• Countdown to Iowa State

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe with Bloglines

Add to My AOL

Get RSS Buttons

Tweets by @HawkeyeNews

  • Get notified by email every time we update!
  • Enter your Email

    Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Wes Gade - Owner, Editor
Email Wes

Brian Campbell - Senior Writer
Email Brian

Brad Gade - Contributor
Email Brad

This site and any pages within are in no way affiliated with the University of Iowa, the Big Ten Conference, or the NCAA. Any images, copyrights, or trademarks used on this site are used under the "Fair Use Provision" of the Copyright Act for purposes of comment, criticism, and news reporting.
  1. Hawkeye Freshman Peter Jok
  2. ‘Johnny Weisman’ looks to return Hawks to glory days
  3. Midweek Update - Looking Forward to Next Week & Back at Last Weekend
  4. Strangest Play Call on Saturday
  5. Predictability spells L-O-S-S for Hawkeyes
  6. Submit a Post Game Interview Question
  7. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis is in his second year under Ferentz
  8. Hawkeye Football Media Day

Aug.31 Northern ILL BTN2:30pm
Sept.7Missouri State BTN11am
Sept.14@ Iowa StateFox Sports 15pm
Sept.21Western Michigan TBATBA
Sept.28@ Minnesota TBA2:30pm
Oct.5Michigan State TBA11am
Oct.19@ Ohio State TBA2:30pm
Oct.26Northwestern TBATBA
Nov.2Wisconsin TBATBA
Nov.9@ Purdue TBATBA
Nov.23Michigan TBATBA
Nov.29@ Nebraska ABC11am


Monday, September 23, 2013

Hawkeyes in NFL Weekend Recap 9/22

Pat Angerer - Colts
OUT with knee injury

Jonathan Babineaux - Falcons
1 tackle vs Miami

Bryan Bulaga - Packers
On IR with injured knee

Scott Chandler - Bills
5 catches for 79yds  1TD vs Jets

Dallas Clark - Ravens
4 catxhes for 46yds vs Texans

Adrian Clayborn - Buccaneers
6 tackles and 1 sack vs Patriots

Colin Cole - Panthers
0 tackles vs Giants

Mike Daniels - Packers
2 tackles and 1 sack vs Bengals

Bradley Fletcher - Eagles
3 tackles vs Chiefs

Adam Gettis - Redskins
Not sure if he got in game on OLine  (maybe someone can email me and let me know)

Charles Godfrey - Panthers
Godfrey (Achilles) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday

Shonn Greene - Titans
Following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Greene is considered week-to-week. He did not play this week vs Chargers.

Chad Greenway - Vikings
6 tackles, 1 INT vs Browns

Micah Hyde - Packers
2 tackles vs Bengals

Karl Klug - Titans
1 tackle vs Chargers

Tony Moeaki - Chiefs
2 catches for 21yds vs Eagles

Brandon Myers - Giants
3 catches for 33yds vs Panthers

Shaun Prater - Eagles
0 tackles - I believe DNP vs Chiefs

Riley Reiff - Lions
Started at Left Tackle - left game due to injury vs Redskins

Allen Reisner - Jaguars
0 catches vs Seahawks but has been playing for Jags.

Ricky Stanzi - Jaguars
Took snaps with 1st team in practice this week. Is 2nd string while Blaine Gabbert is out with injury.

Matt Tobin - Eagles
I belive DNP vs Chiefs

Julian Vandervelde - Eagles
I belive DNP vs Chiefs

Marshal Yanda - Ravens
Started for Ravens vs Broncos

Markus Zusevics - Patriots
On injured reserve

Sunday, September 15, 2013

YouTube Highlight: Lowery makes crazy one-handed interception

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Iowa Prevails to Hoist Cy-Hawk Trophy

Hawkeyes down Iowa State in Ames, 27-21, in Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup
From HawkeyeSports.com

AMES, Iowa -- The University of Iowa football team jumped out to a 27-7 lead before holding off a fourth-quarter Iowa State rally to claim a 27-21 victory on Saturday night in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup inside Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa limited to the Cyclones to 181 yards and seven points over the first three quarters before Iowa State found fourth-quarter life. The Cyclones piled up 138 yards in the fourth quarter alone en route to 14 points to stage a late-game comeback.

"We're thrilled to get the victory," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "We knew it would be a battle, it's a battle every time we come to Ames. They don't give away victories here. We had to earn it."

