Iowa Hawkeyes: Identity established in Indiana win

 Hawkeyes offense was on display Saturday


Oct 11, 2014; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Jonathan Parker (10) is congratulated by running back Jordan Canzeri (33) after scoring against the Indiana Hoosiers at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa beat Indiana 45-29.  (Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports)

IOWA CITY, Iowa, (C+P) — Iowa looked like they fielded an entire new team this past Saturday against Indiana as the offense was explosive, and the run defense was awful in a 45-29 win over Indiana at Kinnick Stadium.

The big story surrounding the Hawkeye team was the quarterback position, and it seems like it is pretty much solved. Starter Jake Rudock played the majority of the game and had by far his best game of the season. Rudock went 19 out of 27 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Rudock for the most part looked great, epitomized by perhaps the best throw from any Hawkeye quarterback yet this season with a 72 yard touchdown pass to Damond Powell.

Oct 11, 2014; Iowa City, IA, USA;
Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Jake Rudock (15) passes the ball against the Indiana Hoosiers. (Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports)

Meanwhile, backup quarterback C.J. Beathard had a forgettable day in his limited action going 2-5 for only 9 yards. He just looked off all throughout the day. This does not mean that we will not see him at all for the rest of the season, but it is safe to say that the calls for him to start will die down.

Enough about the quarterbacks, let’s talk about Iowa’s offense as a whole. They racked up 38 points (Desmond King had the other seven on a tremendous one-handed interception) and 426 yards of offense. Iowa scored 28 points in less than four minutes at one point in the first quarter. That is explosive.

One big difference between this game and all the others was that Iowa put in a great effort to get the ball to their electric playmakers. Here are some examples:

  • Jonathan Parker, Iowa’s speedy redshirt freshman running back, took a jet sweep 60 yards for a touchdown.
  • Damond Powell had a 72 yard touchdown reception. Right now he averages 25.4 yards per reception at Iowa. Iowa should probably try and get him the ball more.
  • Tevaun Smith had four receptions for a season-high 69 yards. He also drew multiple pass interference calls when he beat the corners deep.

Because Iowa kept giving it to their playmakers, the offense looked way more threatening than any other time this season. If they continue with this strategy then Iowa may find themselves in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.

However, if that happens then Iowa’s run defense will have to improve. When the opposing starting running back averages 14.6 yards per carry, you should start to worry. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman was a one man offense as he ran for 219 yards on only 15 carries. He had three huge touchdown runs for 83, 45 and 69 yards. If you take away those three carries, he only has 12 carries for 18 yards.

The main culprit for those big carries was gap responsibility. Too often the linebackers and safeties were too slow to fill up the gaps or would run right into a Hoosier offensive linemen and boom, Coleman was gone. Overall, Indiana was able to put up 316 total rushing yards on Iowa. Iowa has to tighten up the run defense.

The Iowa pass defense was amazing though they did have some help by knocking Hoosier starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld out of the game a little before half. Sudfeld was not on his way to a productive afternoon as he was 4-9 for 85 yards with 62 of them coming from one pass. He also had an interception.

After Sudfeld was on the sideline, it was up to freshman Chris Covington. Covington is more of an athlete than a quarterback and it showed. He went 3-12 for only 31 yards and two interceptions. Up until the end of the game he only had one pass completed for negative yards. The corners bottled up the wide receivers pretty well save a couple of plays. Desmond King showed once again why he might be the best defensive back in the Big Ten with an amazing one-handed interception returned for a touchdown.

The defensive line continued with their dominance putting on continuous pressure on the Indiana quarterbacks. They were relentless, constantly in the backfield. They have continued to carry the Iowa defense, and they will be very important next week against Maryland.

After this game, I think Iowa actually can win the Big Ten. I was hesitant before but after seeing Iowa’s offense show an explosive side, I think they can win it. They have been maddeningly inconsistent, but they have shown all the pieces needed to win the Big Ten. They just need to put it all together.



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