CFN Take: Iowa Loses To Huskers In OT

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 28, 2014


Iowa Hawkeyes 2014 Season ... Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz

Iowa Hawkeyes
2014 Schedule
2014 Record: 7-5

Aug. 30 Northern Iowa W 31-23
Sep. 6 Ball State W 17-13
Sep. 13 Iowa State L 20-17
Sep. 20 at Pitt W 24-20
Sep. 27 at Purdue W 24-10
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 Indiana W 45-29
Oct. 18 at Maryland L 38-31
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 1 Northwestern W 48-7
Nov. 8 at Minnesota L 51-14
Nov. 15 at Illinois W 30-14
Nov. 22 Wisconsin L 26-24
Nov. 29 Nebraska L 37-34 OT

Nov. 28 Nebraska 37, at Iowa 34 OT
And You Care Because … Nebraska tied it on a 20-yard field goal with eight seconds to play, Iowa took the lead in overtime on a 25-yard Marshall Koehn field goal, and the Huskers responded with a nine-yard Tommy Armstrong pass to Kenny Bell for the win. Down 24-7 late in the third, the Huskers roared back with Armstrong finding Bell on a 32-yard scoring pass and Taariq Allen for a 34-yard touchdown, but it was an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown from De’Mornay Pierson-El to take the lead in the fourth. Iowa took back the lead late on a five-yard Jordan Canzeri touchdown catch with 1:49 to play, but Nebraska marched back quickly to force the extra time.
What Else? Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah ran 13 times for 106 yards, and caught two passes for 13 yards and a score
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 19-of-38 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns with a pick
- Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong completed 12-of-27 passes for 202 yards and four scores with two picks, and ran 11 times for 31 yards
- Tim of possession: Iowa 37:36 – Nebraska 22:24
Game Rating: B+

Nov. 22 Wisconsin 26, at Iowa 24
And You Care Because … Melvin Gordon passed the 2,000-yard mark on an 88-yard dash, and Wisconsin set up a showdown with Minnesota for the Big Ten West title, but it was a fight. The Badgers had a 19-3 lead late in the third quarter helped by a 45-yard Tanner McEvoy run and a six-yard Gordon score, but Iowa got hot and rallied back with Jake Rudock finding Kevonte Martin-Manley for a 20-yard score and running for a three-yard touchdown to pull within two. A 23-yard Gordon run helped but Wisconsin back up by nine, but Rudock rallied the Hawkeyes back with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jake Duzey with just over five minutes to play. The Badgers, up two, were able to run out the clock.
What Else? Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon ran 31 times for 200 yards and two scores, and caught four passes for 64 yards
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 20-of-30 passes for 311 yards and two scores, and ran seven times for 25 yards and a score
- Wisconsin QB Joel Stave completed 11-of-24 passes for 139 yards
- Total yards: Iowa 412 – Wisconsin 405
Game Rating: B+

Nov. 15 Iowa 30, at Illinois 14
And You Care Because … Iowa scored first on a safety, but Illinois QB Wes Lunt made amends for the penalty that cost his team points with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Mike Dudek for a 7-3 lead. And then it was all Iowa as Jake Rudock found Ray Hamilton for touchdown passes from one and six yards out, and he ran for a six-yard score as part of a 28-point run. Illinois got a second 31-yard Dudek touchdown catch, but Iowa wasn’t threatened.
What Else? Iowa RB Mark Weisman ran 23 times for 134 yards
- Rushing yards: Iowa 304 – Illinois 88
- Time of possession: Iowa 35:46 – Illinois 24:14
- Illinois QB Wes Lunt completed 14-of-25 passes for 102 yards and a score
Game Rating: C-

