Midweek Update - Looking Forward to Next Week & Back at Last Weekend
|By Brian Campbell|
Hawkeyesportsnews.com Senior Writer
Iowa should end its seven-game losing streak Saturday against Missouri State at Kinnick Stadium. The beauty of scheduling non-conference opponents such as MSU is to pad the record, build the confidence of your players and inspire hope among your fan base. But in Week 1, eight FCS teams (Division I-AA) recorded victories over FBS (Division I-A) teams. I know what you’re thinking and it’s not a pleasant thought. . .
Missouri State coach Terry Allen has been around before cell phones, GPS and the internet. He coached at Kansas in 1997-2001 and at Northern Iowa in the early ‘90s before that. But he won’t need directions to find his way to Kinnick Stadium. Allen grew up in Iowa City and played quarterback for Iowa City West in the early ‘70s (before they were good), and his dad was a swimming coach with the Hawkeyes. His dream was to one day coach at Kinnick, which he did in 1995 when the Panthers lost to the Hawkeyes, 34-13. And if there were still a “knothole” section at Kinnick he could probably tell you how to sneak in there as well. . .
Before throwing a critical interception that led to the game winning field-goal for Northern Illinois, quarterback Jake Rudock had racked up an impressive stat total. His 256 yards passing were fourth-best among Hawkeyes making their first career start. Rudock showed poise and confidence on the field, but off the field his football IQ is even more impressive. He thinks like a coach, but doesn’t talk like a coach. Because he has two years of practice and study under his belt, he wasn’t overwhelmed by the moment of taking his first college snaps against NIU.
“I just understand what we are trying to do. . . ,” Rudock said. “The way we practice is really intense. Just the fact that he (coach Kirk Ferentz) makes it so much like a game that you are just playing someone different, you’re just playing a different defense.”
Ferentz brought up former Iowa quarterback Chuck Hartlieb when talking about Rudock’s debut. Hartlieb had his struggles in his first game but finished with a solid career at Iowa. Rudock, a pre-med major, fits the mold of Hartlieb and Chuck Long, among others, but he could be more advanced mentally at this stage of his career than either Hartlieb or Long. Rudock seems to be the type of quarterback who can think his way through a game and figure out how to confuse defenses. If offensive coordinator Greg Davis gives Rudock the freedom to manage the game on the field, with the right weapons around him he could join Hartlieb and Long on the list of top quarterbacks at Iowa. . .
When is a punt safe not a punt safe?
When the Hawkeyes are on defense.
For years, the Hawkeyes could get away with the little mistakes and errors because they could run the ball down your throat and play defense with abandon. Those days have been gone for three years now, so now every little mental lapse could lose a game. Against Northern Illinois, it seemed the whole stadium was expecting a fake on fourth down at the Iowa 47. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker call for a punt safe formation, except someone forgot to tell cornerback B.J. Lowery. Lowery had deep outside contain on the play, and when Tyler Wedel took the pitch on the fake punt he scooted around the outside and found nothing but empty field. Forty-two yards later, punt returner Kevonte Martin-Manley made a touchdown saving tackle. Ferentz used his typical adjectives like “miscommunication” and “correctable” to try to explain away the mistake. Lowery also got burned on a wide-open touchdown pass as well, but to his credit he owned up to his mistakes before practice on Tuesday.
“We were in deep thirds and it was on me, I didn’t get the call,” Lowery said. “I was trying to get off the field due to my cramping. . . The guy I was guarding ran out, and I was on the opposite side of the field. I should have stayed where I was at.”
Lowery left the game a short time later with a hamstring problem. He said he feels ready to play against MSU but will leave it up to the coaches to decide.