Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An obligatory look at Iowa

About the University
The University of Iowa was originally named The State University of Iowa, and this remains the institution's legal name. The State University of Iowa was founded February 25, 1847 as Iowa's first public institution of higher learning, only 59 days after Iowa became a state. Despite its legal name, it is not to be confused with Iowa State University.
No wonder there is such animosity between Iowa and Iowa State… I mean THE State University of Iowa and Iowa State Universi… my head hurts.

Cool Fact
The University of Iowa is also the home to the National Advanced Driving Simulator (a virtual reality driving simulator.)
That's right people, Iowa is home to NADS (their acronym, not mine) and boy are they proud of their NADS.

That's some impressive NADS.

Football related datum
Current Record: 3 – 0
Last year's Record: 9 – 4 – Destroyed South Carolina in the Outback Bowl (31-10)

… and lest we forget:

The scary side of things

Where to start? Their defense is very good. Sophomore SS Tyler Sash leads the conference and is tied for 3rd nationally with 4 interceptions already. In fact Iowa is best in the conference in Pass Defense and Pass Efficiency Defense (and 11th nationally). The back seven were supposed to be the strength of this defense and for the most part that has played out, especially the secondary. The aforementioned Sash and his counterpart FS Brett Greenwood lead the team in tackles with 14 and 12 respectively. Corner Amari Spievey also has chipped in with 12 tackles. When your three leading tacklers are in the secondary it's usually a sign of poor linebacker play but that's not the case with Iowa. The Hawkeyes have three returning starters in A.J. Edds, Jeremiha Hunter, and returning All-Conference and All-Name Pat Angerer-ererer. The linebackers haven't got things going yet but don't kid yourself they are as good as anyone in the Big Ten.

The offense, at least on paper, doesn't strike fear for defensive coordinators but they are a typical Iowa team with big corn-fed offensive lineman led by Bryan Bulaga who missed the last two games with an undisclosed illness* PSU might get a break because Bulaga and starting WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos are not currently listed on the depth chart but coach Ferentz said "there's a chance" they could play. QB Ricky Stanzi is solid completing 60% of his passes with a 5-3 TD-INT ratio. Against Penn State we'll probably see a ball control, let's not make a mistake on the road kind of offense from Iowa, especially if Sean Lee can't go.

Punter Ryan Donahue averages almost 45 yards per punt and Iowa is 1st in the conference in net punting. Unlike Penn State they know how to cover punts. Kicker Daniel Murray has only attempted 4 field goals but has made good on all but one forgivable 48 yard attempt.

The not-so-scary side of things

Shonn Greene left for the NFL early and took with him a lot of the Iowa offense. The Hawkeyes are led in rushing by someone named Adam Robinson who's rushed for 237 yards and 2 TD's. TE Tony Moeaki is tied for the lead in receptions but he may be out Saturday.

Iowa lost two big cogs in last year's defense when Mitch King and Matt Kroul graduated and no one has stepped up to fill their shoes. DL Karl Klug leads the team with 3.5 TFL and 2 sacks but the team as a whole has only had 4 sacks total. Iowa's rushing defense is in the bottom of the Big Ten. Like Penn State, the return teams are nothing to write home about.

Game Outlook

Granted we know nothing about Penn State yet so this game could go any way. Look for Iowa to soften up the middle of the defense early especially if Lee can't go. In a late game start with a hostile crowd with revenge on their minds, I'm sure Ferentz won't take chances early. If Iowa can establish the run with their big offensive line the play action pass will be open later and Stanzi's good enough to pick PSU's secondary apart. Penn State will probably try to do the same thing. Establish the run and use play action and roll-outs with Clark moving the pocket to take pressure off because Iowa will most likely blitz and force Clark to beat them, with that great secondary I know I would.

TNL's Prediction

When I first looked at this game I thought Penn State had a bad matchup but now that I look at these two teams it's really close. Penn State actually matches up well against Iowa. Neither team is going to win with special teams and both teams have great punters and strong defenses capable of playing the field-position game. Last year I was skeptical about the Iowa game but this year I feel a little better. Penn State has the revenge factor and crowd on their side, I expect it to be a hard fought game but I think Penn State pulls it out in the end.

Penn State 21
Iowa 15

*we'll just assume its herpes

1 comment:

Hostpph.com said...

It is quite impressive that they have that kind of simulator there. I would like to try it out.