THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY 2018: NORTHERN IOWA

By Mike Jones on September 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm
SARGENT SLAUGHTER
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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The Good: Execution

One of the Four Factors for beating UNI was for the Hawkeyes to take the Panthers seriously. It wasn’t a trap game but it wasn’t a game that Iowa could simply expect to win by showing up and pushing UNI around. So, what did they do? They held the Panthers scoreless for three quarters, scored touchdowns on three of their first four drives and had a 21-0 lead at half.

How did they do it? Well, they didn’t even have to wear the Panthers down (which they did in the 3rd quarter). The offense actually executed. Iowa dropped zero passes. Nick Easley, who I am admittedly continuously skeptical about as a starting wide receiver, brought down 10 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Noah Fant, who always seems to come up with one inexplicable drop a game, had five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Hell, even Brandon Smith and Tyrone Tracy got in on the action. 

Stanley also had a much better game, hitting his receivers in stride and showing touch on deep passes. Example:

Yes, he threw an absolutely inexcusable interception. That was not good. But overall, he had his best game of the year throwing the ball. To say nothing of his statistics for the game (23/28, 309 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT), which were impressive.

CAVEAT: What we talk about in THE UGLY.

Honorable Mention: Mekhi Sargent as Iowa’s most versatile offensive player, Kristian Welch’s comeback, Epenesa (again), Kinnick at night.

The Bad: The Defense in the Fourth Quarter

I’m nitpicking for bad things about this game, but Iowa’s defense didn’t play four quarters of football. Yes, there were reserves in by the fourth quarter. But a number of starters were still there, including Ojemudia, who UNI decided to pick on en route to their second touchdown of the game, Niemann, Hooker and Gervase. It’s trivial, yes, but it’s not like there’s much difference between Iowa’s reserves and UNI’s starters.

The Ugly: The Penalties

For all Iowa did right, they were still dinged with 10 penalties for 88 yards. One of those, a pass interference flag on Gervase in the fourth quarter, was an utter garbage call that gave rise to the greatest DUDE LOOK AT THE SCOREBOARD celebration I’ve ever seen:

Yet and still, even if you discount a blown call, Iowa got dinged for a number of sloppy penalties when they played so well. They'll need to fix those before Wisconsin comes to town on Saturday. 

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