The Hawkeyes finished the game with 378 yards of total offense, piling up 218 on the ground and 160 through the air. The Cyclones netted 319 yards -- 260 passing and 59 rushing.

Junior Mark Weisman had a career-high 35 carries for 145 yards, his third-straight game surpassing the 100-yard mark. Sophomore Jake Rudock completed 14-of-23 attempts for 160 yards with two touchdowns, and junior Kevonte Martin-Manley had seven catches for 60 yards with one score.

"Mark did a great job running hard," said Rudock. "You could see it in his eyes, like 'Keep giving it to me.' I kept telling him, 'Keep running well, if the offensive line keeps blocking the way they are, we are going to keep giving it to you and keep going.'"

Martin-Manley surpassed 100 career receptions and 1,000 career receiving yards, pushing him to 101 catches for 1,057 yards. He is the 20th Iowa player in program history with at least 100 receptions and the 36th to surpass 1,000 yards.

Iowa State's Sam B. Richardson completed 22-of-39 attempts for three touchdowns, while also tossing two interceptions. Wide receiver Quenton Bundrage had seven grabs for 146 yards with three scores, while James White finished with 26 yards on five carries.

A pair of Iowa defenders notched double-digit tackles. Senior Christian Kirksey finished with 11 stops (five solo), while senior Anthony Hitchens had 10 tackles with six solo.

After bottling up the Cyclones for the first two-plus quarters, a big-play attempted to flip the game's momentum. Iowa State's offense didn't go over the 100-yard mark for the game until the seven-minute mark of the third quarter, but despite that, a 67-yard touchdown pass cut the Hawkeyes' lead in half.

On third-and-4 from its own 33, Richardson connected with Bundrage for a 67-yard score when the receiver broke a B.J. Lowery arm tackle and out-ran the Iowa defense to make the score 13-7 with 5:28 remaining.

Iowa's offense had an answer, using a nine-play, 60-yard drive to put the Hawkeyes up 20-7.

Senior Jordan Cotton gave Iowa solid starting field position with a 28-yard yard kickoff return to the Iowa 40. After moving into Cyclone territory via the ground attack, Rudock converted a third-and-8, withstanding an Iowa State blitz before delivering an 18-yard strike to Martin-Manley on a crossing route to move the chains.

Three plays later, Rudock made the Cyclones pay for blitzing the house, when he connected with sophomore Jacob Hillyer for a 26-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. The reception was Hillyer's first career touchdown reception.

After Iowa's defense forced a three-and-out, the Hawkeyes followed with a 15-play, 73-yard drive to push its advantage to 27-7. Fourteen of the 15 plays came on the ground, with Iowa bull-dozing its way into the end zone for the score. Weisman and junior Damon Bullock combined for 65 yards on the drive before Rudock scored from 1-yard out.

It was Rudock's fourth rushing touchdown this season, and he is the first quarterback in the Ferentz era to rush for a score in three-straight games.

The Cyclones wouldn't go down quietly, as they kept their hope alive with a seven-play, 82-yard drive that eclipsed 2:32 on the clock. Richardson ended the series with consecutive completions of 32 yards (to Tad Ecby) and 26 yards, the latter of which was a touchdown toss to Bundrage, making the score 27-14.

Iowa State made things interesting when tight end Ben Boesen recovered an on-side kick at the Iowa 46. The Hawkeyes had the on-side return set up, but the ball jumped over the first line of Iowa blockers and junior tight end Ray Hamilton couldn't snag the ball in mid-air, allowing for the Cyclone recovery.

On the second play of the Iowa State series, the Hawkeye defense forced Richardson's second interception of the game. The Iowa State quarterback targeted Jarvis West on a go route along the Cyclone sideline, but Lowery made a leaping, one-handed interception to give Iowa possession at its own 14.

After getting a three-and-out, the Cyclones took over at their own 41 yard line. Richardson then used completions of 7, 13, and 11 yards to advance Iowa State to the 34. The Hawkeyes buckled down to force a fourth-and-4 from the 17, but Richardon connected with Bundrage for a 17-yard score on a blown coverage making the score 27-21.

Iowa recovered the Cyclones' second on-side kick and needed just one first down to seal the victory. Weisman ran for 5 yards on first down, 4 on second, but his third-and-1 attempt was bottled up leaving 12 seconds remaining.

After a Hawkeye punt, Iowa State took possession at its own 13, but the Cyclones' miracle comeback was shot down, as Iowa ended its two-game losing streak in the series and brought the Cy-Hawk Trophy back to Iowa City.

