Winning beats losing. Every. Single. Time.
That said, some wins feel better than others and this win for Iowa, while it snapped a seven-game losing streak, feels a bit hollow. It looks more hollow than it probably was.
Iowa beat Missouri State 28-14 in a game they led 7-0 at the half. The offense wound up gaining 489 yards on the day and they ran 86 plays, which is about 20 more than the per-game-Ferentz-era average. They had 25 first downs and were 7-14 on third downs. 296 total yards rushing on the day. Those raw numbers are solid totals.
The other side of the coin shows Iowa having eight 11 penalties for 100 yards and they also had a 3rd and 1 inside the ten-yard line that went for a false start (another QB sneak mishap) and Iowa wound up missing a 32-yard field goal. They also had at least four drops in the first half.
Did Iowa leave points on the table? Yes. Half of MSU’s 14 point total came on a pick six. I picked this game to be 38-0 and 38 feels about right for this game and most of the damage was done in the second half.
The defense did a great job, holding the Bearcats to under 200 yards on the day and just allowing one score. They blitzed early and often on third down…it got to the point where you knew the blitz was coming and Iowa’s linebackers were hurrying throws all day long. Iowa State is going to have a lot to look at from this tape in advance of next week’s game, which may wind up setting a record for punts in a Cy-Hawk contest; I’ll set the over/under at 17.5.
11 different players caught passes for Iowa. While that is ‘ok’ I’d like to see Iowa get into some type of rhythm. Iowa found the tight ends on this day, which was nice to see given how out of the mix they were one week ago and most of last season; they grabbed seven catches for over 100 yards. Mark Weisman had 180 yards on 30 carries and he was still carrying the ball on Iowa’s last drive and even the last play of the game, up 14…
First, why are you running Mark Weisman on the last drive of the game? Why are you running him on the last play of the game? Those are things that are just mildly irritating, given Iowa’s running back health issues through the years and the fact Adam Robinson was in the game against Michigan State in the 4th quarter in 2010 with Iowa up by four touchdowns and he had to miss the next few weeks with a concussion and was really never himself again and barely around again. The fact he had to run it 30 times against Missouri State is enough of a concern.
As I am going back over the stat sheet while I write this, a part of my mind (perhaps the homer section) is saying ‘They had nearly 500 yards of offense, they ran 86 plays, had over 100 yards in penalties, there were four drops and a missed field goal, the tight ends got back in the action and Jake Rudock looked good again.’
I think all of those things are true, but it’s really hard to come away from that singular performance and feel all that great about it, as Iowa is having challenges turning drives into points again this year. I hope the fact that the starters had to play the entire game will pay dividends next week from the experience point of view.
I was having trouble putting my finger on what this game felt like, until I came across this tweet from Scot Northern: “This win feels like taking your cousin to prom. Sure, you had a date for prom, but are you really proud of it?”