The longest day
Hayden Fry once said that “the sun don’t shine on the same old dog every day.”
The sun certainly wasn’t shining at Kinnick Stadium Saturday, and Iowa played like a dog in the night game, losing 38-14 to Penn State.
I’ve said this before– I’m not a big fan of night games at Kinnick.
I don’t mind watching bowl games at night, but when I get up at 6 a.m., bake some cherry cobbler and have the van loaded at 9, then have to wait 10 hours until kickoff…it’s a real long day.
I do have to admit being on the sideline before kickoff, then watching the players run out with “Back in Black” playing in the background, fireworks going and the fans all jacked up was kind of neat… but then the game started, and oh my-my.
I wasn’t going to do the good, bad and ugly this week, because I wasn’t sure if I could find much good. It was 31-0 starting the fourth quarter.
Jordan Cotton changed that with a 92-yard kickoff return to start the fourth. The return ties for the 10th longest in school history.
Levi Mitchell did it in 1969 against Washington State (I listened to it on the radio and the Hawks won, 61-35!).
Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said “It was a little bit like the Arizona State game eight years ago when we ran back a punt.”
The Hawks got beat 44-7 in a night game at Arizona. They trailed 44-0 before Walter Belleus returned a punt 83 yards for a score. Drew Tate, starting as a sophomore, was 8-19 for 44 yards and one pick. The Wildcats had 23 first downs, Iowa six and the ‘Cats had 511 yards total offense, Iowa 100.
That was the same Iowa team that tied Michigan for the Big Ten championship and beat LSU on Drew’s “Hail Mary” to Warren Holloway.
Last Saturday, Penn State had 28 first downs, Iowa 14 and the Lions had 504 yards total offense, Iowa 209.
Keenan Davis turned a pass in the flat into an 18-yard touchdown to end the scoring. Keenan made a great move and took it in for a little more good.
Finally, James Morris and Christian Kirksey both had 12 tackles to lead the defense.
The bad or sad, depending on how you look at it, would have to start with the Hawkeyes losing tackle Brandon Scherff for the season with a leg injury. To make matters worse, two plays later, starting right guard Andrew Donnell went out with a leg injury.
Offensive line has the most depth on the team. Brian Ferentz, the O-line coach, will have his work cut out for him this week.
Mark Weisman tried to play, but was not the same back that averaged over 6 yards per carry. He carried the ball five times for 9 yards.
The ugly would have to start with Mike Meyers missing both of his field goal attempts. I was in the end zone when he missed the first, a 49-yard kick in the first quarter…it was wide left. His 37-yard kick in the second quarter was wide right.
Mike went into the game with one miss all season.
How about Penn State having the ball for over 38 minutes, Iowa over 21.
James Vandenberg was 17-36 for 189 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and four sacks.
I really thought James would take to this new offense and really shine. That hasn’t been the case.
For the season, James is completing 55.8% of his passes for 1,323 yards with three touchdown passes and five interceptions.
Should he be replaced?
I don’t think so.
Don’t you think coach Ferentz is going to play the guy that gives Iowa the best chance to win? If you don’t, then you’re on a different planet then I am.
Up next is Northwestern, which missed a field goal at the end of the game and lost to Nebraska 29-28 last Saturday.
The game is at Evanston and the ‘Cats should be snarling.
It is a known fact that this is Kirk Ferentz’s youngest team.
Most of the youngsters should be fairly grown up by now.
Will that be enough?
Iowa won in a shootout last year at Kinnick, 41-31.
I’m not sure if Iowa has that kind of firepower this year.