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Effort 10/26/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The Iowa Hawkeye football team is 8-0 for the first time in school history.   They currently have a 12 game winning streak, second longest active streak in Division 1

McNutt catches the game winner against MSU with no time left.

McNutt catches the game winner against MSU with no time left.

Football Bowl Subdivision, and the longest Iowa streak since the 1920’s.  They have trailed in all but one of their games this season.  In Saturdays game, after a defensive slugfest for most of the game, Michigan State took a 13-9 lead with a 30 yard td pass with 1:37  left in the game.  Surely the Hawkeyes streak would end.  But Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi had other ideas.

The Hawkeye offense had sputtered and struggled under the Junior signal caller all day.  They had been stopped twice inside the 10 and had settled for field goals.  After the kickoff, Iowa had 70 yards to navigate and had only 1 time out remaining.  Stamzi  took what the MSU defense gave him and masterfully lead Iowa  to a 4th and goal with 2 seconds left.  Iowa used its final time out and went to the sidelines to talk it over.  Head coach Kirk  Ferentz and offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe decided on a play that, according to Stanzi after the game, was not even in the game plan.  Stanzi said they had not worked on it for a while.  Sending tight end Tony Moeaki into motion from the left side of the formation to the right side, they forced MSU’s defense to shift to cover him, leaving Hawkeye wideout Marvin McNutt with man on man coverage to the left.  McNutt fired off the line, made a hard post move inside the defender, and caught the Stanzi pass for the game winning score.  That play embodied the Hawkeye season to date.  You have to make a play.    I think ‘the old ball coach’ Steve Spurrier summed up Iowa best during an interview earlier in the week.

Discussing the BCS rankings, Spurrier was asked about the Iowa team.  he summed Iowa up this way.  Is Iowa the most talented team around?  No.  But they just keep

Iowa QB Stanzi releases the game winning pass to McNutt

Iowa QB Stanzi releases the game winning pass to McNutt

coming after you.  They keep hitting you until you give up.  I don’t think anyone wants to play Iowa.  Spurrier should know.  His South Carolina team was destroyed by the Hawkeyes 31-10 in the Outback Bowl on January 1.  You have to make a play.  That final play showed what Iowa is about.  Stanzi was not heavily recruited out of High School.  Home state behemoth Ohio State did not want him.  When he came to Iowa, he was behind highly recruited Jake Christensen for the qb job.  Early last year, the kid no one wanted beat out the Parade All American and took over the job.  Iowa is in the National Championship picture with Stanzi this year.  The ‘pretty’ qb transfered and is playing at Eastern Illinois.  Another player in the qb fight last year was Marvin McNutt.  When McNutt could not win the position, he did not transfer, he switched positions.  He became a wide out, and the Sophomore has become an important cog in the Iowa offense.  He caught the first pass on the game winning drive, and he caught the last. 

Iowa wins ugly.  They have not blown any one out.  They had to overcome double digit leads at Penn State and at Wisconsin.  They won close games over Northern Iowa and Arkansas State.  In the UNI game, they blocked the potential game winning field goal not once, but twice, on successive plays.  They do not get style points.  In the human polls they rank 7th in  the AP poll this week and 8th in the Coaches poll, which is a component of the BCS rankings.  The computers like Iowa better than the human polls.  They have Iowa ranked first overall.  The computers give Iowa credit for having played the 4th toughest schedule in the nation to date.  Iowa’s FBS opponents are a combined 33-12 in games excluding their losses against Iowa.  That’s a 73% winning percentage.  Because of the computer influence, Iowa is 4th in this weeks BCS poll.  Iowa is a defensive oriented team.  They are a young team.  They lead the Nation in interceptions with 15, and rank 4th in over all take aways, despite having only 4 Seniors in the defensive 2 deep depth chart.  On Offense, their 2 running backs are a Freshman and a red shirt Freshman.  This is a young, tough nosed team that values effort over everything.  They may not look pretty, but they find a way to win. 

You have to make a play.

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