Nov. 8 at Minnesota 51, Iowa 14
And You Care Because … Iowa got up 7-0 on a one-yard Mark Weisman touchdown run, and then it was the Maxx Williams show as the tight end caught three touchdown passes as part of a Minnesota run of 51 points. KJ Maye started out the scoring on a nine-yard run, and David Cobb rumbled for a six-yard score, but Williams was the star with touchdown catches from nine, four and three yards out. Mitch Leidner also found Donovahn Jones for a 44-yard touchdown. Iowa didn’t get back on the board until there were 14 seconds remaining on a 24-yard Andrew Stone catch.
What Else? Minnesota TE Maxx Williams caught five passes for 46 yards and three touchdowns
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 10-of-19 passes for 89 yards and a pick
- Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner completed 10-of-13 passes for 138 yards and four touchdowns, and ran 11 times for a team-high 77 yards
- Time of possession: Minnesota 36:42 – Iowa 23:18
Game Rating: D+

Nov. 1 at Iowa 48, Northwestern 7
And You Care Because … Iowa got out fast and didn’t stop, scoring 24 first quarter points helped by two Mark Weisman touchdown runs from eight and 14 yards out, and a blocked punt for a score from Ben Niemann. Northwestern got on the board in the second quarter on a one-yard Justin Jackson run, but that would be all the fun the offense would have all day as Iowa scored 24 unanswered points including Weisman’s third TD run of the day and a 31-yard Tevaun Smith touchdown catch.
What Else? Total yards: Iowa 483 – Northwestern 180
- Iowa RB Akrum Wadley ran 15 times for 106 yards and a score, and Mark Weisman ran 20 times for 94 yards and three touchdowns
- Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian completed 8-of-18 passes for 68 yards, and Zack Oliver completed 1-of-6 passes
- Iowa quarterbacks combined to completed 17-of-25 passes for 262 yards and a score
Game Rating: D+

Oct. 18 at Maryland 38, Iowa 31
And You Care Because … Maryland got a 53-yard Stefon Diggs touchdown catch and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by William Likely on the way to a 38-21 lead before hanging on late. Iowa scored ten unanswered points with Jake Rudock’s second touchdown pass of the game and a 24-yard Marshall Koehn field goal, but the Terps were able to close out. Wes Brown ran for two one-yard scores for the Terps, and Mark Weisman ran for two short touchdowns for the Hawkeyes.
What Else? Already without QB Caleb Rowe, who tore his ACL this week, Maryland lost QB C.J. Brown for a while with a back injury, but he came back and completed 12-of-23 passes for 120 yards and two interception, and led the team with 99 yards on 21 carries
- Turnovers: Iowa 3 – Maryland 2
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 32-of-56 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns with an interception
- Maryland WR Stefon Diggs caught nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, and ran two times for 12 yards
Game Rating: B

Oct. 11 at Iowa 45, Indiana 29
And You Care Because … Iowa exploded with 21 points in the first quarter on two Jake Rudock touchdown passes, including a 72-yarder to Damond Powell, and the D got into the act with a 35-yard pick six. But Indiana fought back with Tevin Coleman tearing off touchdown runs from 83 and 45 yards out to pull within seven. But Iowa rallied with a run of its own scoring 17 straight points helped by two one-yard Mark Weisman runs, but Coleman was at it again with a 69-yard scoring dash – the Hoosiers wouldn’t get any closer than 16.
What Else? Indiana RB Tevin Coleman ran 15 times for 219 yards and three touchdowns
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 19-of-27 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns
- Iowa’s running game? It worked, with 207 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries
- Indiana penalties, 9 for 110 yards with three turnovers. Iowa penalties, 4 for 30 yards with no turnovers
Game Rating: B

Sept. 27 Iowa 24, at Purdue 10
And You Care Because … Purdue took a 10-0 lead on a pick six from Frankie Williams and a 42-yard Paul Griggs field goal, and then it was all Iowa the rest of the way scoring 24 unanswered points with Mark Weisman running for scores from two and five yards out and Kevonte Martin-Manley taking a C.J. Beathard pass 23 yards for a score. Purdue’s offense sputtered and coughed the entire second half, finishing with just 156 yards on the day.
What Else? Iowa RB Mark Weisman ran 24 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns
- Purdue RB Akeem Hunt ran 14 times for 90 yards, and he caught five passes for 27 yards
- Purdue QB Danny Etling completed 11-of-26 passes for 61 yards with a pick, and Austin Appleby completed 2-of-6 passes for 11 yards with an interception
- First downs: Iowa 22 – Purdue 9
Game Rating: C+

