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Bowl Committee

Hawk Talk
Iowa Hawkeye defensive lineman Mike Hardy reaches out to deflect a pass by Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian during Saturday’s 48-7 win at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (photo by Don Lund)

I had a good feeling last week before Iowa hosted Northwestern Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
After Iowa played one of its worst games in a couple of years against Maryland and lost 38-31 two weeks ago, I thought Iowa would bounce back against the Wildcats.
Why?
Kirk Ferentz might not be the best coach ever, but he is a stand-up guy and the players respect him.
Also Iowa has some great leaders, especially the four captains.
You start with All American Brandon Scherff, who led the offensive line to its best day... no sacks and the Hawkeye running backs averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Mark Weisman has been voted captain for two straight years. He scored three touchdowns, and on two of them, he was not touched.
Quinton Alston anchors the defense and Louis Trinca-Pasat couldn’t be blocked, coming up with three sacks.
There is no way I would have thought Iowa would smoke the Wildcats 48-7 and become Bowl eligible for the 13th time in 14 years.
This is how I thought Iowa should look.
I said the Hawks were not a great team but can be good when they execute, play good defense and don’t turn the ball over.
They reminded me a little of the 1984 Hawkeye football team that was led by junior All-Big Ten quarterback Chuck Long.
They beat Iowa State in the opener, then lost to Penn State (they weren’t in the Big Ten) and Ohio State.
The Hawks ran off five straight wins, including a 26-0 shutout against Michigan.
That 1984 offense had speedster Robert Smith as a wide receiver, Mike Haight at tackle and Rick Bayless at running back.
Damond Powell has the speed of Robert Smith, Brandon Scherff will play in the NFL like Mike did and running back Mark Weisman was a walk-on like Rick Bayless.
The 1984 defense was led by All-American linebacker Larry Station, defensive back Devon Mitchell and lineman Hap Peterson.
Quinton Alston is a great leader like Larry,
Desmond King reminds me of Devon and Louis Trinca-Pasat has a little Hap Peterson in him.
The 1984 team ended up 8-4-1.
The last four games started with a 10-10 tie with Wisconsin.
Chuck Long was hurt and Ronnie Harmon broke his ankle and was done for the season.
Iowa lost its next game 17-16 to Michigan State when Chuck Long thought he scored but was called down at the one.
Next Iowa lost at Minnesota 23-17 (I was at the game and haven’t been back since).
The Hawks finished the regular season with a 17-6 win at Hawaii.
Of course you old timers (like me) remember Iowa pounding Texas in the Freedom Bowl, 55-17.
I was out in Montana with Mom and Dad staying with my brother Rob watching the bowl game.
I remember the announcers calling Chuck Long “Chucky.”
It was a complete game, but I’ll start with the offense this week.

Offense

When I watched the highlights on TV I was very impressed to see Mark Weisman not getting touched on his two 8-yard touchdown runs.
Talk about great blocking, especially fullback Macon Plewa.
Macon helped clear the way on all three of Mark’s scores.
The other good news is that redshirt freshman running back Akrum Wadley will hopefully be around for three more years.
How about those moves. Those were Akrum’s first touches that resulted in 15 carries for 106 yards and a 5-yard touchdown. That’s 7.1 yards per carry and Ronnie Harmon-like moves.
Akrum had a fumble in the third quarter, but bounced back strong.
Iowa will need him for the stretch run. Akrum was named Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week.
Jake Rudock had a really good game.
I thought he made timely throws all afternoon.
Iowa was 8-14 on third down conversions, Jake was 12-19 for 239 yards and a beautiful 31-yard touchdown pass to Tevaun Smith.
Even C. J. Beathard got to play without controversy.
C.J. led the final Hawkeye drive for a score with 11:54 left in the game from Iowa’s own 19-yard-line.
C.J. completed five passes and ran three times on the drive that took over eight minutes and ended with Akrum scoring on a 5-yard run.

The Defense

What a great afternoon for the defense.
Three sacks by Louis Trinca-Pasat, one by Drew Ott and one by Travis Perry, filling in for suspended Reggie Spearman. Travis crushed Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian on a blitz.
Louis was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. His three sacks were a career high.
The ‘Cats had only 105 yards rushing (2.4 per carry) and 75 yards passing.
How about the defense stopping the ‘Cats on the 1-yard-line?
Northwestern had a first and 10 on the Iowa 4. They tried three runs, an incomplete pass and Iowa got the ball back.

Special Teams

What a great blocked punt by true freshman Ben Niemann.
It wasn’t even a called play. Ben just saw he could do it and he even had the presence of mind to pick it off the ground at the 1 and score.
Marshall Koehn was 6-6 in extra points and 2-2 in field goals.
Jonathan Parker returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to set up the first Iowa score, and the Hawks’ punt and kickoff coverage was great.

The final good news is one of my homeboys from Moville, Tim Neustrom, had his son Robert, at the Northwestern game after committing to Iowa to play baseball next year, and his friend Tad might walk on the football team.
Robert (6-3, 190) bats and throws left, hit .540 for Sioux City North last summer with 19 doubles.
Robert also played wide receiver for North and caught 58 passes this fall scoring 11 touchdowns. He played on North’s basketball team that went to state the last two years.
Congratulations Robert and Tad... hard work and talent helps dreams come true.