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Miller Time: Michigan State Postgame

Miller Time: Michigan State Postgame

10/13/2002 by Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation

 

Talk about a tail whoopin. Man, did Iowa’s defensive line ever dominate that football game.

Is anyone else noticing the technique that Matt Roth is adding to his Kampman-like bull rush?

It appears the tackle was focusing on just trying to contain Matt's straight ahead rush that he had been employing in many of the recent games, but Roth added a few new tricks to his bag this week. Matt got two sacks on the old outside fake-swim inside move...just a thing of beauty that I watched over and over on the tape. When you start doing things like that with Matt's strength and speed, it's pretty much over for most offensive tackles and that is when the double teams start coming.

Except you can't double team Roth, because you are already doubling down on Colin Cole and or Jared Clauss.

Clauss just keeps getting better and better. He is grading out incredibly well on tape, and he is strong...there was one play late in the game where MSU had pulled Smoker and Clauss literally pushed the lineman back into the quarterback. Unreal.

Howard Hodges, Jonathon Babineaux and Cole are playing very well.

The older I get, I am getting a better understanding about the wonderful game of football.

When I was younger, I focused on the skill position players, as I was a former receiver and looked at a game through that mind set. But now, I spend much more time watching the line during a game and when I watch the tape, I just keep rewinding and watching the art form of the DL's and OL's.

I highly recommend that you tape the games and then watch the line play of this football team.

You are missing out on something special if you don't do it.

# # # # # # # #

What an amazing turnaround from three years ago. It's hard to believe it could happen so quickly, but we are looking at possibly.... possibly, one of the best Iowa teams in the last what, 40 years?

I know there are still five games to be played, but this Hawkeye team clearly has a shot to win them all the rest of the way.

Keep in mind that no Iowa team has ever finished higher than 10th in the final AP poll of the season, and Iowa has finished in the final Top 25 poll just twice in the last decade.

I am not saying that any of the five games are easy outs. Indiana just beat Wisconsin and I felt up until yesterday that Wisky was going to be Iowa's toughest opponent the rest of season due to their balanced offense.

But it's becoming clearer each and every week that their one-time vaunted offensive line is still above average, but they are not the impenetrable force that everyone thought they would be at the start of the season.

They will still be dangerous and Bollinger’s ability to run the ball has be concerned, but the Hawkeyes will be at least a touchdown favorite at home.

The trip to Michigan is always difficult, but the Hawkeyes will be game. They have already played in front of the largest crowd to ever witness an Iowa football game when 108,247 fans packed into Beaver Stadium at State College, PA a few weeks back.

After storming to a 23-point lead, the Hawkeyes still maintained their poise and won in overtime, on the road against possibly the best college football coach of all time.

Will Iowa be intimidated at Michigan? I really don’t think so. Iowa matches up well with the Wolverines, to be honest. That game is going to be a smack in the mouth physical contest. Iowa’s special teams could be the difference in that one. Michigan quarterback John Navarre had a solid game against Penn State, but the Hawkeyes have already faced a murderer’s row of great quarterbacks. Navarre is not a great quarterback.

Michigan managed just 98 yards rushing against the Nittany Lion front that surrendered more than 200 yards rushing to the Hawkeyes. Michigan allowed 81 yards rushing on 28 attempts against Penn State. Iowa allowed 54 yards rushing on 27 attempts against the Nittany Lions.

I know, stats are for losers. But Michigan has not looked like the Michigan teams of yore this season.

This is the same team that beat Utah 10-7 at home. They are a good, solid football team. But the Hawkeyes are not going to go into the Big House thinking of anything less than getting the ‘W’.

Minnesota is a solid club as well and the trip to Minneapolis is always cause for concern among the Iowa faithful. They have a very good quarterback who can beat you with his legs as well as his arm. They have a solid ground game as well.

But their defense is going to surrender points and Iowa should be favored in that game as well.

Northwestern is playing much better now than it was when it started the year by getting mauled at Air Force (a good football team by the way) and losing to TCU, Duke (horrible loss) and Navy.

But the Hawkeyes should have little trouble dispatching the Wildcats at home.

QB Gibran Hamdan is coming off of a great performance against the Badgers and Gerry DiNardo is a good coach, but the Hawkeyes are going to be the prohibitive favorite.

Before the season began, I felt that the games against Iowa State, Purdue, Michigan State and Wisconsin would be the ‘swing’ games for the program. If the Hawkeyes went 2-2 in those games, I felt they would have an eight-win season. You can do the math for the other combinations.

Iowa lost to the Cyclones but they have beaten the Boilermakers and the Spartans in consecutive weeks. Before the season began, I picked the Hawkeyes to lose to Sparty as well as the game at Penn State.

Iowa is now 6-1 when I thought they would be 4-3.

Thankfully, I am wrong every once in a while (tongue firmly planted in cheek) and the Hawkeyes are better than I imagined. Not only are they beating teams, they are beating them up. Michigan State’s receivers flat out look scared in the second half. I would have been scared too, what with the Iowa defensive backs and linebackers laying the wood on every single play.

My good friend who goes by the name of Bohawk on the message boards predicted the Hawkeyes would go 11-1 this year and I told him he was on crack.

I still think the Hawkeyes are going to stumble at least once more this year, but his prediction will be closer to being right than my pick of 7-5.

This is a time where if feels good to be wrong.

# # # # # # # #

What a time for the Hawkeyes to flex their muscles. I said a few weeks back that October was going to be very critical for the future of the Hawkeye football program. A record of 3-1 or 4-0, with three of the four games on national television (ESPN will be airing the Michigan game and next week’s game is on ESPN+) could set up the Hawkeyes for a great recruiting season.

We are already seeing that, as more and more big time players are adding Iowa to their recruiting list.

Iowa will have the extra bowl practices again this year and many of the recruits will be able to visit Iowa City during the first two weeks of December and actually see how the Hawkeyes prepare and practice.

Trust me, the kids are paying attention and the Iowa coaches, who are becoming legendary pen pals, are keeping the prospects abreast of what is happening in Iowa City each and every week.

Case in point: The following excerpt is from Tom Zbikowksi’s ESPN Diary. Zbikowski is one of the top football players in the nation and Iowa is always mentioned as one of his favorites:

“Iowa continues to send the most letters. It seemed like these past weeks, I got an extra few hand-written notes from Coach Ferentz, which is cool. And the Hawkeyes looked real impressive in their last two wins over Penn State and Purdue. Some people might think it's hard for a school like Iowa to compete with Tennessee and those places, but it isn't. You have to remember, the Tennessees and Nebraskas are stacked with superstar players. If things don't work out with you, they'll bring somebody else right in and you'll sit. They're just loaded with talent. At a place like Iowa, they don't get the same number of blue chip talents, so you have to figure the coaches are that good to keep those programs winning.”

Here is the link to Zbikowski’s entire diary entry from last week: LINK

# # # # # # # #

Finally, it is time to start talking about the Bowl games, or at least start speculating.

I am not going to get too far into that today, but if the Hawkeyes don’t make it to Pasadena, I would love to see them play Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee or Texas.

Kirk Ferentz’ Hawkeyes against Bob Stoops’ Sooners? Are you kidding me?

But the first option always has been and always will be getting to Pasadena.


Hawkeye NationHawkeye Nation was founded by Jon Miller, and later acquired by Rivals and Sports Illustrated. You can visit them at HawkeyeNation.com

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Miller Time: Michigan State Postgame - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games