Sept. 20 Iowa 24, at Pittsburgh 20
And You Care Because … Iowa rallied from an early deficit, and got a game-sealing pick from S Anthony Gair in the waning seconds, to upset Pitt at Heinz Field. The Hawkeyes got sparks on offense from backup QB C.J. Beathard and veteran RB Mark Weisman, whose 1-yard touchdown plunge with 6:56 left in the fourth quarter gave Iowa its first and only lead of the game.
What Else? Beathard was good enough to create a quarterback controversy in Iowa City. He took over for starter Jake Rudock and promptly led the Hawkeyes to three second-half scoring drives, going 7-of-8 for 98 yards.
- Pitt RB James Conner continued to pile up huge numbers, through the Hawkeyes slowed him down in the crucial second half. Conner’s 155 yards and one score on 29 carries don’t accurately reflect the second-half adjustments made by the Iowa staff.
- Former Hawkeye WR Greg Mabin had a huge day in the secondary. The corner made some huge stops in the second half, finishing the game with three pass breakups. He has a future on the All-Big Ten team.
- Pitt outgained Iowa, 435-311, yet still lost at home. The offense went cold when it needed conversions, going the final 36 minutes without getting into the end zone.
Game Rating: B+

Sept. 13 Iowa State 20, at Iowa 17
And You Care Because … With the game tied at 17, Iowa State’s Cole Netten missed a 42-yard field goal with two seconds to play. One problem – Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz called a time out. Netten got a second chance, nailed the kick, and the Cyclones came away with the win. Iowa had a 14-3 lead in the first half on short touchdown runs from Mark Weisman and Jake Rudock, but the Hawkeye offense stalled in the second half. It took a 44-yard Marshall Koehn field goal to tie it up after Iowa State took the lead on a one-yard E.J. Bibbs run and a 27-yard DeVondrick Nealy scoring grab.
What Else? Iowa State QB Sam Richardson completed 25-of-37 passes for 255 yards and two scores, and he ran eight times for 29 yards.
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock completed 16-of-24 passes for 146 yards and a pick, he also ran 12 times for 39 yards and a touchdown.
- Iowa State ran for just 82 yards on 26 carries. Aaron Wimberly led the team with 33 yards on 11 carries.
- Iowa was held to 129 rushing yards and under three yards per carry, but scored twice.
Game Rating: B

Sept. 6 at Iowa 17, Ball State 13
And You Care Because … Iowa overcame a 13-3 fourth quarter deficit with a 12-yard Derrick Willies touchdown catch with less than three minutes to play, and with a 12-yard Jake Duzey scoring grab in the final minute to avoid disaster. Ball State struggled to move the ball, but took a fumble 35-yard for a touchdown in the second quarter and got two Scott Secor field goals in the third.
What Else? Iowa QB Jake Rudock threw for a career-high 322 yards and two scores, completing 33-of-52 passes. The problem, though, was that he led the team with 36 rushing yards.
- Iowa dominated the game everywhere but on the scoreboard – at least until late. The running game continues to be a massive issue that has to be fixed in a hurry.
- Ball State couldn’t get the O going. Jahwan Edwards ran 21 times for 81 yards, and Ozzie Mann completed 15-of-30 passes for 129 yards.
- Drew Ott came up with 13 tackles, a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss with a forced fumble for the Hawkeyes.
Game Rating: B

Aug. 30 at Iowa 31, Northern Iowa 23
And You Care Because … Iowa got all it could handle despite being ahead from the late second quarter on. Jake Rudock threw two touchdown passes in the second half with a 12-yarder to Damond Powell with under seven minutes to play to finally get a little bit of breathing room. UNI struggled with mistakes, but stayed in the game with three Michael Schmadeke fild goals and two Sawyer Kollmorgen touchdown passes including a 70-yarder to David Johnson.
What Else? Don’t just assume that Iowa struggled against an FCS team – which it did. UNI is decent, and things occasionally get quirky-weird when the program plays Iowa and Iowa State.
- So how were the reviews for the revamped and brand new Iowa linebacking corps? UNI was held to 25 yards on 25 carries with no gain longer than nine yards, but that was because of the D line. Louis Trinca-Pasat was dominant with ten tackles with two sacks and four tackles for loss.
- Iowa helped in a big way by UNI mistakes. The Panthers committed 16 penalties for 128 yards and didn’t generate a pass rush.
- The offense will have to be sharper for Ball State in what might be a shootout – the secondary gave up 380 yards and two scores and will be under far more pressure.
Game Rating: B

