Welcome to Go Mailbag Awesome, where we answer your questions about Iowa sports. Technically these are tweets, not letters or emails or other mail-related items, but "tweetbag" is an unpleasant word. Just say it out loud... gross. So we're going with mailbag instead. We'll try to do this on a weekly basis. And if the bird app frightens or disturbs you, you can always email questions to ross-at-goiowaawesome-dot-com.
Let's start things off with a trip in the wayback machine...
What were you doing the day Kirk Ferentz was hired?— James Finley (@jameyfinley) September 29, 2022
Oh, this is a good one. Ferentz was hired on December 2, 1998. I was in my sophomore year of (cough) high school. He was hired on a Wednesday, so I was definitely in class that day, doing... something. Probably learning about geometry or chemistry? Do I remember any of what I learned that day? Absolutely not. Do I remember an absurd amount of Iowa football minutiae from the last 25 years? Absolutely yes. Probably a good trade-off.
Avatar was released in 2009 and is now back in theaters this week. Tony Moeaki put up 105 yards and 2 TDs vs Michigan in 2009 in an Iowa home victory and is now back in Iowa City this week.— WFH Patrick (@PJ_Lensing) September 28, 2022
Is Kirk and company hinting at a TE-heavy gameplan this week?
Yes, but I also think Iowa is hinting at a TE-heavy gameplan because all their gameplans are TE-heavy. You've seen the state of our wide receiver room right now, right? If Slammin' Sammy LaPorta or Lofty Luke Lachey wants to channel Tony Mo's performance and go off for 100 yards and a touchdown or two, well, we would very happily take that. Iowa will need someone on offense to step up and stand out in order to win this game; the tight end position is probably one of the best options to do just that.
In case you were wondering... LaPorta is the last Iowa receiver or tight end to top 100 yards receiving; he had 122 yards in last year's Citrus Bowl. The last Iowa receiver (or tight end) to catch two touchdowns in a game was Ihmir Smith-Marsette against Wisconsin in 2020.
Follow-up - Why can't Michigan go back to Tate Forcier type QBs please?— WFH Patrick (@PJ_Lensing) September 28, 2022
Because Jim Harbaugh is a big, weird jerk who likes quarterbacks that can "complete passes" or some shit. Gross.
How many 4th downs does Michigan go for? How come targeting indicates you intentionally went after the opponents head area, but it was unintentional. With Intentional Grounding, they are actually intentionally grounding the ball to avoid a sack, yet it goes unpunished.— Trevor Christensen (@2CentTrev) September 29, 2022
In order to have a decision to go on fourth down or not, Michigan will need to be stopped by Iowa on the first three downs. That didn't happen a whole lot in the Big Ten Championship Game, sadly. But I do expect a much better showing from the Iowa defense here and there will be some fourth down decisions for Michigan to make. I'll say they attempt to convert 2-3 fourth downs in this game. Hopefully they fail every time.
As for your other question...
Also, what do you think of the idea that they should change the offensive holding call to 5 yards? It's usually damaging enough losing a big play, why 10 more yards? It's also the most frequent penalty, shouldn't frequent calls have less punishment because it happens so often?— Trevor Christensen (@2CentTrev) September 29, 2022
Fair points. I'm in favor of it, if only because a 10-yard penalty on the offense is so crippling to Iowa's offense that they might as well punt as soon as they get one. At least with a 5-yard penalty there's slightly more hope that they might be able to convert for a first down (but probably not).
If Iowa and Michigan were flavors of ice cream/dessert, what flavors would they be? What condiment/topping would enhance each dessert and why?— Aaron Ries (@awries) September 30, 2022
Iowa is a hot fudge sundae. The offense is the vanilla ice cream -- that's a layup. The defense is the hot fudge -- the thing that makes the whole package excellent. And the special teams (punting) is be the cherry on top of it all.
Michigan is fruit cake. They're full of nuts and loved only by people as old as your grandparents.
What percent chance would you give that well have a Junior Senior moment this season?— Benudo (@IowishEyes) September 29, 2022
Look, I'd feel better about Iowa's chances of springing the upset in this game if it was a night game -- or at least a mid-afternoon kickoff. Kinnick Stadium's powers don't get fully charged until later in the day and the upset mojo really gets cranked up when the sun goes down. Things can be a little sleepier for a noon kickoff like this one. And I'd obviously feel better if Iowa's offense hadn't spent the first month of the season looking like they were trying to dig a tunnel out of prison with a plastic spork.
But... the defense is great. The special teams are great. The defense is going to have to summon all their powers to bottle up Michigan's offense, and they're probably going to have to force a turnover (or three). They may even need to score some points themselves. That said... we can't rule out any of that happening, right? Let's give Iowa about a 15% chance of things breaking just right tomorrow and us spending all afternoon and evening getting moving our feet in joyous celebration.
Go Hawks. Beat Michigan.