FIVE SENTENCES ON WISCONSIN RESULT
1) The e-mail on the red, white and blue poms that were placed at everyone’s seat at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday came 6 p.m. Thursday. Iowa wanted to honor Veterans Day because the Hawkeyes are on a bye on the weekend after Nov. 11. This felt slapped together and clearly didn’t take into account the fact that Wisconsin dresses in red and white. Go to town on this, you guys. Demand better.
2) If Iowa coaches want stadium excitement, they can’t call outside zone plays for running back Mark Weisman when he is compromised by injury. The play is DOA and only sets up Weisman for failure and knocks the offense off schedule. Weisman is tough, one of the toughest players on the roster. He’s been slowed since Michigan State, when he suffered a foot injury. Wisconsin’s rush defense was no secret, it’s third in the Big Ten. Weisman rushed nine times for 15 yards and was stopped cold on a poorly blocked, well-defended fourth-and-1 at UW’s 35 in the third quarter. The answer for Weisman’s effectiveness has to be figured out before the third quarter. It’s a difficult question, no doubt. Weisman is always going to want to play, even with a full-body cast. But if a compromised Weisman remains Iowa’s best alternative, then that’s kind of why the running game is where it is right now.
3) Jake Rudock won’t lose his job because of a sprained knee. If he can play next week, he’ll play. Yesterday did show us that C.J. Beathard has a terrific arm. He didn’t see much success, because Iowa, for the most part, was reduced to playing 7-on-7 into the wind. It’s probably safe to say that Beathard has the stronger arm. Rudock is more of the complete product. I wondered about his arm after the NIU pick, but he has a good arm. Iowa’s offense has had a ton of “check with me” in it this year in regard to the running game. Rudock has been a great fit. Coaches made the decision in August and decided that Rudock’s game is the best one for Iowa right now.
4) Did a page turn at running back? Suddenly, there was Jordan Canzeri. He hadn’t had a carry in three games and then there he was late in the third quarter, breaking off a 43-yard gain after making a quick cut into open space on an inside-zone play. Theory: Damon Bullock had his turn. He carried six times for 6 yards. The outside zone play is his specialty and it does hit (vs. Ohio State, it did very nicely). UW scouted it well and undercut that play with regularity, thus rendering Bullock’s game ineffective. So, what the hey, try Canzeri? Right now, no one running back is perfect. Everyone has something that Iowa needs, but doesn’t have something else. Size has been the guide, but it seemed like vs. Wisconsin, at least in the fourth quarter, that was relaxed in order to get Canzeri’s speed through the line of scrimmage on the field. Just like the three-TE set at OSU, it’ll probably be a whole different deal next week.
5) TOP was better for the Hawkeyes this week, losing that battle by just more than five minutes, 32:06 to 27:54. Still, the Hawkeyes faded in the second half, losing TOP by more than five minutes, 17:09 to 12:51. In the last three weeks, Iowa has held the ball 33 percent of the second half. That’s No. 122 in the country. That’s an offense that doesn’t have a go-to element and switches to a running back who hasn’t had a carry in the fourth quarter of a game on a whim. There really isn’t much more to say on this stat. It should be better this week and then we’ll see for the final two games.
1) UW RB James White – Iowa’s defense kept the jet sweep and neutralized Melvin Gordon. The resources spent there didn’t leave enough to account for White and his feel for the inside running game. Case in point, the 11-yard TD he scored in the fourth quarter. He could’ve gone for the obvious bounce to the outside and probably would’ve been caught from behind, but he was in perfect position, head up and knees bent, and saw a seam open late. He made a cut into open field and went in untouched. Iowa doesn’t have a back who can do that consistently right now.
2) UW LB Marcus Trotter — Who’s this? Trotter is the guy who took over for the injured Chris Borland, who really was a game-time decision with an injured hamstring. We saw how “game-time decision” works. Borland came out and ran around the field, making cuts and acceleration for a trainer. He went into the locker room and was ruled out. Trotter subbed in and led the Badgers with nine tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a QB hurry.
3) QB Joel Stave — Just a nice, comfortable performance from a QB who’s been branded a “game manager.” If that means he takes what the defense gives him, makes good decisions and doesn’t try to do things he can’t do, I think we all would take a game manager. Stave finished 11 of 19 for 144 yards, two TDs and an interception. He didn’t force passes. He took what was there and made the plays that were presented to him. If the Badgers aren’t careful, Stave will manage to help them to a BCS at-large bowl.