2014 Preview 

The common theme with the new Big Ten realignment is that the East is the far tougher of the two divisions – with Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan as the anchors – and with Wisconsin and Nebraska the only two powers in the West.

Iowa might be able to change that this year.

Northwestern will be better, and Minnesota will be solid, but Iowa might be that lurking team that could keep hanging around, hanging around, hanging around, and then boom … it’s November and there’s talk of College Gameday going to Iowa City for the matchup of the 10-0 Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin.

No, Iowa isn’t one of the ten or 15 best teams in America, but it might start to look like it as the season wears on thanks to an absolutely magical schedule with no Ohio State, no Michigan State, no Michigan, and with Wisconsin and Nebraska coming to Kinnick. When your toughest road trips are Pitt and Minnesota – which is almost like an Iowa home game – you have to take advantage.

The 4-8 clunker of two years ago seems like a distant memory after the strides made last season. The loss to Northern Illinois at home to kick things off wasn’t a plus – it’s still just a MAC team – but the other losses came to Michigan State, at Ohio State, Wisconsin, and in the bowl game against LSU. That’s not that bad, and other than the loss to the Badgers, the Hawkeyes battled well in defeat. Throw in the nice run at the end of the year with the overtime win over Northwestern, the dominant victory over Nebraska, and the win over Michigan thrown into the mix, and all of a sudden, this is a good-looking team coming into the year on a roll.

But can Iowa play, or will this be a case of good team/great schedule? Yeah, put Iowa in the SEC West and the results wouldn’t be pretty, but this year, in the Big Ten East, Kirk Ferentz has the type of team that could end up in Indianapolis for a 13th game.

The passing game that was non-existent at times in the 2012 disaster started to ramp things up last season, and now QB Jake Rudock knows what he’s doing and the receiving corps that was such a big, dull dud two years ago now looks like a strength.

The running backs are hardly scary, but Mark Weisman is a good veteran working behind a terrific line anchored by likely all-stars Brandon Scherff at tackle, center Austin Blythe and guard Jordan Walsh.

The defense loses all three fantastic linebackers, but the line should be a rock at times and the secondary has upside. The linebackers should figure it out quickly, and by the time they really need to know what they’re doing, they should be ready for late November against Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Can this be another version of the 2009, Orange Bowl-winning team? Ferentz has made big things happen before when no one was expecting it, and this year, with this slate, watch out.

What to watch for on offense: Expect the emergence of a better passing game. It’s not like Jake Rudock was bad, and he certainly provided more downfield pop for an offense that needed it, but the Hawkeye offense was still 83rd in the nation in passing efficiency and threw for a mere 197 yards per game. Defensive coordinators slept well at night with no worries about the Iowa receiving corps, but that should change a bit with Rudock in his second year at the starting helm and with more receiver depth than the program has had for a while. Again, things were better than 2012, but Kevonte Martin-Manley and Tevaun Smith weren’t big play performers on a regular basis. There’s some firepower to work with in Damond Powell and Jacob Hillyer, and unlike past seasons, now there are more options. Rudock should be in for a big year and could come close to the 3,000-yard mark.

What to watch for on defense: Uhhhhh, linebacker? It’s not just about losing veteran tacklers and playmakers from a defense that finished sixth in the nation and 19th against the run; it’s about losing heart-and-soul types in Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey. The three grew into the jobs together, and last season they were the team’s three top tacklers, combining for 223 stops with 12.5 sacks and 36.5 tackles for loss with six picks – with most of the big plays coming from Morris. The Hawkeyes aren’t starting from scratch, but they need a big emergence and push coming from senior Quinton Alston in the middle and Reggie Spearman and Travis Perry on the outside. There’s good size, and the numbers will be there because of the position, but they need to prove they can control games like the previous trio could.