"This is a big team win," said Rudock. "We are all trying to get better, trying to get the win and trying to put ourselves in a good situation."

Iowa controlled the opening half of action, jumping out to a 13-0 lead. The Hawkeyes gained three times as many yards as the Cyclones, holding a 186-61 advantage in total offense and had a 10-minute advantage in time of possession.

Iowa used a 10-play, 71-yard drive to score the game's first points early in the second quarter. After taking over at the 29 yard line, the Hawkeyes moved to midfield behind three rushes and a 7-yard completion to Martin-Manley. On third-and-4, Rudock connected with Hamilton to move to the ISU-38, and two plays later, Rudock split a pair of Cyclone defenders, finding Tevaun Smith for a 25-yard gain to the 2.

Following a 5-yard illegal formation penalty, Weisman rushed 2 yards to the 5 before Rudock zipped a 5-yard touchdown pass to Martin-Manley to give Iowa a 7-0 advantage. Rudock was 4-of-4 for 52 yards on the drive.

After three consecutive three-and-outs, Iowa used a healthy dose of its ground game -- using 13 consecutive rushes to advance to the Iowa State 11. The Hawkeyes converted three third downs on the series, but the drive stalled at the 10 to set up a 27-yard Mike Meyer field goal that made the score 10-0 with 1:43 remaining in the half.

The Hawkeyes added a field goal before the half when linebacker James Morris forced Iowa State's first turnover. After moving to midfield courtesy of just its fourth first down of the half, Morris batted up a pass attempted for James White, picked it off and returned it 27-yards to the Iowa State 25 with 33 seconds left. Meyer made the score 13-0 with a 38-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining.

Iowa (2-1) returns to action Sept. 21, hosting Western Michigan in its final nonconference game of the season. Game time is set for 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium.

Iowa-ISU just another game? Perish the thought

Hawkeysportsnews.com Senior Writer

     Running off at the typewriter while wondering why the Cy-Hawk trophy wasn't named the Cyowa trophy or the HawkCy trophy….

     Sixty games have been played in the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry dating to 1894. Probably 600 reporters have asked players and coaches probably 60,000 questions about the rivalry since then, all looking to hype the game into something it’s not. It’s a non-conference game played early in the year between two teams normally not in the hunt for a conference title. Sure, the game is all about the fans and bragging rights, but almost to a man, coaches and players on both sides downplayed it as just another game. No matter how hard the media tries to spin the rivalry game, the answers all seem to come out the same:
    “It’s just another game on the schedule.”
    “I don’t think it really means anything for recruiting.”
    “A win is a win.”
    “It’s always going to be a tough game.”
    “This week is no different than any other week.”
    A look ahead at a Big 10 schedule that includes Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska should give Iowa fans a clear picture of where Iowa players and coaches rank the Iowa State game in importance. Maybe at some point most reporters will see the same picture.

    When can a Hawkeye player be seen but not heard?
    When the player is a freshman and makes his way onto the field.
    Cornerback Desmond King and running back LeShun Daniels both played significant minutes against Missouri State. King was thrust into the lineup in place of injured Jordan Lomax and performed well. Daniels, meanwhile, is a heralded freshman from Warren, Ohio, and got into the rotation and rushed for 30 yards. But neither player were around to talk before practice on Tuesday because of a team policy that prohibits freshman from talking to the media. That made for some interesting conversations with some of the players that were available to evaluate King.
     “He (King) was my roommate in fall camp so we really get along pretty well,” cornerback B.J. Lowery said. “As soon as he got here he started making plays. That’s one thing that we try and capitalize on.”
    Lowery got the biggest laugh when this reporter suggested after the 20th question about King that Lowery could double as King’s official spokesperson.
    “I was just walked into the locker room and (defensive lineman) Carl Davis said something about that,” Lowery said after chuckling. “He’s like, ‘I’m a D lineman, why are they asking me about Desmond King?’”
     Probably because no one can ask King himself.
     Safety Tanner Miller helped preserve the team’s first victory of season against Missouri State by stepping in front of a pass in the endzone. Miller is a senior from Kalona and has five career interceptions. He went to Mid-Prairie High School and sounds like the classic case of local kid makes good. But, incredibly, Miller said he is not related to any of the hundreds of Millers in the Kalona-Wellman area.
    “I didn’t move here until right before I started high school,” Miller said. “I’m not related to any of them, actually. My mom’s side of the family is from Burlington. She got a new job here and they thought Mid-Prairie was a good school.”
    Miller was part of the secondary that gave up big plays to Northern Illinois and which has been victimized in past seasons by Cyclone quarterbacks. He said he expects to be a big target of Iowa State’s game plan on offense.
    “The film speaks for itself,” Miller said of the wide-open touchdown passes by Northern Illinois. “The film is out there for everyone to see, so they are going to see it and probably test us early and probably test us often.”
    Stay tuned to see if the secondary and the team pass or fail those tests.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hawkeye Freshman Peter Jok

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A Nov. 22 basketball game against the University of Pennsylvania will be extra special for Hawkeye Peter Jok. The freshman will be playing against his brother, Dau, who is a senior for the Ivy League Quakers.

