For Black For Gold http://forblackforgold.com An Iowa Hawkeyes Sports Blog Sun, 04 Sep 2016 23:20:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 Iowa vs Miami – Postgame Analysis http://forblackforgold.com/2016/09/iowa-vs-miami-postgame-analysis/ http://forblackforgold.com/2016/09/iowa-vs-miami-postgame-analysis/#respond Sun, 04 Sep 2016 23:20:56 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=229 Defensive lapses give optimistic Hawkeye fans a fright

Iowa got the job done on Saturday, and their offense actually looked pretty good in doing so. They had scored 21 points in the first 10 minutes, and kept pounding Miami’s defense until the end of the game. The defense, however, didn’t produce as well as the offense. Special teams did really well, and all-in-all, I’m satisfied.

CJ Beathard led his offense to 404 yards. He completed 13 of 20 passes for 192 yards and had a rushing touchdown. Jerminic Smith and Matt VandeBerg led the receivers, and Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr. Most notably, Akrum Wadley ran 12 carries for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. He looked incredibly explosive on offense. He’s able to pound through gaps and use his speed to outrun defenders. Although he lacks the driving ability that Daniels has, he perhaps the key to Iowa’s run offense this year. The receivers, on the other hand, made a couple of slip-ups, and those perhaps cost a pair of touchdowns. CJ fired the ball with incredible accuracy. Expect those passes to be caught later in the season.

The defense has less to be proud of. Desmond King did a great job keeping his side locked down. I think that they only threw the ball to his side twice, and they completed both of those passes. That isn’t really a bad thing. Passes are going to get completed, and they effectively had to play with one less receiver. Josey Jewell was ejected early on a targeting call during Desmond King’s (called back) huge punt return to the 5 yard line. It certainly didn’t look like an intentional helmet-to-helmet hit, but it was. The run defense suffered since that happened, and Greg Mabin and the safeties didn’t do a very good job defending the secondary.

Punter Ron Coluzzi had great kicks. 3 punts for an average of 42 yards. Placekicker Keith Duncan also looks incredibly promising. Desmond King had 1 punt return which was called back due to the targeting. He had 1 kick return for 48 yards and 1 for 22.

Overall I’m satisfied with how they played. Perfect season? Doubtful. 10+ wins and a division championship? Sure. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, and especially the game next week. They’re going to work through their kinks, and they’re going to keep on winning. It’s great to be a Hawkeye!

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Iowa vs Miami – Pregame Thoughts http://forblackforgold.com/2016/09/iowa-vs-miami-pregame-thoughts/ http://forblackforgold.com/2016/09/iowa-vs-miami-pregame-thoughts/#respond Sat, 03 Sep 2016 12:00:49 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=222 Welcome to 2016

Hawk fans, the moment you’ve been waiting for since halfway through the first quarter of the Rose Bowl. The 2016 college football season has started, and Iowa’s season starts just hours from now. This year is shaping up to look very similar to last, and an Iowa team hungry for revenge is sure to leave no stone unturned in search of the season they desire.

Like I said, this team is hungry. Last year’s team was all about taking Iowa football to new heights. They’re there. This year’s team has to prove they belong. Iowa certainly feels like they’re playing with a chip on their shoulder. They weren’t satisfied. I think we’ll see this team play the same Iowa football they did last year. Work hard, run the ball, play tough football.

CJ Beathard returns for his senior season and second year as starter. There’s no doubt that he proved his worth to the team last year, and proved that Kirk Ferentz made a smart decision with his quarterbacks (Jake Rudock did pretty well for Michigan, himself). Seniors Jordan Canzeri and Tevaun Smith graduated, and that leaves holes in the offense. Iowa still returns three of the “Four Horsemen” of the running corps, but wide receiver is a position that is has no leader. Hopefully one will emerge that is a perfect fit for Beathard like Smith was.

Desmond King returns for his senior season, and he’s a force to be reckoned with in the secondary. Returning Jim Thorpe Award winner/Consensus All-American King hopes to make as big of an impact this year as he has previously. He plays aggressive football, and dares teams to send the ball to his side. Other defensive stars like Josey Jewell and Greg Mabin will hold down the rest of the secondary, and Jaleel Johnson and Nathan Bazata, returning starters, should continue to make big plays at the line. Iowa’s defense looks to be stronger than last year, and we should see the improvement on the field.

