Friday, July 13, 2007

Breaking Down: The Iowa Hawkeyes

In week six Penn State returns home after back-to-back weeks on the road (Michigan and Illinois), at least the have two weeks without having to clean the stadium on Sunday! The Hawkeyes come off a disappointing 7-6 2006 campaign. This is not to say Iowa is without talent, the last time we saw the Hawkeyes play Iowa lost to Texas 26-24 in the Alamo bowl. Certainly, it was a road game for Iowa and they still gave a good Texas team a run for their money. Iowa has many a good blogger including Kinnick North and Hawkeye State, check them out and expand your personal blogosphere. And now, on to the Breakdown.

Iowa returns Young and Sims in the backfield and will be done by committee yet again. THis is not to say that the committee in question was ineffective as they racked up 1443 yds between the two of them and averaging 4.7 YPC. Did I not mention that they combined for 13 touchdowns? Hmmm...Weird. Even if you aren't a fan of RB by commitee you have to admit that both backs are talented and this makes the Iowa backfield deep, if nothing else. What is odd is that only Sims breached the century mark, against Purdue, all year. Truly a committee of equals. Good luck with all that. All Joking aside, stopping the run is a critical component to beating the Hawkeyes. The fact that an inexperienced QB will be manning the helm will make the Lion's defensive-task all the easier.

The passing game, however, was clearly manned by Drew Tate in 2006 as he threw for 2623 yds while completing 58% of his passes. Sadly, graduation is a real bastard in college football and Sophomore Jake Christensen will be calling the signals this fall. Christensen did complete nearly 66% of his passes for 285 yards in 2006. The future is bright, right? Well, 256 of those yards (and both TDs) came against Northern Illinois. Not really a performance to hang your hat on. My suspicion is that Iowa will try to establish the run early and get the play-action-passing-game going. The O-line also gave up 20 sacks last season (yikes) and will have to perform better in 2007 if the Hawkeyes are to have a good year. The WRs are young and talented but will have to continue to play very well and adjust to having Christensen at the reins. Again, my prescription for victory is a heavy dose of pressure. Go for the QB boys, and if you happen to tackle the RB along the way, good for you!

The Hawkeye defense gave up nearly 21 pts/game in 2007, however, they only graduated three players on defense. With 8 starters returning the Hawkeyes are sure to improve on the defensive side of the ball. If the Hawkeyes can improve on Defense and control the ball the Hawkeyes could be very dangerous this year. However, if the Offense can't keep the defense off the field the Hawkeyes will struggle.

The Hawkeyes will roll into Happy Valley with a 4-1 record with their only loss being to Wisconsin on the road. The Lions will have to try to focus on Iowa and not look ahead to next Wisconsin the following week. The game will come down to Iowa turnovers, as the PSU secondary will feast on a young Iowa passing attack by picking off Christensen three times and converting these turnovers into points. The Iowa running game will do it's damage but the offense will struggle in the red zone.

Final Score!
PSU: 24
Iowa: 16



Hawkeye State said...

Iowa 146, Penn State 2.

Thanks for the link. I've always enjoyed your site, but have criminally omitted it from the blogroll. Amends will be made.

JB said...

Ha! That would be reminiscent of the 6-4 thrashing Iowa gave us in 2004. Just pitiful.

Hawkeye State said...

That was quite possibly the worst game I've ever seen.

Giving up the second safety to get PSU to 4 points was what made it magical.