"I found out earlier this summer that we were going to play against Penn and my brother," said Jok. "It's going to be fun going against him. We have never really played against each other before in a meaningful game."

Jok says the ­last time the two competed against each other in any capacity was four years ago in Des Moines, Iowa.

"We were in some pickup games when he was a senior in high school, and I was a freshman," said Jok.

Dau and Peter Jok's father, Sudanese general Dut Jok, was killed when both were children living in Sudan. Peter views his older brother as a role model and father figure.

"He's kind of a dad to us since my dad died," said Jok. "We look up to him."

Jok is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound guard, who will be looked upon to add depth to the Hawkeye backcourt in 2013-14. Jok is a 2013 Parade All-American after leading Iowa Class 4A in scoring (23.6 points per game), making 42 percent of his 3-point attempts and 93 percent of his free throws.

Since Dau moved to Philadelphia to attend Penn, the brothers have been able to see each other three or four times. Although, their face-to-face time has been limited, they remain close and in frequent contact.

"We text each other all the time and talk on the phone about twice a week," said Peter.

Jok said the introduction of his basketball playing was sparked by his brother... and trips to McDonald's.

"My brother played a big role in getting me to play hoops," said Peter. "I didn't really like basketball, but he would always take me with him to work out."

When Peter was in fifth grade, his guardian, Mike Nixon, encouraged him to join a club team.

"My mom said I should try it out, but I didn't want to," admitted Jok. "Ultimately I ended up going and then (Mike) took me to McDonald's after the first practice."

Jok still wasn't taken by the sport, but his mother encouraged him to return a second time to see if he would like it.

"I went back one more time, and during the practice I kept thinking to myself that I was quitting," Jok said. "Then after practice, he took me to McDonald's again."

Jok said he wanted to go back a third time to see if Nixon would again take him to McDonald's.

"He took me again, and I was like, 'I'm going to keep playing.'"

 ** Photo Courtesy of David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen **

Monday, September 9, 2013

09.09.13 - Hawkeye Links

Hawkeye notes: Freshmen see action

Student ticket demand down for Iowa football
The Gazette

10@10: Rudock says Hawkeyes' struggle to score is 'on me'

Weisman separates himself as top option in Hawkeyes' running attack
The Daily Iowan

Iowa beats Missouri State 28-14
Boston Herald

Hawkeyes pound way past Bears to end skid
Muscatine Journal

Andrew Logue: Hawkeyes need to become less predictable
Des Moines Register

Pat Harty: Hawkeyes miss key opportunity
Des Moines Register

Iowa-ISU Week limping in with a whimper
The Gazette

Sunday, September 8, 2013

‘Johnny Weisman’ looks to return Hawks to glory days

Hawkeyesportsnews.com Senior Writer
 IOWA CITY – One more game like this and his Iowa teammates will start calling him “Johnny Weisman.”
    Hawkeye running back Mark Weisman did his best to single-handedly break the team’s seven-game losing streak Saturday against Missouri State. He rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 victory at Kinnick Stadium. In the process, he broke the 1,000-yard mark for his career, and it was the second consecutive game with at least 100 yards and a touchdown. But unlike Heisman trophy winner “Johnny Football,” Weisman wasn’t signing autographs after the game, instead he was giving all the credit for his individual success to where he felt it belonged -- his teammates and coaches.
 “The offensive line was working well today,” Weisman said. “It’s all them. There were tons of rushing yards out there for us. It doesn’t matter what back was in there, they were controlling the line of scrimmage. They were jumping on my back trying to push me forward.”
     Weisman could only laugh when asked if he was in line for a post-season award or two. No doubt he remembers 2011 when he was a walk-on freshman and was so low he had to play fullback just to be listed on the depth chart. Of all the Iowa running backs, Weisman appears to have the least physical ability. But he is a powerful and tireless runner. Against Missouri State he carried the ball 30 times and appeared to get stronger in the fourth quarter.
     “He’s a tough kid,” quarterback Jake Rudock said. “He just wants the ball. I’ll tell him, ‘Hey Mark, we are going to go to you, we are going to keep riding you. He’s like, ‘Ok, give me more.’”
     As quick as he was to give credit to his teammates, Weisman was quicker to turn his sights to next week – the battle with Iowa State for the Cyhawk trophy. Weisman didn’t carry the ball in a 9-6 loss to Iowa State last year and caught just one pass for 3 yards. He knows the tradition of Iowa running backs and running the football and is eager to return the Hawks to the glory years of ground and pound.
     “That’s Iowa football,” Weisman said. “We have to win this game. We know there is a lot of work to do. It’s a big game, obviously. It’s a trophy game.”
     And if  “Johnny Weisman” succeeds in returning the Hawks to their former glory, that may not be the only trophy he wins this season.