Miami, Ohio. Doesn’t really intimidate you, does it? Well, it shouldn’t. Miami isn’t much. They were 3-9 last year against MAC teams, and Iowa shouldn’t have a problem taking care of them. There isn’t much to be said. This will be a great game to get the rust off and show what they can do.  Iowa wins 38 – 13.

 

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Iowa vs Stanford: The Rose Bowl – Postgame Analysis http://forblackforgold.com/2016/01/iowa-vs-stanford-the-rose-bowl-postgame-analysis/ http://forblackforgold.com/2016/01/iowa-vs-stanford-the-rose-bowl-postgame-analysis/#respond Wed, 06 Jan 2016 21:00:54 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=212  An unfortunate conclusion to an outstanding season

Iowa played Christian McCaffery-excuse me, Stanford-in a very underwhelming Rose Bowl on January 1st. It was a historic event for Iowa football, and it meant a huge deal to the players and fans alike. Was Iowa maybe a little starstruck at the beginning of the game? Definitely. Was Iowa prepared for Christian McCaffery and 10 other guys? Definitely not. A 45-16 loss stings a little, but it doesn’t ruin Iowa’s season.

From the first play of the game, a short pass to McCaffery (who started at his usual running back position) that turned into a 75-yard touchdown, you could tell Iowa wasn’t prepared. It was a textbook Stanford play. When I looked up McCaffery’s highlights to do some scouting, that exact same scenario appeared in the second play of the first video i found. Clearly Phil Parker doesn’t use YouTube to find opponent film.

Everyone, myself included, was hoping that Iowa would be awake now, and that the small deficit would be easy to overcome. I was wrong. A short 3 & out gave Stanford the ball again. After three big plays by McCaffery in a row, Stanford was already up by 14 points with only 6 minutes played.

It only got worse. Iowa’s offense looked alive with a drive that turned a couple of first downs, but then Beathard under threw a receiver, and Stanford ran it back 66 yards for a touchdown. Disbelief filled the Rose Bowl. What happened to the team with a good offense but even better defense, and when would Iowa be able to stop this New Years Day massacre?

Iowa got the ball back, lost yards, and punted, but then they actually managed to stop Stanford and force a punt! Iowa had another drive with no positive yardage and punted. The punt soon turned horrific. The man back to receive was none other than Christian McCaffery. What did he do? He did what Christian McCaffery does. He ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. The score was now 28-0 at the beginning of the second quarter.

Stanford only scored one more touchdown that quarter, and Iowa went into the locker room down 35-0. The controversial halftime show upset Iowa fans more than the football game did. It was stupid and mildly insulting, but I think all the hatred towards it was just Iowa fans letting their frustration out. Looking back on the show, it doesn’t bother me. That’s just what Stanford’s band does, and the hatred and booing only fuels them

Iowa came out after halftime, and their performance was mediocre Iowa. The held them to only a field goal in the 3rd quarter, Iowa kicked to get three points of their own! It sure was exciting. Iowa had scored more than Michigan State did, so the hawks defiantly took home the moral victory trophy for that one.

In the fourth quarter, Matt VandeBerg and Akrum Wadley each scored six, and Marshal Koehn went 1 for 2 on extra points. At the end of the game, Stanford threw a bomb to score another touchdown. Real classless move if you ask me. Iowa got the ball again and was driving it down the field with just a couple of minutes left to play. Iowa kept moving the ball well and was close to scoring. Ferentz had burned his last timeout with 16 seconds left. He had some fancy play drawn up, but we never got to see the end of it since Beathard fumbled and Iowa lost the ball. Stanford kneeled, and the game was over.

It was bittersweet, but looking back at the season, you can’t be disappointed. If you had made a deal with me at the beginning of the season that Iowa would get to go to the Rose Bowl but take a big loss, I would take that in a heartbeat. Iowa was projected to barely go positive. A Big Ten Championship game and Rose Bowl bid were out of the question.

I thought Iowa would win, and if Iowa came out ready in the beginning and played like they did the second half, they would’ve had a really good chance. I think the pressure of the Rose Bowl and the grandeur got in their heads. Hopefully they could return next year and could right the wrong of this season. Whatever happens next year and all the years after that, I will still remember this game and this season, and I will look back on my team with pride. It’s great to be a Hawkeye.

