|If you followed Coach Ferentz’s press conference yesterday or have read any of the recaps on what took place, you should know that he was asked quite a bit about his decision to play Jake Christensen at quarterback the entire second half against Pittsburgh. While Jake struggled through the 3rd and 4th quarters, this week’s starter Sophomore Ricky Stanzi watched from the sideline as the Hawkeyes lost 21-20. Sure it seemed like a questionable decision at the time, and is still hard to understand today. Especially when considering Stanzi’s 7-for-10 effort in the first half at Pitt compared to what we saw from Jake. But there is a bigger concern that should have been taken from the Pittsburgh loss and a better question that I wish would have been asked at yesterday's press conference.|
What happened to the run game and why was Shonn Greene only given 3 carries the entire 4th quarter?
You didn’t have to know much about football to understand on Saturday that Iowa’s running back Shonn Greene was the best player on the field. Certainly, Greene was the best player on the offensive side of the ball for the Hawkeyes. Through three quarters, Greene had rushed for 134 yards on 20 carries. How is it then, in a tight ball game, he only carries the ball three more times in the 4th quarter for a total of 14 yards? For whatever reason, the running game was forgotten down the stretch and it definitely shouldn’t have been. Shonn Greene should have been at the center of Iowa’s fourth quarter offense, and because he wasn’t, the Hawkeyes lost a game that was there for the taking.
Pittsburgh punted to Iowa with 4:42 left in the game clinging to a slim 21-20 lead. The Panther’s punt would sail into the endzone for a touchback, and the Hawkeyes took over at the 20 needing just a field goal to take the lead with more than 4 ½ minutes to play. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who Iowa had under center at that point, in the most important drive of the game, facing just a one-point deficit, Shonn Greene should have gotten the ball. But instead the Hawkeyes ran six straight pass plays, gained 14 yards, and were forced to punt the ball back to Pitt. At that point in the game, down just one point, Iowa had all three timeouts, and a running back averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Instead of riding Greene to victory, the game was lost thanks to an inconsistent passing game and some very strange play calling.
Why was your best offensive player not given a chance to win the game? Why was Shonn Greene not given even ONE carry in the final five minutes of a 1-point game? Those are the questions that should have been asked yesterday. If he’s strong enough and healthy enough to be in the game, then he should have been given the chance to help Iowa get into field goal position for the potential game-winner.