The Hawks Look to Use the Bye Week to Prepare for Michigan State

Floyd has returned to Iowa City! Iowa defeated Minnesota last week 31-13 at Kinnick Stadium and reclaimed the Floyd of Rosedale, which Minnesota has held for the past two years.  The Hawkeyes looked sharp in the first half of the game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  The Gophers were only able to scrape together 75 yards in the first half of the game against the Hawkeyes 21st ranked defense, which is allowing only 315 yards per game.  Iowa is also ranked the 29th scoring defense in the nation.

(23) Jordan Cotton scored a touchdown on a 47-yard flea-flicker in the Hawks 31-13 beat down of Rival Minnesota on Saturday September 29.

The Hawks’ scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to lead the previously unbeaten Gophers 24-0 at halftime. The first score came on a Mark Wiesman 8-yard run. Iowa followed that up with a little razzle-dazzle from the playbook of Greg Davis.  On the first play of the next drive, quarterback James Vandenberg and Weisman pulled off a flea-flicker, with Vandenberg tossing a 47-yard bomb to Jordan Cotton for the score.  The third touchdown came on a 1-yard Vandenberg run.

Weisman again had a game to remember.  He ran the ball 21 times for 177 yards and one touchdown.  Weisman now had 515 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Weisman has only been the Hawks lead ball carrier for two and a half games after replacing Damon Bullock in the third game of the season. He saw limited action in the two contests prior to that game.

Weisman and the Hawks have a much deserved week off, and their next game will be October 13th at Michigan State. Iowa will use the week off to improve an offense that has relied too heavily on Weisman since he took over the starting running back job. Vandenberg and his receivers haven’t looked to be on the same page in the early-goings of the season. It looks as if the QB and his receivers are often making incorrect reads in the option route system Davis has put into place.  Several times throughout the game against the Gophers, Vandy would throw the ball to one spot with his receiver having broken away to another spot on the field.

If the problem is simply the reads the QB and receivers are making, than hopefully the extra week of practice and preparation for the Spartans will give the Iowa players a better understanding of the reads they need to be making.

Michigan State’s is ranked 9th nationally in total defense, so the Hawkeyes will need to use both the legs of Mark Weisman and the arm of James Vandenberg to move the ball against such a stout defense.

Michigan State looked like the favorite to win the Big Ten in the preseason but has looked vulnerable early on. The Spartans escaped with a narrow 17-13 victory over Boise State on opening weekend and have since lost to No. 9 Notre Dame 20-3 and 17-16 to No. 12 Ohio State, both at home. The Spartans also struggled against Eastern Michigan before putting them away late.

Michigan State and Iowa are ranked 79th and 92nd respectively in total offense, so look for next Saturday’s game at Spartans Stadium in East Lansing to be a defensive slugfest. Michigan State must travel to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers this weekend, while Iowa has the extra week to prepare for their divisional foe. I believe Kirk Ferentz and Greg Davis will take full advantage of this week, and have Iowa well prepared for the Spartans. I’m taking Iowa in a hard-fought low-scoring game 20-16.

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