WHO'S COUNTING? Well, if you are...
Days since a Clone win over Iowa:— Its football season (@AJFreebs) September 17, 2019
Mens Basketball: 648
Womens Basketball: 1375
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU. Chad Leistikow's DVR Monday column at Hawk Central always contains some interesting notes and pointers obtained from re-watching the previous Saturday's game, but this week's installment had some particularly good information. How did the Iowa defense slow down Iowa State for the final quarter and a half? By embracing the blitz. No, really.
The Cyclones, already leading 14-6, were marching again. They had gained 309 yards to this point on 30 offensive snaps, a remarkable 10.3 yards per play. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was 16-for-17 passing.
But the rest of the way, Iowa State ran 24 plays and gained 109 yards; an average of 4.5. The difference?
Pressure by Phil.
After blitzing on four of Iowa State's first 30 plays, Parker called blitzes on 12 of the final 24 — a jarring 50% for a Hawkeye team — to rattle Purdy and change the game.
Iowa's defense also showed some impressive bend-but-don't-break chops in the ISU game, as Leistikow detailed:
The Cyclones entered Hawkeye territory on six different drives Saturday, but only managed four red-zone snaps and got three points on those trips. Iowa State gained only 63 yards on 22 snaps in Iowa territory and committed one turnover. The total drops to 48 net yards on 22 plays (2.2 average) if you count three five-yard penalties, all of which were crucial in what became a field-position battle.
Iowa gained a lot of "hidden" yards on punts and kickoff coverage throughout the game as well.
And here’s a little nugget for the “punting is winning” crowd ...
Iowa’s Michael Sleep-Dalton netted 216 yards on his five booming punts. Iowa State netted 102 on four. That’s a 114-yard swing in overall field position right there.
There's plenty more good information at the link, so give it a read.
HUNGRY FOR MORE. Megan Gustafson's rookie year in the WNBA came to a close a few a weeks ago, with the Dallas Wings limping to a 10-24 finish. Gustafson saw limited action as a rookie, averaging just around 9.5 minutes per game, 2.9 points per game, and 2.5 rebounds per game. She's headed overseas next, to play in Budapast, Hungary. Hopefully she's able to make a bigger impact over there.
Im always really Hungary so its a good thing Im moving to Europe. Peace out America, lets hope my shot will be more accurate than the last Hawkeye out of Budapest! #Avengers #BlackWidow #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/nHdgZS2eIb— Megan Gustafson (@GustafsonMeg10) September 18, 2019
BULLDOZERS OF MANY TALENTS. You already know that Iowa's current offensive line features five starters who finished 3rd or better at the Iowa State High School Wrestling Tournament. There was a viral tweet about it and everything. But as this article from STACK points out, that's only one of many sports Iowa's front-line behemoths excelled at in their pre-college days.
Every member of the Hawkeyes' starting O-line also threw shot put and/or discus in high school.
Starting left tackle Tristan Wirfs, for example, was a three-time state champion in the discus and a two-time state champion in the shot put. His shot put PR of 66'3.5" ranks second all-time in Iowa high school state history.
And did you know they all played baseball, too? It's true!
Additionally, every starter on Iowa's offensive line also earned at least one letter in high school baseball. Linderbaum earned four letters, spending part of the summer following his senior year training with Iowa's football team in the morning then playing games with his high school baseball team later that same day.
All told, Wirfs, Linderbaum, Schott, and the Paulsen twins combined for 63 varsity letters in four different sports as high school athletes.
WAVIN' IN THE BREEZE. Kirk Ferentz talks about The Kinnick Wave in this brief video celebrating college football's 150th anniversary.
Got a minute? In today's My Story, @ESPN's daily series of 60-second vignettes for @CFB150, @HawkeyeFootball head coach Kirk Ferentz describes the emotional impact of the Kinnick Wave to the patients at the U of Iowa Children's Hospital. Bring a hanky. https://t.co/5qIQJJUp17— Ivan Maisel (@Ivan_Maisel) September 17, 2019
THE STORY OF A.J. The story of A.J. Epenesa's path to Iowa City has been told several times by now, but this telling, by Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer, is a particularly good one and worth your time.
