Iowa dominated Michigan State in every facet of football. Since most of the positives are pretty obvious, here are some things that may have been overlooked:
1. The offensive line gets so much better each and every week. It’s a shame that there is no substitution to playing games to help an offensive line’s cohesiveness, but they are without a doubt the most improved area of Iowa’s team.
2. It’s good to have Tarp playing again, and although most people didn’t notice his impact, he was extremely valuable. Where Wisconsin was able to carve up the middle of the field in the passing game, Michigan State mainly threw towards the sidelines when he was in the game.
3. That being said, I am extremely excited for the progression of James Morris. Not as excited as Matt Millen is, but still, I’m really excited.
4. Ryan Donahue: Impact Player.
5. Saving the best for last, even though great adjustments weren’t necessary for this game, let’s face it; it’s good to have Norm back.
Since no game is perfect, here are two things that bothered me:
1. The Tyler Sash lateral to Micah Hyde. Yes, I know it was probably the most exciting play of the season, but that doesn’t mean it was a good decision. Sash made the interception, giving Iowa all the momentum, so even if he’s tackled after a short return, everybody on Iowa is pumped. If Hyde fumbles that lateral and Michigan State recovers, it deflates the defense. They did what they needed to do, but still have to stay out on the field. Meanwhile, Michigan State gains confidence, because they got away with one. It’s just a little too high risk for my tastes, but yes, it was awesome.
2. I also hated the late first half timeouts by Ferentz. If there’s a minute left, and he’s able to stop the clock, it makes sense, but with 15 seconds, it’s just a waste of time as we saw. The upside is minuscule, and the downside is much higher.
3. When Michigan State conceded the game and put in their backup QB, there was NO reason for any starters to be in the game at that point.
Now onto things that bothered me about the coaching of Mark D’Antonio.
1. On point number two, I believe D’Antonio made a huge gaffe by not using a play action pass on either third or fourth down at the end of the half. Use play action to throw the ball deep, because most likely Iowa’s coverage would not be expecting it and with that little time, you don’t have to worry about stopping the clock as opposed to forcing Iowa to use a timeout. Down 30-0, that’s a call you need to make.
2. Also, in the second half, I think sticking with your normal offense until at least the fourth quarter, but you need to take chances on special teams. If Iowa’s punting, you can’t just send a solid rush, you need to send the house at them.
3. How do you not at least attempt an onside kick after scoring your first touchdown? I’m sure Iowa was at least somewhat prepared for it, but you at least have to try.
Before the season, I wrote a post on why there was no reason that Iowa couldn’t go to the national title game this year. Obviously, things didn’t work out that way, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a special Iowa football team. Last year’s team was great, and we also had some good ones in 2003 and during the Drew Tate era. But this is the first time since 2002 that Iowa doesn’t just have the talent to beat good teams; they can go out and dominate them. Yes, this team is that good.
This team may have lost two games, but as I said last week, the Rose Bowl is still a possibility. Enjoy the rest of this season, because at a program like Iowa’s, teams this talented only come around once every eight years.
P.S. I was going to put the fans as a negative for stupidly chanting overrated, but they made up for it with the USA chant after the game.
P.P.S. Reason I should not have cable: I stayed up until 2:30 AM so I could watch Under Siege. It is a great film.