Hawkeyes Hapless in CyHawk Defeat

The Iowa Hawkeyes offense looked confused and challenged on Saturday as it lost 9-6 to Iowa State in Kinnick Stadium.

Those would be two of the kindest adjectives you can find to describe what we saw in this year’s installment of the CyHawk Series.

Iowa was 5 of 17 on third downs. James Vandenberg was 20 of 42 for 236 yards and two interceptions. Iowa was 0 of 2 on rezone chances related to touchdowns scored, making them 0 of 6 on the season. Two of those possessions saw Iowa have 1st and goal inside the five yard line, only to come away with field goals; once against NIU and once against Iowa State.

Iowa had several chances to take the lead in this game in the second half thanks to a fantastic job by the Iowa defense.

For the second week in a row the Iowa defense made fantastic adjustments at halftime and played well above the level I expected them to play at this year. They allowed just 101 yards rushing on 41 ISU attempts. They forced four separate three and outs in the second half after none in the first. They only allowed one field goal in the second half and nine total points. They blocked a PAT. They played a great game. They allowed 232 first half yards and 69 yards rushing in the fist half to just 110 & 32 in the second.

After two games, they may have a higher ceiling than I once believed. However, the offense’s ceiling is going to be much lower than I had expected. Painfully low.

This offense will get better, but after two games it’s looking a lot like what we saw in 2007.

Quarterback James Vandenberg is a much better quarterback than was Jake Christensen, but so far this season the results are fairly similar. The offensive line offered better protection this week than last (zero sacks), but the receivers dropped at least four balls and three others were tipped before they got to the receiver. One of the biggest drops of the day was by Don Shumpert on Iowa’s second to last drive and came on 4th and 10 from the Iowa 49. Vandenberg hit Shumpert right between the numbers and he flat dropped it. There wasn’t a defender within four yards. Had he caught that and just fallen down, Iowa would have had a first down at the Iowa State 35 yard line. Had Iowa gone three and out from there, they would have at least had a 52 yard field goal attempt…or a chance.

The Iowa defense would hold after that drive and Iowa had moved the ball down to the ISU 32 yard line with just over a minute to play on their final drive of the day. That’s when Vandenberg tried to loft a pass to CJ Fiedorowicz over ISU linebacker Jake Knott. Knott batted it down and intercepted the pass. Another missed opportunity in field goal range when Iowa was down three.

Holding your opponent to nine points and losing is rare. Very rare. Rare as in the last time it happened to an Iowa team was 1980 against Arizona. It took me five minutes of scanning back through each and every Iowa football season to find that one. You can check my math by looking at them yourself at this link. Iowa was 40-0 under Kirk Ferentz when holding its opponent under ten points.

There will be more time to analyze this one later tonight and this week, but the 2012 Iowa football season, which was always considered to be a bit of a crap shoot with a soft schedule as a saving grace, may already be dancing on the edge of the knife. Being +2 in turnover margin at Kinnick Stadium used to be as good as money in the bank.

However with an offense that has scored just one touchdown in two games, there isn’t a lot of hope or much Iowa fans can bank on.

  • gman2006

    Didn’t Iowa lose to Penn St 6 to 3 a few years ago?

    • jeffbuck

      some score like that but actually we won.

  • gman2006

    My hat is off to the defense they played a heck of a game in the second half, it is sad the offense couldn’t make it happen.

  • Billy

    just a hilarious game today Iowa.

  • gman

    I’m sorry it was 6 to 4 in 2004.

  • gahawk

    Time for Ruddock and the future. Vandenburg isn’t the answer for this team. I hope the coaches make the change like they did with stanzi or it will be a long year. Go Hawks.

    • CFHawk2001

      I agree. It might be time to give Ruddock a chance. Yes, the receivers dropped some passes. However, JVB throws the ball way too hard for some of these shorter routes we are running. Imagine coming out of a cut, turning your head around, and having a 100 mph fastball less than 10 yards from you. That is really tough to catch and will lead to deflections and interceptions. Maybe Ruddock would be better suited to a Greg Davis offense. If we stick with JVB, we need to take advantage of his hand cannon with longer passes, and he needs to make better reads.

  • LikeItIs

    Ferentz is WAY overpaid. Just look at the lack of results compared to his peers at that salary. He coaches teams that are flat and lack enthusiam, just like him. Iowa taxpayers sure aren’t getting what they pay for in his case. Rhoads, however, is a bargain…….

  • louie

    we are a bad team.we need to play some young WR and find a playmaker.shumpert catches the ball like a 5 th grader.the D payed really good.forced 3 TO’S inside 15 I believe.the dropped passes ended up off setting them.maybe need to start playing 2 TE’S with one in slot.they are best receivers we have .get hamilton and duzey in there and derby riding the bench.still haven’t run play action on 1st or 2nd down all year in red zone.very predictable.

