Hawks Blank Orange 35-0

The Iowa Hawkeyes were sharp on Saturday, taking what the Syracuse defense forced them to take, as Iowa exploited the Orange through the air while the defense pitched a shutout in a 35-0 whitewashing of Syracuse...

The old coaching adage goes something like this; teams make their biggest improvements of the year from week one to week two.

Here is an addendum to that; the above is certainly true when you play a team like Syracuse.

That's not to take anything away the way Iowa executed tonight, because the Hawks came to play on both sides of the football. The 103 total yards gained by Syracuse is a new low for a Kirk Ferentz coached team. Syracuse had one total yard in the first half. One. They had 56 yards through three quarters.

On offense, Syracuse clearly came into this game with the mindset that Albert Young and Damien Sims were not going to beat them. They routinely stacked the box with eight and sometimes nine players. They were blitzing multiple linebackers more often than not in the first half.

And Jake Christensen and the Iowa receivers made them pay, most notably Tony Moeaki, who had 8 grabs for 112 yards. Finally, some evidence to point to with regards to what I have been saying about Moeaki for two years now. The kid can flat run with the football, he is a load to bring down, and he does have good hands. He's had too many drops during his career, but I don't think he had any against Syracuse.

Jake was quite poised in the pocket, and made excellent decisions all evening long. He was 23 of 32 (71.8%) for 278 yards and four touchdown passes. His one interception came off of the hands of James Cleveland, and Ed Podolak was certain that Cleveland just didn't see that ball until the last second.

Jake surprised some Iowa fans with his feet on this night, though I don't know that anyone should be too shocked. He showed those abilities at the high school level, and has always been a very good thrower on the run. He also showed a little bit of that ‘escapability' factor that Iowa fans have enjoyed with Drew Tate under center.

Jake is also strong enough to get away from arm tackles, be they high or low, and he broke two such tackles on his second scoring strike to Tony Moeaki in the first half, throwing back across the field to a wide open Moeaki after eluding two would be arm tackles.

He made excellent ‘hot reads' in the face of some significant Syracuse pressure. Three of his incompletions were balls that he threw away to avoid a sack. When he was sacked, he held onto the football and didn't compound matters.

Though he was still excited early in this game, and had a lot of mustard on some balls, he settled down quite nicely.

His receivers also caught the ball. Andy Brodell dropped the first past that came his way, but that was it for him. He finished with seven catches for 54 yards, and he also had a great game returning punts. He averaged 20 yards per return on four attempts.

Colin Sandeman caught his first pass of his career; #22 caught a 22-yard pass. He also had a very nice 31 yard punt return in the fourth quarter.

I believe that seven more true freshmen played on this night, including Dezman Moses, Jacody Coleman, Christian Ballard, Cedric Everson, Cody Hundertmark. Ballard was a beast against Syracuse's first team, and was simply just as disruptive as some of his starters.

Bryan Mattison had three sacks on the night, as the Iowa defensive line was living in the Syracuse backfield. Iowa also had two sacks from defensive backs; a corner blitz early on with Adam Shada and a safety blitz late with Devan Moylan.

Heck, DJK even had two receptions on this night.

Iowa limited its penalties this week, with just two through the three quarters that the starters played, but yet again, on the first play of the game, a DJK kickoff return.

Iowa blocked two field goals tonight; how many missed and or blocked field goals have we seen in Kinnick Stadium over the course of the last six seasons? I wonder if there is another team in the nation that has enjoyed such numbers at home.

All in all, this was a great second game of the season. The defense pitched a shutout, the starters played just three quarters, the offense got 78 plays in and the defense held Syracuse to just 50 plays. Syracuse didn't record a first down until midway through the third quarter.

Up next, the annual Cy-Hawk battle against an Iowa State team that will be like a wounded dog backed into a corner with their hair on fire with nothing to lose…sorry, I couldn't think of any more cliché's.

ISU is 0-2, losing both games at home. The latest, a 24-13 loss to D1-AA UNI, is incredibly hard for their fan base to swallow, especially on a night where they set a school record for attendance.

UNI ran for nearly 150 yards, and QB Eric Sanders was 23 of 29 in the game. UNI forced four turnovers, and committed none of their own. ISU missed another field goal, an extra point, fumbled a punt return, and Austin Arnaud came in and played a series in the third quarter.

Am I still worried about Iowa State next week? You had better believe it. Will this be Iowa State's season, something Iowa State fans have been saying is no longer the case?

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