November 25, 2012
Hawkeye Report Card
The Hawkeyes wrapped up the regular season with a loss to Nebraska. While Iowa play tough against the Legends Division champs, once again the lack of offense for the Hawkeyes proved to be their undoing. We take one last look back at the 13-7 loss to the Cornhuskers and offer up our position by position report card.
It's been a rough senior season for James Vandenberg and that trend continued against a tough Nebraska defense. One thing that has to be taken into account today when grading Vandenberg's performance was the wind. It was a big factor for both teams passing games. Vandenberg threw the ball 24 times, completing 11 for just 92 yards. His best throw of the day was probably the first drive of the game when he hit C.J. Fiedorowicz with a terrific touch pass for 25 yards. He missed a golden opportunity in the 2nd quarter when a pass to Zach Derby in the end zone got hung up in the wind and was broken up by the Nebraska defender. Vandenberg also had two interceptions on the day, including one that ended Iowa's chances for a potential game winning drive. GRADE: F
The Iowa rushing attack wasn't bad against Nebraska. In fact, it was pretty good early on as Mark Weisman was chewing up some good yardage against the Cornhuskers. In the second half, Iowa could only muster up 32 yards on the ground and that really hurt a struggling Iowa offense. Mark Weisman was strong early on and finished with 91 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Backup Greg Garmon had a couple of nice runs when he was called upon and finished the day with 19 yards on the ground. GRADE: C
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
With only 11 receptions and just 24 attempts, there wasn't much activity for the Iowa receivers on Saturday. Again, wind was a big factor in limiting the passing game for both teams. C.J. Fiedorowicz was the biggest target once again for the Iowa passing game with 6 receptions for 56 yards. His first quarter reception for 25 yards was probably his best of the year from an athletic standpoint. Otherwise, it was a very quiet day once again for the Iowa wide outs. Kevonte Martin-Manley had three grabs for 19 yards and Keenan Davis had only one catch for 11 yards. Drops were again a problem with a key one by freshman Tevaun Smith. GRADE: D
James Ferentz had a terrific day. He played with an edge and was very physical in the middle of the line. Iowa struggled on the edge trying to contain Nebraska's Eric Martin, who seemed to be in the Iowa backfield quite a bit in the second half. James Vandenberg was only sacked once, but he faced a lot of pressure that forced early throws. The Iowa run game was strong in the first half, where the Hawkeyes racked up 75 yards, but they couldn't get much going in the second half on the ground. GRADE: D
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE: F
Sure the wind was a factor for both teams, but you cannot expect to win a college football game by scoring 7 points. Iowa had a couple of golden opportunities to put points on the board and let them slip away. There's no logical excuse for coming out of a time out and then get penalized for 12 men on the field. That can certainly be put on the coaches, but the players also own some of that responsibility. In many ways the missed opportunities were basically adding to the list of a mistake prone offense in 2012.
Darian Cooper got the start against Nebraska and he had his best game of the year. Cooper got good penetration into the backfield on several occasions and played tough in the middle. Dominic Alvis had a pretty good game on the edge and picked up a sack. Iowa's defense was very good in the first half up front, but they faded in the second half against the run. Rex Burkhead really seemed to give the Huskers a boost and Iowa had a tough time getting him to the ground on first contact. GRADE: C
All three Iowa linebackers reached double figures in tackles on Saturday. James Morris had 13 stops, including two tackles for loss. Christian Kirksey had 11 stops, including a sack of Taylor Martinez. Anthony Hitchens returned to the starting lineup and continued to pile up the tackles with ten more on Friday afternoon. The Hawkeyes were pretty solid in coverage, but they lost Nebraska tight end Ben Cotton a couple of times in key situations. Like the defensive line, they struggled getting Burkhead to the ground on first contact and that was a huge difference in the second half. GRADE: B
The Cornhuskers really didn't try to go to the air very often and when they did Iowa's defensive backs were there for the answer. Micah Hyde played his final game at Kinnick Stadium and was strong all day with a forced fumble and very athletic pass breakup. Nebraska only threw the ball 14 times, completing just 8 passes for 63 yards. It was a much better effort when compared to last week when blown assignments were all over the field against Michigan. B.J. Lowery was very physical against the run with 9 tackles. Tanner Miller, who struggled last week, had a very nice pass breakup against the Cornhuskers. GRADE: B
OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE: B
The Nebraska offense, which had scored more than 30 points 8 times this year, was held to just 13 points. Given what has happened to the Iowa defense in recent weeks, giving up nearly 500 yards of total offense in the last five weeks, allowing on 263 was a great improvement. Of course, the gusty wind from the north certainly helped Iowa's defense and limited Nebraska's passing game.
Micah Hyde finally had the type of punt return that Iowa fans have been waiting for when the busted a return for 25 yards. Kickoff returns weren't a factor thanks to the wind. Mike Meyer missed a 42 yard field goal in the 2nd quarter that was into the wind, so it's hard to place a lot of blame on him for the miss. Overall, Connor Kornbrath and John Wienke were solid at punter. There was one clunker into the wind, but overall they both did a nice job, averaging 40 yards per kick. Kornbrath had a career best 61 yard kick that rolled to the one yard line thanks to the wind. GRADE: C
STAT OF THE DAY
That's the record for the Iowa Football team since 2009 when they won the Orange Bowl.
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