You can only refer to this group as overachievers for so long before it’s an inaccurate label. Defensive line coach Reese Morgan has a reputation as a “builder” and as a developer of young players and looking at the early results it’s a well earned description. The sack and TFL loss numbers weren’t overwhelming this week but on a rainy day where footing was slick, these guys played a solid game. They weren’t able to totally bottle up LeVeon Bell but were able to keep him from taking over the game. Bell churned out some yards but the DL was largely responsible for slowing him up and keeping MSU from sustaining drives. They got a lot of pressure on 1st year starting QB Andrew Maxwell and got off the field numerous times because of it. One of the biggest struggles for this unit up to this point was compressing the pocket and getting to opposing QBs. If they continue to push the pocket like they did against MSU, opposing QBs will struggle to complete passes.
It was the same personnel this week in East Lansing and Iowa got a lot out of them. Joe Gaglione is the epitome of blue collar tough guy and it showed during the rained soaked game. Gaglione just didn’t stay blocked very often in this game and was involved in 11 total tackles. He also had a big sack on a 3rd down to help swing momentum back to Iowa. He also drew a holding call on that same drive and was disruptive throughout the game. Dom Alvis also had a solid day and was causing issues on the edge. He was shedding blocks and clogging running lanes throughout the day. Alvis also had a big TFL on a designed QB keeper on a 3rd down. Iowa’s strong defensive effort in this game kept them in the game and the defensive ends definitely did their part.
Defensive End Ladder:
1) Joe Gaglione(11TOT 1TFL 1Sack)
2) Dom Alvis(4TOT 1TFL)
3) Riley McMinn(N/A)
Louis Trinca-Pasat has begun to emerge as the guy you expect to make plays up front for Iowa. On the final dive of regulation with the game tied and Michigan State one big completion away from a game winning field goal try, LTP flipped a switch. On consecutive plays he pressured the QB and forced him to throw it away. He also made the crucial deflection in the second overtime that ended up sealing the game for Iowa. A very dense game for a guy who only had 1 total tackle show up in the official stat line.
LTP wasn’t the only DT who had a good day either. Steve Bigach, Darian Cooper and Carl Davis all were able to win the LOS more often than not against the run. This group has been doing a much better job keeping the Iowa LB’s clean in the run game. It looks like Iowa is being a little more strategic with their substitutions up front as well. Davis will play a lot of 1st and 2nd downs and more and more Iowa is going with Cooper on passing downs. Bigach will also shake loose at times as a pass rusher and laid a couple of big hits on Maxwell during this game. Overall this group has really come together and is getting the job done.
1) Louis Trinca-Pasat(1TOT 1 Pass deflection)
2) Steve Bigach(4TOT)
3) Darian Cooper(1TOT)
4) Carl Davis(1TOT)