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Iowa vs Stanford: The Rose Bowl – Pregame Thoughts http://forblackforgold.com/2016/01/pregame-thoughts-iowa-vs-stanford-the-rose-bowl/ http://forblackforgold.com/2016/01/pregame-thoughts-iowa-vs-stanford-the-rose-bowl/#respond Fri, 01 Jan 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=202 The Granddaddy of Them All

Happy New Year, Hawk fans! It’s a new morning, and more importantly, a new year. Now I’m sure that when this gets posted, you will all be sound asleep, recovering from a long night of parting, but I am wide awake. It’s the Rose Bowl, and for those of us luckily to be in Pasadena on a day as grand as this one, we must make the most out of every fleeting minute. As I touched on before, Iowa has only been to five of these before, and this is the first one in 25 years. Lets make it a party!

Before we talk about today, lets talk about last night. Not the partying, the football games. This was originally going to be posted on the morning of the 31st, but clearly that didn’t happen. I would’ve touched on how I thought MSU would beat Clemson in Arizona later on this month, but Alabama shattered my prediction. It is unfortunate for MSU, and likewise, the Big Ten. I think that, unfortunately, Alabama has an easy walk to holding the championship trophy, but Clemson will make them work for it.

Wanted to share this cool video posted by Iowa’s video editor before I got too far into this article. Go to his twitter account (@ChrisRuthIOWA) to see more videos like it. Play this again before the 4th quarter tonight!

Now for today’s game. Lets start with the obvious: Christian McCafferry. McCaffery was the Heisman runner-up and the AP Player of the year. He’s the most versatile player in college football. He rushes, receives, returns, and passes. He constantly takes snaps in place of the quarterback, and when the quarterback gets the ball, it’s usually going to McCaffery one way or another. He is their offense. He’s responsible for 13 touchdowns this season. He’s constantly making huge runs through big holes made by Stanford’s offensive line. Iowa needs to have top-notch run defense when he’s in the backfield, and have Desmond King guard him when he’s lined up wide. Even when he’s in the backfield, however, he’ll run straight out into the open field to make a reception.

If it seems like 13 touchdowns for a guy like him isn’t enough, thats because Stanford has a man named Remound Wright. Wright has 77 carries for only 209 yards, but 13 rushing touchdowns himself. He’s the guy that gets the ball close to the goal and pounds it in. Luckily, Iowa’s red zone & goal line defense is pretty outstanding, minus a small lapse in the end of a game versus Michigan State. I think that Stanford will need big plays to score, but Christian McCaffery is the man to make big plays.

Stanford’s defense, however, would be the main reason you didn’t watch them play on new year’s eve. Stanford’s defense sits in 50th place allowing 375 yards per game, and giving up an average 23 points to poor Pac-12 teams. Their rush defense sits in the lower third of FBS, allowing 4.6 YPC, the same as Iowa’s offensive average. Don’t expect Canzeri or Daniels, who are both healthy, to have any problems against Stanford’s defense.

Let’s start with something that’s different on offense than the last 10 games; CJ Beathard is healthy. He hurt his groin/thigh during week three against Pitt, and his condition has both risen and declined since then. Today at the Rose Bowl, He is reported to have 100% mobility. Remember CJ Against both ISU’s? He was a very mobile quarterback, being able to keep plays alive while the pocket collapsed to make huge plays. He was borderline dual-threat when he was completely healthy. He showed glimpses of full health at Nebraska and in Indianapolis, but expect CJ to move his feet around and make plays.

Unfortunately, Jake Duzey has reinjured his knee in practice, and he won’t return to the playing field for the ultimate conclusion of his senior season. It is a shame to see an amazing tight end have his career cut short by injury, but as a struggling Kirk Ferentz said a little over a year ago, “That’s Football,” There are no new injuries to report, and everyone else has healed up and is ready to play, save for Drew Ott, who’s still waiting to hear from the Big Ten about his medical redshirt.

I predict a high-scoring offensive shootout. I think Iowa will win 42-38. I do honestly think that Iowa is a great team who can bully Stanford’s poor defense and send them home empty-handed. Stanford simply has no quality wins and is champion to what is easily the worst power 5 conference this year. It’ll be easy for Iowa to contain Christian McCaffery, seeing as Iowa’s defense is the best Stanford has played all year by quite a bit. I guess we’re just a few short hours from finding out the result. It’s great to be a Hawkeye!

