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Not real pretty

Hawk Talk
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley attempts to leap past the outstretched arms of Michigan State’s Khari Willis during the Hawkeyes’ 17-10 loss to Michigan State at Lansing Sept. 30.
Iowa falls to Spartans, 17-10

I’ve talked about how I’d rather win and not look good as opposed to losing and looking great, but when you lose and look bad, that’s another story.
The Hawkeye defense gave Iowa a chance, but the offense started slow and kept shooting itself in the foot in a 17-10 road loss to Michigan State Sept. 30 in Lansing.
The Hawk offense could only come up with 11 first downs, 0.8 yards per carry on the ground and 4-14 on third down conversions.
It didn’t help that three of Iowa’s first six drives started inside their own 10.
On the flipside, three of Michigan State’s first six drives started in Iowa territory.
“They did a good job of driving the ball and changing field position,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “That’s something we’re going to have to do a better job of.”
If Iowa could only start in the second half…
Iowa trailed North Texas State 14-10 at half and won 31-14.
They trailed Penn State 5-0 before scoring right before half to take a 7-5 lead.
The Hawks were behind 17-7 against the Spartans at half, shut them out after halftime, but could only come up with three points.
Iowa has trailed in every game this season.
To say Iowa has had slow starts would be an understatement.
“They took control right off the bat and we were not able to get much going offensively,” said Kirk. “That was a tough first half. We came out in the second half, moved the ball and then, unfortunately, turned the ball over. It’s hard to win if you do that.”
My gosh, the Hawks even converted on a fake fourth-down field goal attempt.
Kicker Colten Rastetter completed a pass to A. J. Epenesa for 15 yards and a first down on the Spartan eight early on Iowa’s first possession of the second half.
“We’ve had that play in our pocket for a couple of weeks,” said the head coach. “We thought it was a good time for it. We would have liked to see that play go the distance.”
Three plays later, Nate Stanley tried to throw a pass, the ball fell out of his hands and Michigan State recovered.
With the Hawkeye offense struggling, I’ll start with the defense.

Iowa defense>/h3>
Josey Jewell continues to play like an All American.
The senior linebacker from Decorah, for the second week in a row, tied a career high with tackles with 16. He also had three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.
Josey was all over the field and was instrumental in holding the Spartan rushing game to 88 yards (2.2 per carry).
State was only 5-14 on third down conversions.
Nathan Bazata was also solid up the middle with eight tackles, including one for a sack.
For the second week in a row, Iowa had less time of possession as the Spartans held the ball for 33:34 minutes, Iowa 26:26.

Iowa offense

I don’t know about you, but I kept thinking Akrum Wadley was going to break a big run or pass play sometime in the game.
It never happened.
The Spartans were on him all afternoon and held Akrum to 30 yards in 17 carries (1.8 per carry) which included 10 negative yards.
Akrum caught three passes for 17 yards with a long of six yards.
Iowa is doing everything to get Akrum in space, but it just isn’t working.
The last two weeks, the defenses have been loading the box to stuff the run and put pressure on Nate Stanley.
I’m not smart enough to know how to counter that, but I still believe the coaches, including new offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, do.
Nate Stanley, who was sacked three times, was 16-31 for 197 yards and no picks.
For the season, Nate is completing 58.8 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and only one interception.
Not bad for a first-year starter.
Chuck Long started his career 0-2 in 1982 with losses to Nebraska and Iowa State.
Chuck was benched against Iowa State, but came back and helped the Hawks finish 8-4 that year, including a bowl win over Tennessee.
Chuck Hartlieb didn’t even start his first year (1987) but led Iowa to a 10-3 record including a bowl win over Wyoming.
T. J. Hockenson and Matt VandeBerg each had three catches and T.J is looking better every week.
Matt has at least one catch in the last 24 consecutive games and has 119 catches for his career; 11th best in Hawkeye history.
Matt passed Scott Chandler (117) and Clinton Solomon (118) against the Spartans.
Akrum Wadley did have a nice nine-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

special teams

Colten Rastetter was perfect in the passing department, going 1-1 even though it wasn’t a pretty spiral but it turned a fourth down into a first down.
Colten’s punting was not as good.
The Hawks can’t afford a 50-yard punt followed by a 30-yard one, especially when they are inside their own 10.
Colten averaged 37.8 yards on six kicks. They only good thing is Sparty averaged only 6.3 yards on three returns.
Miguel Recinos had three kickoffs with only one returned.
Miguel hit a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
For the season Miguel is 4-5 in field goals and 14-14 in extra points.

I’m not sure which hurt worse, losing to Penn State or Michigan State.
The Penn State one was lost on the last play, while the Spartan loss just looked frustrating the whole game.
“The big thing for us is to get back on our feet tomorrow, certainly a lot to learn from,” said Kirk. “One thing I have said is that this is a team that works hard, has got a good attitude and we got a lot of young guys that will get better and we have got to get better faster. That’s the challenge right now. We’ve just got to get ready for the next one.”
The Fighting Illini are up next and they got beat down by Nebraska last Friday, 28-6.
Illinois is 2-2 with wins over Ball State (24-21) and Western Kentucky (20-7).
They lost to South Florida, 47-23, and Nebraska.
I hate to call this a must-win, but if Iowa wants to go bowling, they had better take care of business at Homecoming.
Iowa is favored by 18.
The big boys picked Penn State and Michigan State to beat Iowa so let’s hope they are right.