The team will be far better if… come away with points on every drive. Even with the easy schedule there should be plenty of close calls, and the scoring efficiency has to be there against the bigger and better teams late. Last year, PK Mike Meyer hit 16-of-22 field goals including lots and lots of short ones, but he also missed a few makeable kicks, too, including a 35-yarder against LSU and a key 36-yarder against Michigan. He’s gone, and Marshall Koehn has to be automatic inside the 40. Last year, Iowa came away with points just 76% of the time in the red zone, coming away empty twice against LSU. By comparison, the 2010 Iowa team scored 88% of the time when inside the 20 with 31 touchdowns, and the 2009 Orange Bowl team scored 84% of the time.

The Schedule: There's no real excuse not to have a great season. The non-conference schedule is manageable with the two tough games coming at Pitt and in the always-rough rivalry date against Iowa State, but Northern Iowa and Ball State – as much as they might be able to battle – need to be easy wins. Starting out the Big Ten campaign at Purdue couldn't be much easier going into an off-week.

Playing Indiana and Maryland from the East is about as nice as it gets, especially with a week off to follow and Northwestern, at Minnesota and at Illinois coming up next. It won't happen, but with this schedule, 10-0 isn't a crazy thought before hosting Wisconsin for the second year in a row and closing out against Nebraska.

Best offensive player: Senior OT Brandon Scherff. Florida State’s Cameron Erving and Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi are among the top three offensive tackle prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft. Scherff is the third one in the mix with the prototype size for a left tackle. It was a bit of a shocker that he didn’t leave early – he was projected to be a late first/early second rounder, at absolute worst – but this year he’ll be the anchor of a terrific line that did a nice job in pass protection and pounded away for a decent ground attack. An almost certain All-American, watch as the draft process starts to put him in as a sure-fire top 15 selection.

Best defensive player: Senior DT Carl Davis. Corner Desmond King is the rising star, safety John Lowdermilk appears ready for a big senior season, and the new linebackers will put up big numbers, but it’ll be the tackle tandem of Louis Trinca-Pasat and Davis that’ll anchor the defense that should finish in the top ten nationally again. These two made life easier for last year’s linebacking corps, and this year they’ll be a brick wall against the run. Davis is the bigger and better of the two, but they’re both terrific and both will end up with All-Big Ten honors.

Key player to a successful season: Senior LB Quinton Alston. All James Morris did last year was finish second on the team with 107 tackles with a team-leading eight sacks, 18 tackles for loss and four picks. The other two linebacker spots will be tough to fill with Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens gone, but it’s Morris who’s the most irreplaceable. Alston has to try. The 6-1, 232-pounder has the size to go along with the quickness and the skills, but now he has to produce in the middle and be the leader of the new corps.

The season will be a success if ... the Hawkeyes win the Big Ten West. They’ll never get a schedule this favorable again, and with all the key teams coming to Iowa City, and with eight starters back on offense, and with a good enough defense to finish in the top ten nationally, it’s okay to think about the division title. Anything less, considering the record should be amazing by late November, will fall flat.

Key game: Nov. 22 vs. Wisconsin. Last season, the Hawkeyes battled well in losses to elite Michigan State and Ohio State teams, and there was still time to crank out a great record and make some Big Ten noise, but Wisconsin came to town and ended all of that, holding the Hawkeyes to just 289 yards of total offense and with the passing game getting stuffed in the 28-9 loss that wasn’t quite as close as the blowout final score would indicate. This year, there’s a very, very good chance the Hawkeyes are favored in each of the first ten games before the big, bad Badgers roll into town. Beat them, and the Friday game against Nebraska six days later will probably be for huge things.

2013 Fun Stats:
- First Half Scoring: Iowa 181 – Opponents 92
- Fourth Down Conversions: Opponents 12-of-21 (57%) – Iowa 5-of-17 (29%)
- Sacks: Iowa 24 for 129 yards – Opponents 15 for 61 yards

- 2014 Iowa Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players


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