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A Brief History – Iowa in the Rose Bowl http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/a-brief-history-iowa-in-the-rose-bowl/ http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/a-brief-history-iowa-in-the-rose-bowl/#respond Mon, 14 Dec 2015 18:59:57 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=192 The Granddaddy of them all. The Rose Bowl is easily the biggest game to any Big Ten team, regardless of how the BCS & Playoff has skewed the prestige of going. Before 1976, the only bowl game a Big Ten team could go to was The Rose Bowl. No matter how much the new age of bowl games has tried to dilute the importance of The Rose Bowl, It’s inarguable that it is the most important Big Ten bowl.

1957

Iowa played in the 43rd Rose Bowl against the Oregon State Beavers. The team, coached by Forest Evashevski and led by quarterback Ken Ploen, beat the beavers by a score of 35-19. Iowa ended the season ranked 3rd in the nation.

1959

Iowa played against The Cal Golden Bears. Iowa won the contest 38-12, similar to how they won two years before. Iowa took claim of the national championship that year, even though they were 2nd in the final poll which came out before the bowl game. Iowa’s claim to the championship was that LSU-the number 1 ranked team-hadn’t played good opponents due to the fact they refused to play against african-americans. Sorry, LSU, but racism doesn’t earn you national championships.

1982

Iowa returns after a long drought of 20 straight losing seasons. Hayden Fry promised he would return Iowa to glory, and he did. The glory of that season didn’t last too long, however, because Iowa was swept by Washington 28-0. It was a hard loss for Iowa, but Fry knew that he would bring his team back to Pasadena.

1986

The Hawks are back in California, and they’re ready for redemption from four years ago. Iowa went into the game ranked 4th. Their opponent was the 13th ranked Bruins of nearby UCLA (who didn’t play home games at the Rose Bowl at the time). Unfortunately, Iowa got behind early and couldn’t recover. They lost their second straight Rose Bowl 45-28

1991

25 years ago come January 1, 2016, Iowa played in their most recent rose bowl. Their opponent was the Washington Huskies, and Iowa wasn’t ready to lose to them again. Unfortunately, Like the last game, Iowa was behind 33-7 at halftime. Even after a huge surge by Iowa’s offense, they couldn’t come back. Iowa lost the game 46-34. This game was the highest scoring Rose Bowl game up until 2012.

Iowa can hopefully avenge their last three losses, but I guess we will have to wait until 2016 to figure out what happens.

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Iowa vs Michigan State – Postgame Analysis http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/iowa-vs-michigan-state-postgame-analysis/ http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/iowa-vs-michigan-state-postgame-analysis/#respond Mon, 07 Dec 2015 19:06:57 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=187 Dreams end, but new opportunities arise.

When one window is closed, a door is opened. That’s what this weekend was. The small window of the playoffs was closed, but the door to Pasadena was opened for Iowa. Obviously I was devastated by the way the game ended, but can I really be that upset? Iowa surprised everyone with what they did, and this season is already a huge success

Indianapolis was insane on Saturday. Plenty of fans made it in town on Friday night and drank the bars dry; A true testament of how committed Iowa fans are to their team and their alcohol. Saturday morning came, and College Gameday was live in front of Lucas Oil Stadium. The fan turnout was probably at least 90% Iowa fans; Another true testament of how well Iowa fans can recover after a night of heavy drinking. Dallas Clark came to the show to guest pick. He and Desmond Howard picked Iowa to win, but Herbstreit and Corso picked the Spartans.

The rest of the day was another huge party. There was the B1G fan fest, the Hawkeye Huddle and a Michigan State variant, and the lines extended out onto the streets of downtown to get into the restaurants and bars. Rumor has it that Buffalo Wild Wings was out of beer by only 3:30! There was even a shrimp cocktail eating contest that was absolutely disgusting. I’ve never been anywhere like downtown Indianapolis on a day like that, and it was a great experience.

The streets had cleared and the stadium was starting to get full around 30 minutes to game time. The turnout in the stadium was probably around 60-65% Iowa fans. MSU was outnumbered, but not by a whole lot. Both teams were very loud even before the game, and the two different teams’ cheers turned into a loud mess of noise.

The game started, and Iowa’s early turnover looked abysmal. Iowa’s defense kept the Spartans to a field goal, so that kept optimism in me. Iowa had a short drive, and Michigan State got the ball back. Luckily for Iowa, the ball was intercepted and Iowa took the ball down the field to tie the game 3-3. The rest of the first half was a game of defense. Iowa kicked 3 more points, and Michigan State’s kicker missed two 50+ yard field goals. Iowa went in to the locker room with a 6-3 lead over the Spartans.

