The Good, Bad & Ugly 2019: Northwestern

By Mike Jones on October 28, 2019 at 11:57 am
Dancin Daviyon
© Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Good: Young Guns

A number of underclassmen showed out on Saturday, including a couple of true freshmen on offense. First, Tyler Goodson continued his excellent year by rushing 11 times for 59 yards (5.3 YPC). He should’ve had a touchdown in the third quarter but as he was dinged up while being tackled out of bounds at the Northwestern one-yard line, it ended up going to Mekhi Sargent.

Redshirt freshman Tyrone Tracy also showed out, totaling 88 yards on 2 (!) receptions, including this absurd 50-yard touchdown play:

In case you wanted a screenshot of how comical that whole situation was:

Sam LaPorta, another true freshman, caught two balls for 43-yards and actually caught a third ball that was originally ruled a catch, then overturned on review. Did he drop said ball? Probably. Was there an angle showing him dropping said ball? No. REFS! LaPorta’s emergence is much needed, as Iowa is desperately looking for a pass-catching tight end. He put up bonkers numbers in high school, catching 68 passes for 1,457 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior, so this isn’t anything new to him.

On the defensive side of the ball it was Daviyon Nixon, Joe Evans, Dane Belton and Dillon Doyle that were causing problems for the Wildcats. Nixon was a problem for Aiden Smith, recording two sacks and a batted ball. Joe Evans was equally problematic, recording 1.5 sacks and a hurry. Dane Belton? He had a sack and five total tackles. Dillon Doyle? Seven tackles, 0.5 sacks and a hurry. All of these guys are underclassmen. It’s good when the younger guys are this disruptive.

Honorable Mention: Max Cooper fair catching all the punts, the interior of Iowa’s offensive line not being garbage, Chauncey Golston doing quite literally whatever he wanted to Northwestern’s defensive line, and Michael Ojemudia putting together an Amari Spievey-like season.

The Bad & The Ugly: Aside From the Offense?

The Hawkeyes put together a complete game on defense so there’s nothing to fault that unit for. The offense, of course, was another story. Nate Stanley didn’t have his best game, but the weather conditions were less than spectacular and that made catching the football a bit of a problem. Maybe that’s why Nico Ragaini couldn’t do the little things like…catch the football. Is Oliver Martin really that bad? You gotta wonder.

Brian’s gameplan, whatever it was, was undoubtedly influenced by the weather. Iowa attempted to run the ball early on, failed, and tried to pass. Well, that didn’t work the best either, so they went back to the run to start out the second half. Here’s the play by play of Iowa’s opening drive of the third quarter:

  • 1st and 10 at IOWA41: Stanley ,Nate pass incomplete to Ragaini, Nico, QB hurry by Miller, Samdup.
  • 2nd and 10 at IOWA41: Goodson, Tyler rush for 3 yards to the IOWA44 (Pace, JR).
  • 3rd and 7 at IOWA44: Goodson, Tyler rush for 12 yards to the NU44, 1ST DOWN IOWA (Pace, JR).
  • 1st and 10 at NU44: Stanley, Nate pass incomplete to Ragaini, Nico, QB hurry by Gallagher, B..
  • 2nd and 10 at NU44: Goodson, Tyler rush for 12 yards to the NU32, 1ST DOWN IOWA (Whillock, T.).
  • 1st and 10 at NU32: Goodson, Tyler rush for 4 yards to the NU28 (Gallagher, B.).
  • 2nd and 6 at NU28: Goodson, Tyler rush for loss of 1 yard to the NU29 (Miller, Alex; Gallagher, B.).
  • 3rd and 7 at NU29: Stanley, Nate pass complete to Goodson, Tyler for loss of 1 yard to the NU30 (Bergin, Chris).
  • 4th and 8 at NU30: Stanley, Nate pass complete to Beyer, Shaun for 11 yards to the NU19, 1ST DOWN IOWA, out-of-bounds (Williams, Trae).
  • 1st and 10 at NU19: Goodson, Tyler rush for 9 yards to the NU10 (Whillock, T.).
  • 2nd and 1 at NU10: Goodson, Tyler rush for 3 yards to the NU7, 1ST DOWN IOWA (Bergin, Chris).
  • 1st and GOAL at NU07: Goodson, Tyler rush for 6 yards to the NU1, out-of-bounds (Newsome II, G.).
  • 2nd and GOAL at NU01: Sargent, Mekhi rush for 1 yard to the NU0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 05:23.
  • TOTAL: 13 plays, 59 yards Time of Possession: 6:01

That is…sexy.

Of those 13 plays, nine were rushes. During the game, there was mention that Iowa is a run-first offense. We know that. The issue this season is that Iowa hasn’t been the best at running the football and when the offense falls on Nate Stanley’s shoulders, things get weird. Iowa exerted dominance on this drive and big shocker, it ended in a touchdown. If Iowa can run the ball, even if they average 3.0 YPC, they can win football games. Don’t abandon the run just because things aren’t pretty.

Oh, and stop calling the stretch play.

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