Miller: All Is Not Lost

After reading the HN.com message boards following Iowa's 38-17 loss to #1 Ohio State, there seems to be a certain sentiment that the sky is falling. I can understand where that is coming from, as Iowa has yet to play a crisp football game this season on the offensive side of the ball. That being said, I think there are some things to look at from the Ohio State that provide for some optimism.

After reading the HawkeyeNation.com message boards on Sunday following Iowa's 38-17 loss to top-ranked Ohio State, there seems to be a certain sentiment that the sky is falling.

I can understand where that is coming from, as Iowa has yet to play a crisp football game this season on the offensive side of the ball.

That being said, I think there are some things to look at from the Ohio State that provide for some optimism. Before going into those, I am not trying to look for sunshine to blow up the collective skirts of the Hawkeye Nation. I honestly still feel pretty good about this season, on the heels of a disappointing loss.

Yet, that loss came to Ohio State, the #1 ranked team in the nation, and they showed why they have that top billing.

Iowa was -4 in the turnover department, and lost by 21 points. The week before at Illinois, a team that went into East Lansing yesterday and beat Michigan State, the Illini were -4 in the turnover department, and Iowa beat them by 17.

Iowa's defense was on the field for more than 40 minutes against the Buckeyes, and allowed 400 yards. Breaking it down to average yards per play, the Buckeyes gained 5.3 yards per play compared to Iowa's 5.5 yards per play. The difference is that Ohio State executed when it had to and Iowa did not.

In their game at Texas earlier in the year, Ohio State averaged 6.3 yards per play and the Longhorns gained 5.2 yards per play. Ohio State was +2 in turnovers in that contest and won by 17 points.

Drew Tate did not have his best game against Ohio State. Some of his receivers dropped some passes, too many. Tate also threw the ball behind his receivers on some of those plays. Kirk Ferentz said after the game that Tate did not complete Tuesday's practice session because he aggravated his abdominal muscle again. Since August 18th, Tate probably has not had but seven or eight full-game week practices under his belt, and the rust has shown up on the field.

Iowa expanded its formations against Ohio State, and they averaged 4.3 yards per rush. The problem was that they got behind and had to throw it 41 times, running the ball just 20 times. Ohio State also averaged 4.3 yards per run, gaining most of those yards after bouncing to the outside once the middle was clogged.

Iowa's linebacker blitz packages looked good on Saturday. They were also going against the man who is the leader in the race for the Heisman trophy.

A loss always stings, especially with all the hype and anticipation surrounding the game against the Buckeyes.

But all is not lost, and this could still be a very, very good season for Iowa. Just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater; Ohio State is #1 for a reason.


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