After the half, the Spartans came out and scored two field goals to take the lead 9-6. Iowa couldn’t get anything done on offense, but an 85 yard touchdown pass put Iowa in the driver’s seat. A couple more drives happened, and then Michigan State got the ball with 9 and a half minutes left in the game.

What followed was one of the most amazing drives in all of college football. Michigan State went 82 yards in 22 plays taking just over 9 minutes. It was crazy. There were 3 reviewed plays. LJ Scott ran the ball 13 times, and on the 13th he stuck out his arm just enough. The ball crossed the plane. I thought that play was over. I was happy. There was going to be one play left and whatever happened would decide the game, but on a last effort, Michigan State had scored a touchdown.

Defeated? Yes. Heartbroken? Yes. Devastated? Yes. Disappointed? At the time, yes. Obviously this was sad. Losing sucks; Especially after winning the last 12, but what’s done is done. Iowa played a great season and lost a great game to a great team. I’ll talk more about Iowa’s future later, but let’s just celebrate Iowa’s amazing season. What a ride it has been. It’s still great to be a Hawkeye!

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Iowa vs Michigan State – Pregame Thoughts http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/iowa-vs-michigan-state-pregame-thoughts/ http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/iowa-vs-michigan-state-pregame-thoughts/#respond Sat, 05 Dec 2015 02:27:18 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=182 The playoff before the playoff

Tomorrow, Iowa plays Michigan State in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship. This game is easily the one I am most excited for this season. No doubt about it. Tomorrow’s matchup means so much for Iowa. Every game has led them closer to the playoffs, but this is the one to get in. This is, essentially, a playoff game. The loser most likely goes down to some lesser New Years Six bowl, barring a loss by another top four team, and the winner moves on to the playoffs.

Iowa’s looking to show the world that they can win games, and this one is very winnable. I go into this game with the same mentality that I did last week. I’m confident Iowa can win, but I wouldn’t be surprised with a loss. The line is only 3.5 points in favor of Michigan State, so this game is expected to be close.

This is a game where two championship defenses will face two really good offenses. I think that the defenses are better than the offenses they are playing against, so the game will probably be low-scoring. Iowa has the better defense in my opinion, but Michigan State boasts the better defense.

Michigan State’s run defense is superb, so Iowa will have to switch to passing if they can’t get it going on the ground. The Spartans pass defense is good, but Iowa’s pass offense is better. Smith and Vandenberg should be able to get past the defensive secondary, and without the elements plating a factor, Beathard should be able to make deep, accurate passes.

Michigan State’s two good wins could easily be considered flukes, and a loss to Nebraska is laughable. If you take away two plays that happened after time expired, Michigan State is a 9-3 team that near the bottom of the top 25, so playing MSU is perhaps Iowa’s best opponent to win the Big Ten against. Michigan State also runs a defense very similar to former MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s Pittsburgh defense, so they know what they are playing against.

To all of those thinking it can’t be done, lets just see what happens tomorrow. Iowa hasn’t lost a game this season. They have found a way to win every game, and that speaks volumes in itself. 12 teams have tried, and none of them have had success stopping the Iowa football team. Will Michigan State fare better than the others? Let’s hope not,

After talking Iowa up the whole article, I have to do something I’ve never done. I have to predict against Iowa. The beauty of my predictions, however, is that I never get them right. I think Michigan State will win 24-21. Obviously I’m going to cheer against my own prediction, but I can’t be a blind Iowa fan. I have to face reality this time. This team can beat Iowa, and if the Hawks don’t show up like they did a week ago, Iowa won’t be taking home the trophy. Let’s just hope that Iowa’s awake and ready to play. The players know what this game means for themselves, the fans, and the state. They’re going to try to bring glory to all of them. It’s great to be a hawkeye.

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How’d We Get Here: B1G Championship http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/howd-we-get-here-b1g-championship/ http://forblackforgold.com/2015/12/howd-we-get-here-b1g-championship/#respond Fri, 04 Dec 2015 03:36:03 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=173 A look back at how Iowa made it to where we are now.

What a season, and although it isn’t over, it’s always fun to look back at the great games and memories from the past. Here’s a look back at the last 12 games.

Game One: Iowa vs Illinois State

The game that started it all. Iowa fans weren’t sure what to expect, but I didn’t expect it to be pretty. The optimistic man in me knew that Iowa would come out with a win, but I’ve expected Iowa to win all of the games they’ve played so far, so maybe I’m just blind to reality.

