Not pretty, but…
By Don Lund
A win is a win, but when you have a team down 21-0, like Iowa had the Missouri State Bears, you want to put the pedal to the metal and blow them out.
I would have liked to see C.J. Beathard or Cody Sokol get some snaps at quarterback, but Missouri State had other ideas.
The Bears scored a touchdown pass with 14:25 left in the game.
Ten seconds later, they intercepted a pass and went 28 yards for the score.
I was stunned! What could have been a rout turned into a tight game.
The Hawks then drove 65 yards and Jake Rudock scored his second touchdown to take a 28-14 lead. Then Tanner Miller intercepted a pass on his own goal line with 6:50 left.
Missouri got the ball back once more, but the defense held and Iowa, with Mark Weisman leading the way, ran out the clock.
Iowa got the win at Kinnick Stadium last Saturday after seven straight defeats. Now they need to figure out how to put teams away.
This week I’m going to start with the defense as they gave up only seven points.
Missouri State had only 12 first downs, 70 yards rushing (3.0 average), 127 yards passing and their quarterback Kierra Harris completed only 14-30 passes with one interception. Kirk Ferentz said before the game that Kierra reminded him of Brad Banks, so he must be pretty good.
Once again, the linebackers were all over the field.
Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey combined for 17 tackles and Anthony had two sacks.
The Hawks’ front four had a nice rotation of seven-to-eight players.
Iowa’s two safeties had a solid afternoon. John Lowdermilk had six tackles including one for a loss and Tanner Miller made the big interception in the fourth quarter.
The Hawkeyes need to keep those deep passes from happening as Missouri State scored on a 27-yard strike.
Desmond King, a true freshman, bit on a double-move, and the Bears had their first score.
Desmond was first team all-state from Detroit, Mich., and holds the Michigan high school record with 29 interceptions.
Last year after two games, Iowa had scored 19 and 6 points.
The Hawks had 268 total yards in the first game in a 19-18 win over Northern Illinois. That included 139 yards passing. James Vandenberg was 21-33 for 129 yards and six sacks. Mark Weisman had no carries.
In their second game, a 9-6 loss to the ‘Clones, Iowa had 304 total yards including 68 yards rushing. Vandenberg was 20-42 for 236 yards and two interceptions.
That’s 572 total yards, 25 points and no touchdown passes.
James’ totals for the first two games were 41-75 (55 percent) for 365 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. Mark Weisman had only two carries for eight yards in the Iowa State game.
So far this year, Iowa has 947 yards total offense, has scored 55 points and thrown a touchdown pass.
Jake Rudock is 40-65 (61.5 percent) for 449 yards and a touchdown pass. He has also scored three touchdowns.
This season, Mark Weisman has carried 50 times, picked up 280 yards (5.6 per carry) and scored twice.
Saturday, Iowa had 25 first downs and controlled the clock, keeping the ball for over 36 minutes while Missouri State only had it for less than 22 minutes. That really showed in the fourth quarter.
For the game, the Hawks were 7-14 on third downs but were 0-1 on fourth down. Iowa had the ball on the Bears 2 yard line with fourth and 1. They were stopped and Missouri State took over.
Mark Weisman dealt with the heat as good as anyone could with 30 carries for 180 yards. Mark said Chris Doyle’s summer program got him through the hot day.
“It’s summer conditioning and practice,” said Mark. “It’s been hot in practice. You just have to draw on your strength and conditioning.”
Damon Bullock had 40 yards on 10 carries and true freshman LeShun Daniels, Jr. got his first action.
He is being compared to Shonn Greene and his six carries for 30 yards were good to go.
LeShun was committed to Boston College but they changed coaches and he chose the Hawks.
Thank you, LeShun.
Add Jordan Canzeri to the mix and Iowa has four really good running backs.
It was good to see 10 different Hawkeye receivers catch passes, including seven catches for three tight ends.
C.J. Fiedorowicz caught three passes and was open when Jake scrambled for a 2-yard score but I thought Jake made a good decision to keep it.
How about true freshman Matt VandeBerg with his first two catches?
Matt started out as a grey shirt which means he would have had to sit out this fall. He got a scholarship late and made it on to the field.
Matt (6-1, 170) is from Brandon, S.D., and was elite all-state as a junior and senior. He had 65 receptions and nine interceptions as a senior. He also ran sprints, the long jump and triple jump in high school.
Jake Rudock, outside of one pass, is showing a lot of poise and how about his running ability? He picked up 41 yards on eight carries, was sacked for an 8-yard loss and scored twice.
For the season, Jake has 11 runs for 53 yards. He makes the defense think when he runs the read option.
It wasn’t the greatest day for special teams.
Mike Meyers missed a 33-yard field goal and Connor Kornbrath’s punting average was 37.2 yards.
Mike did have three touchbacks on five kickoffs and Jordan Cotton had a nice kickoff return of 35 yards.
One of the most glaring stats was 11 penalties for 100 yards. Iowa is not that good yet to have that many mistakes.
“We have a lot of things to clean up right now,” said coach Ferentz, who got victory number 101. “Part of that was them playing really well or whether it was us not playing well enough. There were some good things out there and that’s what we’re going to have to build off of and try to clean up the mistakes.”
The Hawks also dropped four passes in the game and Damond Powell only got one touch again.
Iowa travels to Cyclone land this Saturday.
You know the ‘Clones will be ready, especially since they got beat by UNI 28-10 in their first game.
They had a bye last weekend and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad… we’ll see.