COLUMN: Hawkeyes do not disappoint

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

     At the last minute, right before press time, I changed one of my bowl picks. I had USC beating Iowa. My thought process was that if the Hawks won and I missed this pick, so what.

     But the more I researched the USC Trojans, which was very little to be honest, the more I felt like this was Iowa’s game to win.

     And win they did. I’ve read various descriptions of the Iowa’s victory, everywhere from some calling it a closer game than the score indicated to an Iowa blowout.

     My take is that it leaned closer to the blowout description but I’m not going to label it as such. I’ll just call it a hard-fought victory by the better team. And yes, I truly feel Iowa’s program is in way better shape than the almighty USC Trojans.

     A couple of thoughts (grades): Iowa will miss QB Nate Stanley. Nate was flawless through 2.75 quarters and not so perfect the other 1.25. Thankfully those numbers are not turned around. He made some great passes and directed the offense the way we hoped he would all season. Grade A-

The rest of the offense was pretty darn good as well. The Hawks only rushed for 115 yards and netted just 328 for the entire game but they made plays, especially in the red zone. Grade A

     The defense struggled early containing USC’s passing game but they were strong against the run, even though the Trojans only attempted 18 rushes. When the DL started to enforce their will, the game started to change in the Hawks favor. Grade A-

     Special teams were once again special, returning a kick off for a touchdown and covering kicks and punts well. All-American kicker Keith Duncan never got to show off his field goal kicking skills, which was what we all were hoping for. A poor job on a on-side kick keeps the Hawks from being perfect. Grade A

     Many fans have questioned the play calling this season. OC Brian Ferentz hopefully silenced his critics. We saw a few Hayden Fry “exotics” including a wide receiver pass off an end around. That play was a couple of inches away from being a touchdown. If I was giving a game ball out after the game, I may have given it to Brian. Grade A+

     Other thoughts on the game, I was impressed with how Iowa matched up with USC’s speed, I may go as far as to say they were the faster, more athletic team.

     Now that Iowa’s bowl season is over, we will have to see how many underclassmen stay or go to the NFL. I’m hoping they all stay but that is my selfish choice. Also, you may see a transfer or two pop up, most notably, one of the current running backs.

     Next year we’ll see a new quarterback for the first time in three seasons. Most are saying the reins will be handed over to Spencer Petras, Stanley’s backup. I’m guessing the same thing. My long shot though will be incoming freshman Deuce Hogan, another gunslinger out of the state of Texas. Go Hawks!

     (Bowl pick update: I currently sit at 10-11 after Sunday, Pete is 12-9)



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