FIGURE IT OUT
Hey Nate Stanley:
Listen, man, we need you. Whatever has been going on the past couple of weeks, you gotta get it figured out. If Iowa is going to have a shot in hell of going undefeated in Novem /RECORD SCRATCH
You: Wait, did you say undefeated in November?
Me: Yes, I did.
You: That’s not hard, right?
Me: Well, Kirk Ferentz has only gone undefeated in November three times during his entire tenure at Iowa: 2002, 2004, and 2015. In 2009 there was the Stanzi injury, 2010 was a total collapse, 2014 had losses to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska and who could forget last year when Iowa followed up their drubbing of Ohio State with a hapless performance at Wisconsin and an unbelievable home loss to Purdue?
You: Not good, Mike.
Me: Not good, you.
But, as I was saying, if Iowa is to have a shot in hell of going undefeated in November, Nate Stanley needs to play more like Johnny Utah and less like Uncle Rico. It has to be a team effort, though. His tackles need to make him comfortable and his wide-receivers/tight ends need to catch the ball. If Stanley can figure it out, we’ll be fine. If not, well, you saw how Iowa played against Purdue last year.
This is how Ohio State tried to tackle Rondale Moore:
Don’t be like Ohio State.
The freshman phenom wide-receiver who turns and burns lit up a talented Buckeye defense, catching 12 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed a couple of times for 24 yards. Now, as we all know, Ohio State is an ultra-talented team, but their coaches are shitty and their players are undisciplined. That’s some of the worst tackling I’ve ever seen and I watched some Tim Brewster Minnesota teams play football.
In Purdue’s loss to Michigan State last week, Moore was held to 11 receptions for 74 yards. That’s actually a lot of receptions but it was Moore’s lowest yards per reception average in conference play (6.7). How did they do it? Two reasons. We’ll talk about the second next. The first is that they were physical with Moore and didn’t let him get too much separation. Be it jamming him at the line or double covering him, the Spartans never let Moore get going. The best way to defend him is to never let him get going in the first place and considering he’s 5’9, 175 pounds, pressing him and being physical with him at the line is a good start.
David Blough is a capable Big Ten quarterback, illustrated by his 65% completion percentage and 13 touchdowns to 5 interceptions stat line. But, here’s something to look at: how does he preform under pressure? Against Illinois and Ohio State, Blough threw for a combined 755 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception. Against Michigan State, he completed only (ONLY) 59.2% of his passes, a season low, no touchdowns and three interceptions.
The difference? His comfort in the pocket. Illinois and Ohio State combined for six pass deflections and one whopping one hurry against Blough. He was sacked four times, sure, but when you run a spread offense sacks are going to happen.
Against Michigan State, Blough was hurried a stunning eight times and had nine passes deflected. That would explain the three interceptions and why Moore was never able to get going.
We know what Iowa’s defensive line is capable of and fortunately for the Hawkeyes, Blough is not the runner that Trace McSorely is. If they can get him under pressure, he’ll fold.
Remember: There’s Something to Play For
The Penn State loss sucked. The Wisconsin loss sucked. The Big Ten West should be Iowa’s to lose but it isn’t and you can point the finger at whoever you want. But at the end of the day, Iowa can still make it. If they can win out and Wisconsin loses again, the West is theirs. The 8-4 above average Iowa teams play well in November. The choking 7-5 teams don’t. The great Iowa teams simply don’t lose in November. Finish as a great Iowa team. Beat Purdue.