Remember back when Iowa tried fakes? We got our first taste of “New Kirk” this game with a fake field goal. It failed. Iowa got a 17-0 lead going into the half, and they kept going. They only let Illinois State score some garbage points against the second team. Daniels ran for over 100 yards. We saw a mobile Beathard for the first time. Canzeri had 90 receiving yards. Iowa wins this one 31-14.

 

Game Two: Iowa @ Iowa State

Iowa's Nate Meier, right, and teammate Macon Plewa, left, carry the Cy-Hawk trophy off the field after their 31-17 victory over Iowa State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa’s Nate Meier, right, and teammate Macon Plewa, left, carry the Cy-Hawk trophy off the field after their 31-17 victory over Iowa State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The first true test for the Hawks. Iowa State has caused problems for Iowa in recent years, and they put up a fight in the first half of this game. Iowa was behind at halftime 17-10. Iowa’s passing game stepped up in the second half, and with a touchdown, an interception by King, and another touchdown, Iowa State’s fate was sealed.

This was the first game where we really got to see Beathard’s power through the air. There were long passes. There were passes that were incredibly accurate. We got to see it all, and Beathard got to be flashy. It was a great game. Iowa wins 31-17.

Game Three: Iowa vs Pitt

Marshall Koehn, Courtesy "The Gazette"

Marshall Koehn celebrates with the team after kicking the game winning, 57-yard field goal. (Courtesy “The Gazette”)

What do I really need to say about this game? We all remember it. Iowa played a close game against a good Pitt team (Which is currently 2nd in its division), and the game came down to the wire. Iowa picked up tempo late, but so did Pittsburgh. Iowa got the ball up to Pitt’s 42 after a long QB draw by Beathard, and Iowa was in position to kick the field goal, and well, the rest is history.

Iowa won 27-24.

Game Four: Iowa vs North Texas

This game looked easy before the season even started, and at this point, everyone knew it would be a cakewalk. North Texas had already been blown out by bad teams, and Iowa was expected to do the same. Jewell and Bower both had pick-sixes. King had big returns on North Texas’s kicks. The second team got lots of playing time. Overall, this was a boring game against a boring opponent. Iowa wins 63-16.

Game Five: Iowa @ Wisconsin

Courtesy "The Gazette"

Iowa took the bull by the horns (or the base) after a win against rival Wisconsin. (Courtesy “The Gazette”)

Surely this is where Iowa’s good season comes crashing down, right? Wrong. Iowa went up to Camp Randall Stadium on a windy Saturday morning and played good defense to beat a ranked Wisconsin team in their own house in a low-scoring game. It’s as simple as that. Wisconsin is a traditionally good football team, and this year is really no exception. Wisconsin is good. They’ve won 9 games.

Beathard wasn’t getting much done through the air, and had a QBR of only 18.9 (Wisconsin QB Stave’s QBR was only 9.7, however), but Canzeri was able to take control of the ground, and smash the ball up the Wisconsin defense’s throats.  Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, and Wisconsin’s turnovers eventually led to its downfall. Iowa wins 10-6.

Game Six: Iowa vs Illinois

This game was when Canzeri had his stellar performance, getting 256 yards on 43 carries. He was the only running back to touch the ball, which is crazy to think about when Iowa uses a four-man rotation now. Beathard also had a great day passing to true-freshman Jerminic Smith. Beathard passed for a total of 200 yards, and the Hawks moved kept on chugging to be halfway through the perfect season. Iowa won 29-20.

Game Seven: Iowa @ Northwestern

Akrum Wadley

Arum Wadley dominates against Northwestern’s defense.

Wisconsin was overrated, but Northwestern is truly the team to beat in the B1G West, Right? Wrong again. Iowa curb stomped Northwestern with lots injured Hawks. Daniels was out. Canzeri got hurt early. Beathard had severely limited mobility, same with T. Smith. This is the game that got Akrum Wadley in to the regular rotation. He ran for 204 yards and 4 touchdowns. Derrick Mitchell Jr. also got a significant amount of carries

This game put Iowa high in the rankings, and first in the Big Ten West. This is when things started to feel real. Iowa was 7 games in without a loss, and they’ve beat two top-25 teams on the road. Iowa is shaping up to look like a conference title contender, and maybe even a playoff team. This game helped Iowa fans be reassured in their team. Iowa won 40-10.