1) Red zone penalties — If TE C.J. Fiedorowicz’s hold and OG Andrew Donnal’s false starts don’t happen, maybe Iowa scores in the first quarter and comes out of its turn with the wind with a 10-0 lead. In the end, no, it probably wouldn’t have mattered, but these two penalties seemed to have Ferentz’s attention in the post game. They should, too. You’re talking about a senior TE and a junior OL. Depending on the seriousness of sophomore Jordan Walsh’s ankle injury — and it’s probably at least a week, right? — Donnal is about to inherit a starting gig. Have to at least play clean and know when to move.
2) Drops — Going to go with five as the official stat (that stat is not official). Kevonte Martin-Manley had two. Drops have gone away for the most part. This isn’t why Iowa lost, but when you have an offense that needs every push it can get, it is one of the things that adds up, kind of like red zone penalties. On the bright side, senior WR Don Shumpert played his best game in a long time with two catches for 35 yards. The one where Beathard hit him through a window that was about as big as a hubcap was certainly impressive. Don’t get me wrong, Beathard has talent worth mining. Where, when and how? Probably not this week. Rudock is expected to be back.
3) Losing ground — The Hawkeyes allowed more than 200 rushing yards for the third straight week (BTW, that’s something that never happened last year). OSU went for 273, Northwestern 225 and the Badgers got 218. Iowa’s defense got off the field, holding UW to 4 of 15 on third down, but being out of position and outnumbered in pre snap showed up once or twice in a big way. In the last three weeks, Iowa has allowed 238.7 rushing yards a game, that’s No. 105 in the nation. Outside of Nebraska, those are the three best rushing teams on Iowa’s schedule.
1) Rudock pick, injury — You knew it was bad when the quarterback whose bad decisions can be counted on one hand made a grotesque decision. Then again, Iowa ran a play-action pass from its own 1-yard line. It was a risky play call where Iowa tried to take a shot and paid the ultimate price (NIU-esque). Rudock didn’t have time to read corner Darius Hillary, who drifted into underneath coverage on Fiedorowicz. Why did that read happen? RB Mark Weisman threw a shoulder into OLB Ethan Armstrong. Weisman ended up on the ground and Armstrong kept coming. He wrapped up Rudock and sent him to the ground. Rudock limped to the sideline with a sprained knee. Rudock made a terrible play that was forced out of desperation. He was going to get sacked for a safety. He should’ve thrown away the ball. But play-action pass from the end zone? It wasn’t the exact same pass and result, but it was the same end zone in which Ricky Stanzi’s 2009 season was ended on a play-action bootleg from Iowa’s own end zone. Shot call from the end zone cost Iowa its QB for the rest of the afternoon.
2) Last drive of the first quarter — The wind gave Iowa first down at Wisconsin’s 41. On first down, it was a beautifully blocked variant of the “pin and pull” play that freshman RB LeShun Daniels took 6 yards to the left. It was a “check with me” call from Rudock, or at least looked like it. Center Austin Blythe pulled and got a good not devastating seal. So, second-and-4 from the Badgers 35. It was a pin play to the wide side of the field, and Trotter undercut Blythe and make the tackle on Weisman, who never had a chance. Bodies were everywhere. Play was going nowhere. Minus-2. So, third-and-6. Bullock in a single-back set, with trips left (Powell, CJF, KMM) and Tevaun Smith split out on the other side. Smash route combo up top was covered well. Sometimes out of that stacked receiver formation, offenses like to force defenders to change their paths. All three receivers released into a defender. Rudock passed to KMM, who had a defender on top of him. Short gain and Iowa punted from Wisconsin’s 35.
NEXT — AT PURDUE (1-7, 0-4)
– Ohio State crushed the Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium. It was the most lopsided Ohio State victory over Purdue in the 55 games between the teams.
– Kick off is 11 a.m. at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. TV is BTN. On one good ACL, Purdue QB Robert Marve led a last-second drive that led to the game-winning field goal last year at Kinnick. Iowa whiffed on a fourth-and-3. Ferentz said his team wasn’t “dog crap” in the post game.
– Purdue true freshman QB Danny Etling, who Iowa offered late last year, has been sacked 19 times in 3 1/2 games.
