The very first thing that jumped
out at me was I thought I remembered thinking was that
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
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
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
The five turnovers our defense
created was phenomenal but if you would have told me we would have held
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
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
The bottom line was we dominated almost every aspect of this game and the Cy-Hawk trophy is back home where it belongs.