2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - ULM at Iowa
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Sept. 24 at Iowa 45 ... ULM 17
CFN Analysis: The Hawkeyes liked the way the no-huddle worked late against Pitt, so they kept it rolling against ULM and it worked to near perfection. James Vandenberg stayed hot from last week completing 21-of-32 passes for 270 yards with three touchdown passes as Iowa was never threatened. Marcus Coker and the running game also had few problems with several big dashes. Going into the game, ULM was great against the run keeping both Florida State and TCU in check, but Iowa didn't have any issues. The offense perked up just in time with two weeks to work and tweak on the no-huddle before going to Penn State.
ULM needed to have an offense, and the lack of any firepower proved costly. Kolton Browning wasn't awful, and he ran a little bit, but Cody Wells was shaper completing 13-of-17 throws for 162 yards. The Warhawks had their chances, but they couldn't make enough of a push late in the third after Tavarese Maye ran for a score to cut it to 35-17. ULM might by 1-3, but it's a decent 1-3. Now it gets to play someone its own size at home with the Sun Belt opener against Arkansas State up in two weeks.
(AP) IOWA CITY, Iowa -- James Vandenberg threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns and Iowa cruised past Louisiana-Monroe 45-17 on Saturday.
Marcus Coker added 113 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns for the Hawkeyes (3-1), who raced out to a 28-3 halftime lead on the strength of a revitalized passing attack in their final tuneup before the start of Big Ten play.
Vandenberg threw for 198 yards in the opening half. His 1-yard TD plunge opened the scoring, and Vandenberg found Marvin McNutt for TD pass of 13 and 17 yards to put the Hawkeyes up by 25 late in the second quarter.
Cody Wells had 162 yards passing for ULM (1-3), which gained 352 yards of offense but had no answer for Iowa's suddenly potent passing game.
Louisiana-Monroe started the second half playing like the team some thought could give the Hawkeyes serious trouble.
By then, it hardly mattered.
The Warhawks finally found the end zone with 9:35 left in the third quarter, capping an impressive drive on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kolton Browning. Iowa simply drove right back down the field, jumping back ahead 35-10 on Coker's 2-yard run.
ULM answered with a 1-yard TD run by Tavarese Maye. But a failed onside kick set the table for Vandenberg's 23-yard TD pass to Keenan Davis with 39 seconds left in the third quarter that gave the Hawkeyes a 42-17 lead.
Wells and Browning combined for 293 yards through the air, but neither threw a TD pass. ULM couldn't do much on the ground either, rushing for just 59 yards on 30 attempts.
Iowa used a hurry-up offense to erase a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter and stun Pitt 31-27 last week in the largest comeback in school history.
The traditionally conservative Hawkeyes went right back to a no-huddle look on Saturday.
It paid off with by far their best start of the season.
Vandenberg capped a 74-yard opening drive with a 1-yard plunge to put Iowa up 7-0 less than four minutes in.
ULM answered with Justin Manton's 43-yard field goal. But the Hawkeyes drove right back down the field, pushing their lead to 14-3 with 1:39 left in the first on a textbook fade pass from Vandenberg to McNutt from 13 yards out.
Micah Hyde took a Warhawks punt back to the ULM 29-yard line, and six plays later Coker ran for a 4-yard TD that put the Hawkeyes up 21-3.
Vandenberg and McNutt hooked up for a touchdown the fourth time this season with 2:07 left in the first half.
The 6-foot-4 McNutt sealed himself between the cornerback and the sideline and plucked his 17-yard TD grab out of the air, giving Iowa a 28-3 lead.
McNutt caught seven passes for 100 yards, reaching the 100-yard mark for the second game in a row.
Iowa players wore a green decal on their helmets, and many Iowa fans wore green shirts in honor of former Hawkeyes safety Brett Greenwood, who remains hospitalized after collapsing following a workout earlier this month. Greenwood started at safety from 2007-10 and was cut late in training camp by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Greenwood's parents released a statement this week, saying he continues to make improvements.