– Here are the grades from the Lafayette, Ind., Journal and Courier for the Boilers’ effort vs. the Buckeyes. Carnage.
– Get to know first-year Purdue coach Darrell Hazell. (For Purdue info, the Journal and Courier’s Mike Carmin is a great Twitter follow at @carminjc.)
Closing the deal (Red zone TDs/possessions)
Iowa — 0 of 4 (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 2 of 3; NU 2 of 3)
UW — 3 of 3 (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; OSU 3 of 5; NU 1 of 2)
Worst effort of the season. This really set the tone for the game, with the Hawkeyes spitting with the wind in the first quarter and scoring just three points. Game was over. The rest was ceremony.
Setting the tone (defensive three-and-outs)
Iowa 5 — Iowa’s defense used the wind to its advantage, recording four 3-and-outs to start the game, including FS Tanner Miller’s pick on the first drive. (NIU 6, MSU 6, ISU 5, WMU 9, Minn 3; Mich St 4; OSU 0; NU 2)
UW 8 — Iowa’s first drive of the third quarter was a 3-and-out that was held to minus-4 yards and took just 1:31 off the clock. That was Iowa’s typical drive vs. UW. (NIU: 3, MSU: 3, ISU 4, WMU 3, Minn 1; Mich St 9; OSU 0; NU 1)
After adjustments (second-half yards and avg. yards per play)
Iowa — 163-4.3 (38 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 153-8.5, 18 plays; NU 150-4.8, 31 plays)
UW — 216-6.4 (34 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; OSU 306-5.77, 53 plays; NU 208-5.47, 38 plays)
I’m done harping on the second half. It shows that this is an incomplete team, at least not complete enough to be on the same tier with Wisconsin and Michigan State. Iowa is bottom third and has to punch its way up.
Game-changers (offensive plays of 20-plus yards)
Iowa 3 — Rudock made a nice improvisational kind of shovel pass to Damon Bullock for a 24-yard gain. The drive ended in a field goal. Canzeri ripped off his 43-yarder at the end of the third quarter. During the late, mop-up 7-on-7, Beathard hit WR Damond Powell for a 38-yarder. It was too little, too late. (NIU: 3, MSU: 4; ISU 3; WMU 4; Minn 4; Mich St 2; OSU 3; NU 2)
UW 3 — Stave hit TE Jacod Pedersen, who was matched man-to-man with true freshman corner Desmond King, for a 44-yard TD to give UW the lead for good late in the first half. After Rudock threw an interception from Iowa’s end zone, Stave hit WR Jared Abbrederis for a 20-yard TD on the next play. TV pointed out lack of a jam on the line of scrimmage from LB Christian Kirksey and then lack of depth on his drop from LB James Morris. SS John Lowdermilk was left giving ground. Abbrederis forced him to open his hips to the outside and then cut inside for an easy TD. White had a 59-yard rush that set up the Badgers’ final TD. All three big plays were either TDs or set up TDs. Iowa’s weren’t. Game. (NIU: 5. MSU: 4; ISU 4; WMU 1; Minn 2; Mich St 5; OSU 2; NU 2)
Two-minute magic (points, final two minutes of half)
Iowa o — The Hawkeyes weren’t able to put themselves in a clutch situation. The air was taken out of them when the first-quarter field position added up to six points. (vs NIU: 7, vs MSU: 0; vs ISU 6; vs. WMU 14; vs. Minn 0; Mich St 7; OSU 0; NU 0)
UW 14 — The TD pass to Pedersen came with 1:49 left in the first half. White scored after his 59-yarder from 2 yards with 1:35 left in the game. (NIU: 3, vs MSU: 0; ISU 0, vs. WMU 0; Minn 0; Mich St 0; OSU 0; NU 0)
Iowa big plays (going by OC Greg Davis’ definition of 12-plus yard run and 16-plus pass)
7 — Canzeri’s 43-yard rush was the only double-digit yard run Iowa managed. The rest of these were passes, including two from Beathard to Shumpert. Rudock once again showed nice playmaking ability when he climbed the pocket, scrambled to the line of scrimmage and shoveled the ball to Bullock for a 24-yard gain. (vs NIU: 5; vs MSU: 6; vs ISU 7; vs WMU 10; Minn 8; Mich St 2; OSU 4; NU 5)