First off, my apologies. My internet sucks royally, so I'm rarely able to get on except at work...so, otherwise, I probably would've posted something this weekend.
So, as many of you know, there was a football game on Saturday afternoon. Working on two hours of sleep, getting up at 4:15 AM to start pre-tailgating festivities was so much fun that I never want to do it again for a long time.
I wasn't really buying into the hype for this weeks games. I scoffed at the CyRide bus that I saw that had "BEAT IOWA" up on its display. Not one part of me honestly thought we would win on Saturday, much less with a negative turnover ratio. But that goes to show that I don't know shit about sports and that when something seems certain, maybe you can think again.
But anyways, like I said, I didn't really get fired up until gametime. Sure, there were bits of Hawkeye arrogance and general retardedness, such as this "feature" from the Daily Iowan. There was that normal crap. Iowa fans never entertaining the thought of losing to State, and Iowa State fans who might also be retarded blindly predicting a win.
Getting into the game, I was pleasantly surprised at how the stadium filled up. Sure, if it was a normal year, the hillsides would have been packed to the gills, but we still saw the stands full, which is something to look for on television.
Where to start with the game? Let's give some positional grades.....
Bret Meyer looked much more impressive that he had in the past. It still seemed like he stared down targets more often than not, but he was also content to work the perimeter of the field. He was also much more decisive with his runs. Maybe the Iowa game gets him fired up, but I saw more emotion than ever out of him........A-
JJ Bass had 25 rushes for 80 yards....not a stunning average, but he did come up with some key runs when we needed them and was just effective enough to make the Hawks respect the run. Still though, he looked rather pedestrian against a defensive line that is far better than any he's faced so far. Catlett caught three passes out of the backfield, but again, nothing stunning. A decent performance, but certainly nothing spectacular.........B-
Really helped out Meyer by grabbing a lot of short passes. Did a nice job getting open and especially when they tried to get yards after the catch. I'd like to see better routes out of the guys who don't get the ball (Looking your way, Blythe) and it'd be nice to see a tight end get a toss, but these guys helped win the game. Oh, and third string QB Phil Bates....nice grab, kid......A-
No sacks allowed. Whouda thunk against guys like King, Iwebema, Mattison, Kroul and Klinkenborg that not once would there be a sack. The offensive line is still a collection of rag-tag guys who are certainly not top talents, but they did a decent job run blocking, a great job pass blocking, and looked a hell of a lot better than a line from last year with so much more talent.....A
Played much better than the last two weeks. Taylor finally made an impact, getting a sack. Braaksma, Parker and Rubin also each played solidly. It was nice to see them not get totally manhandled by a bigger, better line, much less see them get into the backfield numerous times.......B+
Pretty much par for the course. Alvin Bowen gets lots of tackles. Jon Banks does a nice job. Jesse Smith was also a pest in the Hawkeye backfield. Not much to say here, other than they did their jobs......B
The secondary was MUCH improved over the last two games. Allen Bell continued to show improvement, while Chirs Singleton was hitting harder than I've ever seen, not to mention looking better than I've ever seen in both zone and man coverage. James Smith continues to improve at free safety, while Steve Johnson was upstaged after he got hurt by third-string strong safety Chris Brown who found his way into the Hawkeye backfield. Can't ask for much more than holding Christensen to 12-23 passing on the day.....A
We'll start with the other stuff. Brandtner had a decent game punting aside from one shank. Drenard Williams steadied us on punt returns, while RJ Sumrall is still dangerous. Bret Culbertson FINALLY hit his big kick. I had pretty much written him off after the UNI game, but he came out strong and carried us to victory. A great guy who deserves everything good that comes his way.....B+
What a strange game. We saw punts for five and fourteen yards. Iowa still hasn't allowed a touchdown all year. The Hawks damn near returned the final kickoff for a touchdown, and Iowa State's defense looked better than it has in years in the first half of the game.
I still think Iowa is more talented than we are...but whatever we did....it worked. The most important part of this game is what we do after it. The Toledo game sits on the horizon as an even bigger stepping stone for this season. Can we sieze momentum and get a win on the road, or will we rest on what we did? That'll be the duty of our coaching staff.
Let me leave you with this....