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Initial Iowa Thoughts

iowa_hawkeyes_logoWell, that certainly sucked.

I’m not going to go into significant detail tonight about this 13-17 loss at Iowa, because frankly, it wouldn’t be productive and I’d almost certainly regret it in the morning. So, we’re going to hit some high notes and then revisit tomorrow with our “Final Word” post, which is just going to be delightful to write, let me tell you.

First of all, the best of the day was the defense. They played a whale of a game and when you hold a Big Ten team to no offensive touchdowns until roughly 4 minutes to go in the game, you’ve done something. Those who point to the last two Iowa drives as some sort of indictment on the Ball State defense need to have their head examined or need to sit down and let someone explain football to them. Kudos to the defensive unit and it is remarkably unfortunate that the storyline of the game will be the Iowa rally against them and the win. That simply isn’t fair.

Second, I thought the offense today was pedestrian at best, predictable at worst, and the common mantra among the fanbase is to sling arrows at Joey Lynch and Ozzie Mann as two people incapable of moving the ball or having offensive success. Was Ozzie Football great today? No. 15/30 for 129 yards isn’t a stellar stat line but going along with his zero TDs was also his zero turnovers until the ill-fated last drive fumble. Fans that expect a new offensive coordinator and a new redshirt sophomore QB to just pick up right where Rich Skrosky and Keith Wenning left off are fooling themselves. It’s going to take time and let’s try to remember that next week is an FCS opponent in Indiana State and no one in the MAC will be as defensively sound as Iowa. Just something to think about. Is this absolving them of a lion’s share of responsibility for the loss today, no. But it is far too early in their careers to completely write off their potential to succeed.

Third, and it’s a big one, is Iowa did literally everything possible to beat themselves today. It’s easy to point to the nine points they left on the field and the penalties they committed on critical BSU conversions, but that would be grasping the low hanging fruit. Add some turnovers and their own confounding coaching decisions and it’s almost like they didn’t even want to win.

Some will point to this game and say, “Ball State covered!” or had Iowa “on the ropes”, but to be sure, there are some significant concerns about this football team that today brought to light. Are they fixable? Of course. Are they going to be? Well, I guess that’s the answer that will be the difference between enough wins to go bowling over the holidays or not. Final word tomorrow, but for now, it’s a bourbon with a pissed offness chaser because this is one that just slipped away.

If you’ve got thoughts, leave ’em below.

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4 Responses

  1. Agree on the defense, they played as well as ever until the end. If we could have only done the minimum on the offense in the last possession, game over. I think Mann and Lynch can learn from today and figure the rest out to get us through the season. I’m just glad that we’re not moving towards a melt down of a season after a rather successful one as we’ve seen too often the past ten years.

  2. Against a pretty decent B1G opponent, we did far better than I would have hoped. The secondary pass D was exposed (but that is nothing new really) but overall, the D has vastly improved. Yeah the offense isn’t going to be stellar especially against a group as big and known for D has Iowa, but we were still able to get a few drives and plays open. Our biggest concern imo, is that we need to actually be able to pass the ball farther than 10 yards. I’m not talking about a pass that is 2 yards and then goes for 50 cause of a screen, I’m talking deep accurate passing which is something Ozzie doesn’t seem capable of right now. He’s young, but honestly, with these first two games, I’m not all that worried. We escaped with no major injuries as far as I can tell and I’d take this play into about any conference game we have this year. I certainly feel our performance was better than say CMU over Purdue because PU is a joke and NIU struggled with a struggling NU as well. Indeed, there were negatives, but plenty of positives to be had as well.

  3. Agreed. Many positives. Some negatives but I’d expect that given what was lost and the fact this was on the road. Road games in 2007 set up 2008. So there’s that.

  4. We, over here in the Hawkeye State, feel very fortunate to get the win. While neither team played exceptionally well, your team gave our guys absolutely everything that they could handle. Best of luck in the MAC!

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