 going to TE C.J. Fiedorowicz for a 10-yard TD with 1:10 left before halftime. That was it. Iowa had been an offense that made a living on its rush game until Saturday. It can’t live off the passing game. It really couldn’t Saturday with MSU being MSU and top WR Kevonte Martin-Manley on the sidelines with a leg injury. (vs NIU: 7, vs MSU: 0; vs ISU 6; vs. WMU 14; vs. Minn 0; Mich St 7)

OSU 0 — The beauty of this for Dantonio was it didn’t need any magic. It was a constant release of magic and rainbows and unicorns. That pretty for Dantonio and MSU. Hey Diddle Diddle. (NIU: 3, vs MSU: 0; ISU 0, vs. WMU 0; Minn 0; Mich St 0)

4 — All TEs and RBs, with Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman chipping in 12-yard rushes. What does this say about the WRs? Not sure, because we don't know how involved they were in the gameplan. It was pretty obvious, however, that they weren't in the game plan, so Iowa's WR group remains landlocked. Can the Hawkeyes make a living off TEs and RBs? They'll need some speed just to open some space. (vs NIU: 5; vs MSU: 6; vs ISU 7; vs WMU 10; Minn 8; Mich St 2)


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