You deserve a better recap than the one you're going to get. You also deserve a better football game than the one you just watched. Iowa fans deserve better than that. The Iowa players damn sure deserve better than that. The Iowa defensive and special teams coaches for sure deserve better than that.
If anyone wants to blame them for this outcome -- because Iowa's defense gave up a 21-play, 99-yard drive that ended up being Iowa State's game-winning score or because Iowa's field goal unit missed a 48-yard field goal attempt to tie the game at the end of regulation -- then fuck you. They were not perfect today, but if your standard is perfection, you're forever going to be disappointed. Unfortunately Iowa's historically inept offense continues to put the defense and special teams in positions where they actually need to be perfect in order for Iowa to win a game.
The reality is that Iowa's defense and special teams again and again put Iowa in a position to win this game -- the defense forced three turnovers and the special teams unit blocked two punts. The offense refused those generous gifts. Iowa started two drives in the Iowa State red zone... and got seven points (one touchdown) out of that absurdly good starting position. Another drive started at midfield after an interception by Terry Roberts. Roberts was the most despondent and dejected player you've ever seen after successfully hauling in an interception, mainly because he had a wide open track ahead of him and a shot at scoring (or at least giving Iowa another ridiculously short field)... but also probably a little because he knew he (and the Iowa defense generally) was Iowa's best chance at actually scoring more points in the game, not the offense.
Speak of the devil... surely the Iowa offense couldn't get worse this week, right? Not after managing a measly 166 yards last week. Oh, your poor, deluded fool. The Iowa offense managed a stunning 150 yards this week, though they did score a touchdown at least (albeit after being set up with the ball on the ISU 16-yard line, thanks to a blocked punt). The biggest offensive play of the day was a combined 20-yard penalty on Iowa State (defensive offsides + unsportsmanlike conduct on the ISU sideline) on Iowa's final drive. The truly sick thing about this Iowa offensive display? I honestly don't think we've seen rock bottom yet. Iowa still has to play Michigan and Ohio State this year (and the Wisconsin and Minnesota defenses also look good enough to fuck up Iowa's shit in a pretty big way). So there may still be even more pathetic displays to come, as difficult as that might be to comprehend.
Ultimately this game was a tribute to the ego of one man. To the godlike level of stubbornness on display from a man who is institutionally and contractually bulletproof. Kirk Ferentz has given us the F U Safety game. Now he's given us the F U Game, full stop. Today's game was just a clear and unambiguous "fuck you" to his critics. And, really, to anyone who gives a shit about Iowa football -- the Iowa fans, the Iowa media, the Iowa players themselves, and the Iowa coaches (minus one notable nepotism beneficiary). The message of this game was "Fuck you, I'm right."
The debacle that is this Iowa offense is entirely of his (and Brian Ferentz's) making. The warning signs have been there for a while -- a very long while, really -- and they have steadfastly ignored them, digging their heels in ever-deeper on schemes, play-calls, and, yes, players that are not effective. They have tried to have stellar, championship-level performances from the defense and special teams to paper over their putrid dumpster fire of an offense, but smoke and mirrors doesn't last forever. The defense and special teams tried their damnedest today to help Iowa pull of their usual bullshit, but it wasn't enough because the Iowa offense once against couldn't even muster a D+ performance.
If you were of a more charitable viewpoint, you might think that this disasterpiece might be the straw that breaks the camel's back for Ferentz and the Iowa offense. That seeing yet another epic fail from them would force him to realize that something -- many somethings, really -- are deeply, fundamentally broken with the offensive side of the ball. That the coaching on that side of the ball is woefully inadequate -- at least when it comes to the overall coordination and QB coaching side of things. Though the offensive line also continues to be a source of concern. (The running backs have been busting their ass in an effort to make chicken salad out of the chicken shit they've been given and it's hard to fully assess the receivers and tight ends given the injuries at WR and the ineffective play at QB and OL.)
But we're not naive enough to believe that this will change anything. We'll probably hear that it was a close loss and they just need to clean a few things up. That he still has "full confidence" in Brian Ferentz. Probably even in Spencer Petras too. And if you disagree? Well, fuck you.