Iowa will get next week off before opening play at Penn State on Oct. 8. The Hawkeyes will be in good shape in Happy Valley if Vandenberg keeps throwing the ball like he has lately.
Vandenberg has tossed for 669 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games.
ULM (1-2) at Iowa (2-1) Sept. 24, 12:00, BTN
Here's The Deal … Is Iowa merely being Iowa and struggling early but about to explode and find its way to a great record as the season goes on, or is the team that bad?
It took the greatest comeback in Iowa history to come back against Pitt in a 31-27 win, and that's coming off an overtime loss to Iowa State. With a trip to Penn State coming up next – and a winnable game at that – and with Northwestern, Indiana, and Minnesota to follow, there's a chance to go on a great run before hosting Michigan. But first, putting away ULM with ease is a must.
Don't scoff; the Warhawks aren't that bad.
Under second-year head coach Todd Berry, who's known as an offensive coach, the defense has been great in a tougher-than-it-looks 34-0 loss to Florida State to open up the season and with an also better-looking-than-the-score 38-17 loss at TCU. This is an aggressive team that's just good enough to catch Iowa if it's napping, and at the very least, it should provide a decent game for a Hawkeye team needing to find some semblance of consistency.
Why ULM Might Win: Through three games the pass rush has been among the best in the country, and the defensive front has been great at manufacturing ways to get into the backfield.
Getting six sacks and ten tackles for loss against Grambling is nice, but the Warhawks also got behind the line on a regular basis against Florida State and TCU. The run defense had problems once the Horned Frogs got into a lather, but it held the Seminoles to just 92 yards on 28 carries. Iowa's offensive line has been okay, but it hasn't been able to get Marcus Coker and the running game going enough to balance out the offense. The defense hasn't been strong enough to keep the Iowa passing game from having to pick up the slack in shootouts, and if ULM can put up a few points early and can take away Coker, Iowa might abandon the run for stretches.
Why Iowa Might Win: ULM doesn't have enough of an offense to keep up if Iowa scores early.
The major positive coming out of the last two flaky weeks was the ability to bomb away when needed. This Iowa team has firepower, and when QB James Vandenberg is allowed to fire away and wing it around the year, the production is there. ULM can't do that. The passing attack is wildly inefficient without the receiving weapons to match up with the stronger teams, and the O line isn't strong enough to provide a running game that can establish the tempo.
Everything has to work perfectly for ULM to have a chance, but Iowa hasn't been screwing up with just three turnovers so far to offset the eight takeaways. The eight penalties against Pitt were a few too many, but the team has only committed 17 on the year.
What To Watch Out For: Last week, Vandenberg became an Iowa legend. He already showed early in his career that he had what it took for the big moment, with a valiant performance in a 2009 loss to Ohio State, but last week he was phenomenal finishing with 399 yards and three touchdowns with a rushing score as he rallied the Hawkeyes back from a 24-3 second half deficit with three touchdown passes in the final ten minutes. That might have been the moment when the season, and the career takes a major turn forward, and he has to show that it wasn't a fluke this week.
Trying to keep the Iowa passing game under wraps is Darius Prelow, one of the best defensive backs the Hawkeyes will see this year. In the first three games he has two picks with 18 tackles, making nine stops last week against TCU. The senior is a 6-0, 204-pounder who serves as sort of a Hawk/third safety and has the experience and toughness to be the leader to work around, playing all over the field serving a variety of roles. A great hitter with a nose for the ball, he's a great tackler with terrific range.
What Will Happen: Iowa will be choppy again and won't get the running game rolling until the second half, but the defense will keep ULM's middling offense under wraps just enough to make this an easy win without any sweat. Vandenberg won't bomb away, but he'll follow up last week with a sharp effort.
CFN Prediction: Iowa 38 … ULM 13
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Iowa -17 O/U: 50.5
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