Who would have thought that the Iowa-Indiana game would be huge for both teams to get a shot at a bowl game?
The Hawks started strong, but couldn’t finish and fell to 4-5, 2-3 in the Big Ten, with a 24-21 loss.
It was a busy weekend for Hawks fans.
I actually went to the field hockey game on Friday.
Iowa hosted fourth-ranked Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament and the Nittany Lions came out on top, 3-2.
Saturday, the football game at Indiana was delayed for an hour because of the weather and Sunday the men’s and women’s basketball teams played a doubleheader at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
This week I’m just going to look at the good as far as football goes.
This has been a tough year, and Iowa needed to keep everyone healthy to have a shot at a winning record.
There are still three games left and anything is possible, but the offensive line is thin because of injury and playing two redshirt freshmen.
The running back situation has Damon Bullock running hard, but with Mark Weisman out that doesn’t help.
Iowa lost Marvin McNutt to graduation and Marcus Coker because he transferred. Both had over 1,300 yards receiving or rushing and they combined for 27 touchdowns.
The big part of Marvin and Marcus is that they played every game and made some big plays all season.
The Hawks just don’t have a big play threat this year.
I thought Keenan Davis would step up and he has made some big catches, but no long touchdown scores.
We knew the defense was young. They started strong, but are nicked up and not getting the big stop when needed.
Mike Meyers has done a great job in field goals, but the Hawkeye punting game is second to last in the Big Ten in net punting.
The good against Indiana would have to start in the first quarter with the Hawks starting strong and scoring first with a touchdown pass from James Vandenberg to Kevonte Martin-Manley.
On the very next series, Christian Kirksey picked off a pass and went 18 yards… Iowa 14, Indiana 0.
That’s two touchdowns in 12 seconds!
James finished 21-34 for 249 yards and a touchdown while Kevonte led the Hawks with seven catches for 131 yards.
Damon Bullock had 83 yards rushing, scored a touchdown and caught three passes for 24 yards.
The defense was led by Anthony Hitchens with 14 tackles. Christian Kirksey had eight stops, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Indiana was averaging over 34 points per game and scored 49 against undefeated Ohio State, so the Hawks holding them to 24 was pretty good… too bad Iowa couldn’t score 25.
Somehow, someway, Iowa has to scratch out two more wins with three games to play.
Purdue is up next at Kinnick, then at Michigan and Nebraska at home the Friday after Thanksgiving.
If not, the Hawkeyes will be home for the holidays… the first time since 2007 when they finished 6-6, were eligible for a bowl but didn’t go.
Hopefully, Kinnick magic will come through.