Game Eight: Iowa vs Maryland

Iowa’s first game as a top ten team, and their first game at home in quite a while. This game was pretty boring, however. I remember being disappointed with how Iowa played. They let Maryland have big drives and they passed the ball pretty well. This is the game where Desmond King had his pick-six, and then Will Likely had his kick return for touchdown. Iowa still won by a big cushion, but they didn’t look like a team that would finish 12-0. Iowa won 31-15.

Game Nine: Iowa @ Indiana

I actually completely forgot this game. Literally. I was just about to write the Minnesota section when I realized that things didn’t add up right. This was a game that people thought would be tough for Iowa. Indiana has a really good offense, and RB Jordan Howard was expected to do damage to the Iowa defense, and he did. He got 174 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns, but Iowa’s passing game was alive, and Wadley and Daniels ran for over 200 yards combined. Iowa won 35-27.

Game Ten: Iowa vs Minnesota

Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Austin Blythe (63) and defensive end Melvin Spears (49) carry the Floyd of Rosedale trophy back to the locker room following their victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday, November 14, 2015 at Kinnick Stadium. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Austin Blythe (63) and defensive end Melvin Spears (49) carry the Floyd of Rosedale trophy back to the locker room following their victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday, November 14, 2015 at Kinnick Stadium. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

The second night game of the season was almost more exciting than the first, and we all remember how that ended (For those with bad memory, scroll up to the Pitt game). Iowa had some great looking blackout uniforms, and they wanted to win back the Floyd of Rosedale to stay undefeated. Iowa did just that and more, and they looked good doing it.

One of the memories I will always remember was driving to the game and having my friend hold the phone up so I could watch the hit film (above) while i headed down I-80 in gameday traffic. Well worth it. That video got me properly hyped for the most anticipated game thus far. The uniforms were amazing. The atmosphere was electric. The rivalry was strong. Lots of hatred for the team in maroon & yellow, and they couldn’t handle the pressure of the black & gold.

Iowa wins this one 40-35.

Game Eleven: Iowa vs Purdue

And after all that hype, this. It was senior day, and it was a snowy one. The field got cleared of the snow, and Iowa sent its seniors out with a bang. Iowa kept its foot on the gas the whole game offensively, and minus a short defensive lapse, dominated the game on both sides of the ball.

This was also the game where Iowa clinched the B1G West, and a grand celebration was had. I even got a really cool, overpriced championship t-shirt on my way out of Kinnick after a long walk through its concourses. Leaving Kinnick that day was bittersweet. It was all over for Iowa at home for another 10 months, but Iowa was leaving undefeated, and heading to much greater things. Thank you, Kinnick Stadium, for being awesome for 86 years. Iowa wins 40-20.

Game Twelve: Iowa @ Nebraska

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Iowa celebrates its win over Nebraska and perfect season on Tom Osborn field in Lincoln, Nebraska (Courtesy: “The Gazette”)

Where it ends, for now. Everyone thought Iowa would lose, but people had been saying that all season. Long story short, Iowa didn’t lose. Should they have? Maybe. They didn’t play that well, and save for 3 big plays, Iowa could have easily lost this one. All that matters though is that they didn’t. Iowa came out victorious and Nebraska would miss a bowl game due to their losing record (Well not necessarily. They could still make one).

Iowa celebrated much more than winning the forced “Heroes Trophy” against a poor Nebraska team. They celebrated the undefeated season, and got one step closer to the playoffs. Iowa had finally done it, and it couldn’t get much better. Iowa overcame the 7-6 season last year and all the grief from the national media. Iowa won 28-20, and we’re moving on to the Big Ten Championship. See you in Indianapolis. It’s great to be a Hawkeye!

 

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Iowa @ Nebraska – Postgame Anyalysis http://forblackforgold.com/2015/11/iowa-nebraska-postgame-anyalysis/ http://forblackforgold.com/2015/11/iowa-nebraska-postgame-anyalysis/#respond Mon, 30 Nov 2015 02:39:03 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=169 See you in Indy.

The Iowa Hawkeyes finished their perfect regular season with a 28-20 win against Nebraska on Black Friday. After the game, the Hawkeye fans could breathe a sigh of relief, but they didn’t. They cheered. The Hawkeyes celebrated the victory in Memorial Stadium for what was at least 20 minutes after the game had come to an end, and it was glorious.

Iowa isn’t done, however. While most teams are preparing for bowl season, Iowa’s preparing for Michigan State. Being 12-0 is great, but being 13-0 is much better. 13-0 secures Iowa a bid to the playoffs. 13-0 can silence the haters saying Iowa has no good wins. 13-0 means Iowa is the outright Big Ten Champion. 13-0 means everything.

