Surviving Youth 10/18/2009Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: badgers, bcs championship, big ten, football, hawkeyes, iowa football, ncaa, rose bowl, Wisconsin
Iowa spotted Wisconsin 10 points, then defeated the Badgers by a score of 20-10 in Wisconsin Saturday. Iowa also received a gift in the form of Purdue’s upset of Ohio State to place
the Hawkeyes solidly in the driver’s seat in the Big 10 race. Iowa, at 7-0 and 3-0, is the only undefeated Big 10 team.
The Hawkeyes came into the contest ranked 11th in the nation in the AP poll. Surely, they will find themselves in the top 8 this week. They won this game in the same way they have won every game so far. This team relies on its defense. It relies on dominating the line of scrimmage, both offensively and defensively. If an opponent is going to get to this team, they better do it early. Wisconsin learned that Saturday. The Badgers were able to move the ball early. Their first 3 drives resulted in a punt, field goal and touchdown. They amassed 164 yards of offense and a 10 point lead. Midway through the second quarter, however, Iowa’s defensive line began to get consistent penetration, and the Badgers managed only 68 yards the rest of the way. The pressure also resulted in 3 Hawkeye interceptions. That ability of Iowa to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, usually with only a 4 man rush, has helped Iowa to lead the nation in interceptions with 15. The Hawkeyes are also the 16th best scoring defense, allowing only 15 points per contest. Offensively, the opposite happens. Iowa’s first 3 possessions against the Badgers netted only 35 yards. Then, as the o-line gained control of the line of scrimmage, Iowa went on to gain 250 yards and score 20 points.
The amazing thing about Iowa’s defense is not that they are good. It is that they are young. The 2 deep depth chart for this weeks game at Wisconsin included only 4 seniors, linebackers Pat Angerer and A. J. Edds, lineman Travis Meade and safety Joe Conklin. Amazingly, there are 8 sophomores listed among the 22 players. Defensive
mainstays Tyler Sash (tied for the national lead with 5 interceptions) and end Broderick Binns ( a mainstay on the line with 31 tackles and 3.5 sacks) are included in that group. Binns also is credited with one of the two blocked kicks that saved the UNI game. There are also 9 freshmen or sophomores listed in the offensive 2 deep this week. This is a good young team. I point to the youth of this team because there are some heady things being bandied about in Iowa City. There is a lot of talk about a Rose Bowl or even a National Championship Game birth for the Hawkeyes. It is important that this young team remain focused, because there is a lot of work ahead for the Hawkeyes. Road games at Michigan State Saturday, and at Ohio State in November will not be easy. In addition, the Hawkeyes still must host Indiana, Northwestern and Minnesota in Iowa City. Iowa must remain undefeated to have a shot at the Championship game. They can probably survive a loss and still be the Big Ten champion. It is hard enough for a veteran team to remain focused on the task at hand. It is that much more difficult to keep a youthful team from looking ahead. The margin for error is miniscule. You want this team to play in the championship game or Rose Bowl Hawkeye fans? Then do them a favor and quit talking about it. Allow them to focus on the Spartans. Then on the Hoosiers, Wildcats, Buckeyes and Gophers in turn. It is way too early to be looking to Bowl season.
If this team remains focused and takes care of business each week, the rewards will be there at the end.