Epenesa's first showing of real, deep emotion comes 37 minutes in. After gliding through discussion of his deep, unconditional love for his family, and of everything that has led him to this point in his life, he finally stumbles when asked about the art of bull-rushing.
His body shifts. His eyes flicker and widen. His hand gestures become far more pronounced. While every defensive lineman has his trademark move to apply pressure, Epenesa is almost giddy as he explains just how much he enjoys lifting an offensive lineman from his feet and into the air.
"It's the most satisfying feeling when 320 pounds feels weightless," Epenesa says. "If you can successfully put a bull rush on the table on the first rep, that's it. It's like, 'Dude, you're in for it. You're going to let me do that right now? You're going to have some problems today.'"
There's plenty more at the link.
SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS. ESPN is extending its popular HARD KNOCKS franchise to the college football ranks... sort of.
HBO confirms Hard Knocks is coming to CFB in 24/7 College Football. Florida, Penn State, Arizona State and Washington State featured. pic.twitter.com/Runxd65WEa— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 18, 2019
The Penn State episode is scheduled to air a few days before they head to Iowa City to face Iowa (although the episode itself will chronicle their preparation for their game with Purdue the week before). If these episodes are popular, expect more teams to be featured next season. You can expect Iowa to be one of those teams right about the time that Hell freezes over.
WALK ON CORNER. Iowa picked up a verbal commitment from preferred walk-on Isaiah Wagner, a wide receiver at Southeast Polk.
I am excited and humbled to announce that I have accepted my PWO and I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at the University of Iowa!! I want to thank my family and all the coaches who have supported me in making this decision. #swarm20 @Coach_Niemann pic.twitter.com/8zD0ZVQokg— Isaiah Wagner (@isaiah_wagner_) September 19, 2019
And in other preferred walk-on news, they're looking to bring some sweet soft rock jams to Iowa City:
Wide receiver and defensive backs have been relatively fruitful paths for walk-ons trying to make an impact at Iowa in the past (especially defensive back), so who knows -- these names could be popping up in an Iowa depth chart in a few years.
WAKE ME UP WHEN BRACKETOLOGY ENDS. Andy Katz has some 2020 bracket predictions and -- surprise! -- Iowa's not in his bracket. They are near the bubble, though.
Honestly, given the roster upheaval Iowa has gone through this offseason -- Cook departing for the NBA, Baer graduating, Moss and Dailey transferring out, Evelyn transferring in, and Bohannon potentially missing the season -- a prediction like this is far from surprising (or unwarranted). There's a lot of uncertainty about this Iowa team and until we see them on the court again and see what they can do, it's difficult to say what a likely outcome for this season might be.
Speaking of hoops, this was a fascinating look at the original design of Carver-Hawkeye Arena:
The original design of Carver Hawkeye had students wrapped around the court and a concourse in the middle with multilevel entrances #FightForIowa @marcmorehouse @ScottDochterman @ToddBrommelkamp @HawkeyeReport @JPinIC_BHGP pic.twitter.com/vaYXvXGrdf— Hawkeye Archive (@ArchiveHawkeye) September 15, 2019
6000 student seats! The multilevel entrance idea is interesting and could have solved the problem CHA has of the long walk down (or up) the stars from the concourse to the court. I'd imagine there were some rea$on$ that the multilevel entrances weren't implemented in the final design, though.
- Iowa's opponent next week, Middle Tennessee State, checks in at #24 on Tom Fornelli's Bottom 25 rankings at CBS.
- This Athletic ($) profile on Ahmad Wagner, Kentucky football's newest weapon, is a really excellent read. He talks about his decision to switch from basketball to football, why he chose Kentucky, and, yes, if he considered staying at Iowa to play football. (He did.) Give the SEC hell, Ahmad.
- One young patient (and big wrestling fan) at UI Children's Hospital got the visit of his dreams when Terry Brands, Spencer Lee, Nelson Brands, Vince Turk, and Bobby Telford dropped by to see him this week.
- This ESPN story on Lane Kiffin's, um, tumultuous 14 months at Tennessee is an excellent, incident-packed read; they were certainly one of the most entertaining 7-6 teams in recent memory.
- This time-lapse video of the Sapporo Dome in Japan being transformed from a baseball field to a football/soccer field is incredible.