Iowa didn’t play very well this weekend, and that’s worrisome. Iowa had turnovers, bad passes, allowed big plays, and injuries. There’s no doubt that Michigan State and Ohio State played better than Iowa. Iowa could very easily drop out of the rankings and let Michigan State in, but there’s a slim chance of that happening. It would be very bizarre for a team to get jumped without losing, but it has happened. Look at Baylor and TCU from last year. Of course, Iowa getting jumped by Michigan State wouldn’t mean anything. Whichever team wins is in.

Lincoln went by a new name on Friday: Pick City. Iowa recorded 4 interceptions, but current record-tyer Desmond King didn’t have any of them. He was suspended the first quarter for missing a team meeting during the week. Parker Hesse even had a pick-six at the 4-yard line. Mabin, Jewell, and Fisher each had an interception to help Iowa win the game.

Jordan Canzeri had a stellar night getting two rushing touchdowns. He broke 29 and 68-yard rushes for touchdowns. Iowa’s run game was strong due to the fact that high winds were preventing Beathard from making the passes he normally makes. Iowa actually had less yards then Nebraska had, but the pick-six and three other interceptions are the real reason Iowa won this game. Iowa definitely has a championship-level defense, and in normal conditions (like the ones Iowa will play in for the rest of their games) Iowa’s offense can do damage on the ground and in the air.

Iowa plays in the Big Ten Championship against Michigan State on Saturday, and what Iowa needs to do is crystal clear. If Iowa loses, they might not make it to the Rose Bowl, but nothing is set in stone. All we can do is sit back and let the boys battle it out. The facts are simple. Iowa is one of the best teams in the nation. It’s great to be a Hawkeye.

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Iowa @ Nebraska – Pregame Thoughts http://forblackforgold.com/2015/11/iowa-nebraska-pregame-thoughts/ http://forblackforgold.com/2015/11/iowa-nebraska-pregame-thoughts/#respond Fri, 27 Nov 2015 14:00:20 +0000 http://forblackforgold.com/?p=162 It all comes down to this.

This is the end. Iowa’s cinderella-story regular season has finally hit its finale, its denouement. The curtain is closing, but Iowa’s ready for the curtain call. If Iowa wins just two more games, they’re in. Their road to the playoffs starts now. While a loss tomorrow wouldn’t end Iowa’s season or prevent them from making the Big Ten Championship, it would ruin their playoff chances, barring a total college football meltdown in the next two weeks.

Iowa’s nothing if not prepared for this game, and it’s their game to lose. Nebraska is 5-6, and frankly a record like that is embarrassing. Granted, that record doesn’t reflect the way that they play. Nebraska has lost four games that were all decided in the final minute, but that isn’t just luck. Nebraska loses games. It’s what they do. They can’t put a game away and end it when it matters the most.

Nebraska has had two weeks to prepare for Iowa’s dual-threat offense, so the Hawks need to make sure that they make enough changes in the offense, so that Nebraska has to make game-time changes. Nebraska has an absolutely horrible pass defense, so Iowa should be able to get lots of yards through the air tomorrow.

Iowa is a really well-rounded team in all aspects of play. They aren’t bad at anything, and they aren’t really amazing at anything either. If they play against a good rush defense, they can pass the ball to win the game. If they play against a good pass defense, they can run the ball to win the game. Same goes for their defense. They can stop the run and pass games.

This game is a rivalry, but it isn’t really a rivalry, but this game is becoming a rivalry. It was a forced trophy by the B1G when Nebraska joined the conference, but there’s lots of tension between the neighboring states. If Iowa gets to celebrate an undefeated season on Nebraska’s home turf, it’s only going to be a catalyst accelerating what is slowly becoming one of Iowa’s biggest rivalries.

Honestly I don’t really have predictions for the game. I really can’t tell what is going to happen today. Will Nebraska be rusty going two weeks without playing? Will they come out well rested and ready to hit? Will Nebraska have good game management? Will CJ be able to pass the ball well with the possible weather? Questions like these make this game so difficult to read.

The optimist in me sees Iowa winning 35 – 20, but the pessimist, undecided me sees Iowa losing 27-28 in overtime after Koehn misses the final extra point. Why do I think that, you ask? Well earlier in the week I was playing NCAA 2014, and Iowa lost in this exact scenario. Foreshadowing? Fate? Only time will tell. Let’s bring it home, boys.

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