I woke up this morning, looking to see if it was all a dream/nightmare. I was hoping that I'd look at the date on my phone, it'd say Saturday, September 12th, and I could laugh about this crazy dream where the Hawks blew out the Cyclones. But nope, it really happened.
This is the worst loss I've endured in this rivalry since following the Cyclones. It's disappointing because I think the Cyclones are better than that, but they didn't play the part yesterday.
I'm not going to go through the exercise of saying what was good, and what needs needs improvement. There was very little good, with almost everything needing improvement. Instead, I wanted to just list a handful of takeaways I had:
- Our defense played better than I had expected, particularly in the first half. Stanzi did let them off the hook a couple of times with some overthrows, but they still played well. Iowa's offense had 167 yards, with 2 INTs, a fumble, a turnover on downs, and 3 punts in the first half. I'd take that from our defensive unit. If you look later on, you see the points given up, the yards allowed, etc., but the defense was getting worn down, and the turnovers on offense but our Defense in some bad spots at times.
- I hated the onside kick, even if we would've recovered. I think this was the play that changed the game a little bit. It just seemed like after Iowa recovered, they got fired up, and played with more urgency than they did before. When your defense is the weak spot on your team, why risk putting them in a position where Iowa has a short field? ISU gave Iowa momentum just by having that play go badly. If we recover, so what? We'd be up either 3, 6, or 10 points; clearly not enough to put a team away by any means.
- I did not like our offensive play calling. It made no sense at times. Iowa's D plays that "bend but don't break" style, where they aren't going to give up the deep pass. We'd build some momentum by running the ball effectivley, completing short passes, and then we'd crap down our leg by trying to throw it deep on 3rd and short, and turning the ball over. If you told me that ISU would be able to get 190 rushing yards and average 5.6 yards/carry, I'd think we'd be able to control the clock, and win the game. The offense was too inconsistent, but so was the playcalling.
- A lot of credit goes to Ken O'Keefe, the Iowa OC. Iowa called plays that attacked our defense. They threw deep balls (which would've connected more if Stanzi was an above-average QB), spread the field with 5 wide sets at times, and used ISU's lack of athleticism against them. I don't follow Iowa much, but typically in the games I watch, I find their offense boring. Yesterday was not the case, as much as it pains me to say.
- For Iowa this was a statement game. They played with urgency that I had not seen in this series since I started following. They had to do something big to show everyone that last week was a fluke (not saying that it was, but they have to show that perception). Typically, Iowa comes off a big win, and often times I think they underestimate ISU, and ISU plays close. It will be interesting to see how Iowa plays against Arizona, after coming off a big win.
- The good news is that we have some winnable games coming up. Our season isn't done; there's plenty more to do. The next 3 games (Kent State, Army, and Kansas State) are all winnable games, provided we play to the best of our abilities, don't kill ourselves with penalties, turnovers, and our offense moving theball consistently.
Next week is Kent State week. If you are road tripping for the game, don't be as big of a d-bag as one of the Hawk fans sitting in our section!