Run Game Was Extraordinary
As expected, Iowa's run game was one of the strong points. Akrum Wadley and Leshun Daniels combined for 22 carries that totaled over 200 yards. The duo also found the end zone a combined four times; three in the first quarter. They showed that they are going to be more than capable as a dynamic duo to carry Iowa's run game, assuming they both stay healthy.
Derrick Mitchell also carried the ball two times for 12 yards and found the end zone as well. True Freshman, Toks Akinribade appears to be fourth on the depth chart behind the three previously mentioned backs. Akinribade carried the ball a couple of times for six total yards.
I had originally thought that Marcel Joly would be the fourth back used, but Akinribade appears to be the guy for Kirk Ferentz and his staff.
I don't think I can remember a year that so many true freshmen saw action. The highlight was QB Nathan Stanley coming in for C.J. Beathard in the middle of the fourth quarter. We discussed that in garbage time we'd probably see Tyler Wiegers before Stanley, but that was not the case. This would suggest that Stanley will remain the backup to Beathard for the remainder of the season and entering 2017.
Akinribade was another one that saw action that I did not think would. Ferentz had mentioned that Toks would most likely play, but I figured special teams would be where we would see him.
Eight other true freshmen played on the afternoon, including Iowa's kicker, Keith Duncan, who was impressive in his first collegiate game. He drilled six extra points and nailed a 22 yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. Devonte Young, Noah Fant, Cedrick Lattimore, Kristian Welch, Amani Hooker, Amani Jones, and Manny Rugamba were the others that saw action in the contest.
It appears that Ferentz is shifting away from the norm. He's trusting the talented kids he brought in in the 2016 class. It's not about who has seniority anymore, if you have the talent, you're going to see the field.
Pass Rush Impressed
One of the main things I was going to be keeping my eye on was the pass rush. And I have to say, I came away more impressed than I thought I would. Anthony Nelson was the highlight of the day, recording 3.5 sacks in his debut. He consistently got around the edge and was putting pressure on Billy Bahl.
Parker Hesse and Matt Nelson I thought were both solid, but not great. I didn't see much pressure from the two defensive tackles, but I thought they did a good job slowing anything that came in between the tackles.
The one thing that worries me, and Derek hinted at this in his takeaways, is the fact that Anthony Nelson was really the only one actually getting pressure on the QB. If teams get their hands on that game film, I'm sure Anthony will be seeing more double teams as they'll want someone else to beat them aside from him. Hesse and Matt Nelson will need to step up because if you can pair one of those guys with the talent that Anthony is bringing to the table, Iowa could have a decent edge rush in 2016.
Greg Mabin Will Be Busy
I can't remember off the top of my head whether or not the Redhawks threw Desmond King's way yesterday. If they didn't, well I can't say I blame them. But they did throw Greg Mabin's way quite a bit and I thought he was fairly underwhelming. It seemed the Redhawks were going to just keep going to James Gardner and challenging Mabin, which they did. Garnder caught six passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
It could have had something to do with the fact that Gardner is 6'4" 215 pounds, but Iowa State's Allen Lazard is even bigger, and Mabin may wind up drawing him quite a bit.
One thing Mabin needs to do better is get his head around and see the ball. It seemed like Miami (OH) just kept going to the back shoulder fade, and why wouldn't you; it was working every time.
Linebacker Behind Josey
Josey Jewell exited in the first quarter after that targeting penalty on special teams, which made way for Jack Hockaday. Hockaday I thought filled in nicely for Jewell. He was consistently in on tackles, but one thing Iowa couldn't replace was Josey's leadership. I thought Bo Bower got caught out of position quite a bit, but I had high expectations for him coming into this one, so it might've been hard for him to live up to them.
As well as they played without Jewell, that isn't going to cut it when we get into the conference slate. They have depth, but he's just too good to replace at this point in time.
There were points during the game that I didn't know if Beathard was still even in the game. He did his damage quietly and he did it inside the pocket, which was something that was kind of stressed in fall camp, keeping him healthy. He finished 13-20 for 195 yards and a lone touchdown pass to Jerminic Smith.
He was efficient on third down, he didn't turn the ball over, and Iowa was only penalized three times for 35 yards. He isn't flashy and he isn't going to fill up a box score like Ohio State's J.T. Barrett will, but he wins ball games and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.