Upon Further Review

Some of you may have taped this game and already broke down the film but for those of you who haven't here are some of my thoughts after watching the tape a few times.

The very first thing that jumped out at me was I thought I remembered thinking was that Iowa had some false starts that weren't called in the first quarter.  Sure enough after looking at film that was clearly the case.  The other missed calls that I thought were obvious were the lack of an interference call on a third down and the officials missed a spot by two yards on a Jon Davis catch.


The offensive line was probably the most improved area of our team on Saturday.  Last week I saw our line let defenders run by them numerous times in addition to just playing with what appeared to be a lack of emotion.  Against Iowa however, the offensive line did a great job of staying on their block and Scott Stephenson in particular seemed to be playing with a nasty attitude.  There were a few times that I noticed Stephenson letting Iowa defenders know he going to be a force to reckon with.  It reminded me of watching the Jason Fiacco tape at times.


Stevie Hicks also looked like a different player this week.  Part of that may have been more holes to run through this week due to the offensive line but Hicks seemed to be running with more purpose this week.  Hicks was punishing defenders at the end of runs and he especially seemed to be running with an attitude in the fourth quarter.  We all know Hicks doesn't have breakaway speed like other backs across the nation but you can count on him to take care of the ball and eat up clock, which was exactly what we needed on Saturday.


Neither Bret Meyer or our receivers put up flashy numbers but when you run the ball as much as we did in the second half it tends to make it hard to put up big numbers.  The great thing was Meyer and our receiving corps took control in the first quarter moving the ball down the field and opening up the running game for Hicks.  The only real mistake of the day was the tipped ball, which lead to an interception but other than that Meyer made good decisions with the ball.  There was no need to force anything after we had the lead and Tate was out of the game.


The defense just put on a show Saturday.  Some Hawkeye fans have pointed out the 214 yards they rushed for against our defense but those numbers are a little bit deceiving in my opinion.  Albert Young had 5 of his 18 carries go for 107 yards, which was an average of 21.4 yards per carry.  However, on his other 13 carries he only gained 33 yards for an average of 2.5 yards per carry.  I call this the Barry Sanders scenario.  Young had a few extra base hits but in reality those runs did nothing but change field position.  His other shorter runs actually lead to some third and long situations, which obviously killed the Hawks.


The pass defense was superb.  Our defense was in Tate and Manson's faces all day long.  That pressure was key because Tate and Manson both tried to force some throws which lead to our interceptions.  The other encouraging thing was that we didn't have to bring the house every time to get pressure on Iowa.  Even though Berryman didn't register a tackle all day he put pressure on Tate and Manson constantly and hit them numerous times just as they were letting go of the ball.


The secondary also did a great job.  There were no long bombs given up which certainly needed to be corrected after last weekend.  The other thing I loved was when one of our defenders had an Iowa player wrapped up our other players were trying to strip the ball away.  An obvious example of this was when Moser stripped the ball away from Chandler in the fourth quarter stopping an Iowa drive.


The five turnovers our defense created was phenomenal but if you would have told me we would have held Iowa out of the red zone all day long I wouldn't have believed you for a second.  This makes the second week in a row that our defense held their opponent out of the red zone.


Some defenders that haven't been mentioned that I thought had great games were Matt Robertson, Nik Moser and Tim Dobbins.  Robertson didn't have any flashy plays but he just plain got the job done.  Moser had a solid day like he always does but it was Dobbins that stood out when watching film.  The two plays that stood out were Dobbins sack of Tate when he threw Tate to the ground like a rag doll.  The other play, which was my favorite, was his textbook tackle of Manson.  Manson had just gotten rid of the ball when Dobbins hit him full speed right in the chest and drove him into the ground.  The announcers just about wet themselves talking about that one.


Special teams had two plays that really stood out to me.  The first one was Yelk's kick off into the wind that drove the Iowa player all the way into the corner of the end zone allowing our coverage unit to make the stop around the 15-yard line.  The second and most obvious play was Troy Blankenship's 68-yard punt that looked like it had been shot out of a cannon.  That punt in addition to an Iowa penalty drastically changed the field position battle while we were going into the wind, which was a huge benefit.  I would be negligent not to mention Blankenship also had a punt that pinned Iowa inside their own five-yard line earlier in the game.


The most encouraging thing I saw while watching the film though was the ability of our offensive line and Stevie Hicks to move the ball down the field in the third and fourth quarters while eating up huge chunks of the clock keeping Iowa's offense off the field.  Greg Coleman also did a nice job of moving the ball while also giving Hicks some much-needed rest.  If our offensive line can play with that kind of attitude and tenacity the rest of the year I really like our chances in every game this year.


The bottom line was we dominated almost every aspect of this game and the Cy-Hawk trophy is back home where it belongs.

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