  • Billy B

    Obviously the receivers were terrible and O line did a good job of pass
    blocking – Vandy Sucks – and is now playing bad everywhere not just on
    the road like last year. We may have the worst Punter in the country –
    Field position was horrible pretty much all game.
    The only way we
    would have won today is if Morris would have Housed the INT he had.
    Hopefully the defense can keep playing well. Obviously playing terrible
    opponents like we will this year and last does not always lead to
    success. Our Schedule is so soft – Im a huge Iowa fan and Ive had enough
    of mediocrity. But in Society we believe Mediocrity is good now so I
    guess its fine.

  • Bellingham Hawk

    VB is very much like JC was, bad. Time for some changes. If a receiver can’t catch the ball, the coaches should not allow them on the field.

  • LikeItIs

    Team sucks; bad team; this player / that player. Why is the highest paid public employee in IA immune from your criticism? He’s been there forever. If we do suck, are bad, and don’t have an a-list of players on the field…….why is he still around? Imagine the list of young energetic head coaches you could recruit from for his salary (throw in the boy’s salary too and send him back to the Patriots). Absolute power, don’t you know……

  • Get it done

    Barta needs to have a long talk with Kirk about his job. This program is given everything they want and they need to finish in the top 25 each and there is no excuse for anything else. I also don’t need to hear how Greg Davis had more speed in Texas. Obviously he did, but he got fired there so he needs to work with what he has and not complain about what he doesn’t have. If he doesn’t like it then move back to Texas because he clearly is no offensive genius. Today’s result is unacceptable. Also, Brian Ferentz should get off of twitter and teach this line how to run block and while we’re at it burn those horrible uniforms. Somewhere Ken O’Keefe is quietly saying I told you so. Great job by Phil Parker and the Defense.

    • jeffbuck7

      Yes, we’ve given the Ferentz group everything they wanted. The current results are unacceptable.

  • jeffbuck7

    Let me join the chorus of people calling for Ruddock. How bad can he be? My only hesitation is that VDB’s receivers are worse than he is…. I didn’t think Davis play calling was bad though it wasn’t stellar…. Ferentz? I agree with those who suggest that, at his rate of pay, he’s the worst in the country. Couldn’t we get that guy at Boise for what we’re paying Ferentz? … One other point: If it wasn’t for Morris, we lose by 30 points.

  • theavernus

    Phil Parker has done an amazing job adjusting to each game. The boys executed well too 3 takeaways with ISU in the red zone. With that said Greg Davis was sitting on he couch jobless for 2 years for a reason. My apologies to you Jon on the board but we all have the same right to be crabby, mad, and annoyed as you do.

  • Vinay

    They played well today defensively. Has some work to do on offense. But i think they will get there. Its a young team and they lack experience. Offense needs to be more confident and needs to execute plays. It will come with experience of course. This will be a totally different team when we play Big Ten teams.
    You have to appreciate Kirk Ferentz with what he has done with this young team and the whole running back thing. We learned that its not easy to replace a guys like McNutt.

  • We all know that is not the way Ferentz operates. Vandenberg can not catch his own passes, the receivers need to step up big time! Jeffbuck- please , Morris had two good plays ,he gets man handled almost every play by the o-line. NOTHING will change as long as Ferentz is the head coach!!!!!

    • jeffbuck7

      Two good plays? Review the game.

  • jeffbuck7

    P.S.: Micah Hyde’s kickoff and punt returns are the most boring in college football.

  • i1hawk

    Defense played great, Morris was great, recievers need to catch the ball…dropped passes killed drives the last couple of years and today…


    O Keefe and now Greg Davis? The pattern here isn’t bad OC’s, it is exposing the head coach, I’m afraid. At what point is enough, enough? What we saw on saturday was just sad. Plain and simple. The D was the only bright spot but they can’t carry the team without any offense. I am also not one to call for a QB change, but at what point are we going to break the cycle of playing next qb in until he graduates with the next in line to come in with no game time experience? JVB is gone next year and we are probably going to be fighting from behind almost every game this year. Let’s get Ruddock some PT, not junk time and see how he does. It couldnt get much worse than it has been at qb. You never know what the guy on the bench is capable of until given a fair shot. just my 2 cents here.

  • wow calling for Vandy’s head? How quickly some of you forget that he threw for over 3k yards 25TD 7INT last year. You think he is the problem?

  • Hawkeye7248

    The Hayden Fry formula is not to schedule bruising pre-season games that just leave injuries in your roster and do not get you anything in the Conference. Let Michigan beat Notre Dame, who has to beat USC, then we nail them at home. Our strongest recruiting point is the percentage of guys who make it into the pros. Period!! Look at the pros now and hear which schools they attended. Some did not even get through college and are playing at the highest level for quality teams.

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