** Photo Courtesy of David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen **

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Midweek Update - Looking Forward to Next Week & Back at Last Weekend

By Brian Campbell
Hawkeyesportsnews.com Senior Writer

Iowa should end its seven-game losing streak Saturday against Missouri State at Kinnick Stadium. The beauty of scheduling non-conference opponents such as MSU is to pad the record, build the confidence of your players and inspire hope among your fan base. But in Week 1, eight FCS teams (Division I-AA) recorded victories over FBS (Division I-A) teams. I know what you’re thinking and it’s not a pleasant thought. . .
    Missouri State coach Terry Allen has been around before cell phones, GPS and the internet. He coached at Kansas in 1997-2001 and at Northern Iowa in the early ‘90s before that. But he won’t need directions to find his way to Kinnick Stadium. Allen grew up in Iowa City and played quarterback for Iowa City West in the early ‘70s (before they were good), and his dad was a swimming coach with the Hawkeyes. His dream was to one day coach at Kinnick, which he did in 1995 when the Panthers lost to the Hawkeyes, 34-13. And if there were still a “knothole” section at Kinnick he could probably tell you how to sneak in there as well. . .
     Before throwing a critical interception that led to the game winning field-goal for Northern Illinois, quarterback Jake Rudock had racked up an impressive stat total. His 256 yards passing were fourth-best among Hawkeyes making their first career start. Rudock showed poise and confidence on the field, but off the field his football IQ is even more impressive. He thinks like a coach, but doesn’t talk like a coach. Because he has two years of practice and study under his belt, he wasn’t overwhelmed by the moment of taking his first college snaps against NIU.
     “I just understand what we are trying to do. . . ,” Rudock said. “The way we practice is really intense. Just the fact that he (coach Kirk Ferentz) makes it so much like a game that you are just playing someone different, you’re just playing a different defense.”
     Ferentz brought up former Iowa quarterback Chuck Hartlieb when talking about Rudock’s debut. Hartlieb had his struggles in his first game but finished with a solid career at Iowa. Rudock, a pre-med major, fits the mold of Hartlieb and Chuck Long, among others, but he could be more advanced mentally at this stage of his career than either Hartlieb or Long. Rudock seems to be the type of quarterback who can think his way through a game and figure out how to confuse defenses. If offensive coordinator Greg Davis gives Rudock the freedom to manage the game on the field, with the right weapons around him he could join Hartlieb and Long on the list of top quarterbacks at Iowa. . .
     When is a punt safe not a punt safe?
     When the Hawkeyes are on defense.
     For years, the Hawkeyes could get away with the little mistakes and errors because they could run the ball down your throat and play defense with abandon. Those days have been gone for three years now, so now every little mental lapse could lose a game.  Against Northern Illinois, it seemed the whole stadium was expecting a fake on fourth down at the Iowa 47. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker call for a punt safe formation, except someone forgot to tell cornerback B.J. Lowery. Lowery had deep outside contain on the play, and when Tyler Wedel took the pitch on the fake punt he scooted around the outside and found nothing but empty field. Forty-two yards later, punt returner Kevonte Martin-Manley made a touchdown saving tackle. Ferentz used his typical adjectives like “miscommunication” and “correctable” to try to explain away the mistake. Lowery also got burned on a wide-open touchdown pass as well,  but to his credit he owned up to his mistakes before practice on Tuesday.
     “We were in deep thirds and it was on me, I didn’t get the call,” Lowery said. “I was trying to get off the field due to my cramping. . . The guy I was guarding ran out, and I was on the opposite side of the field. I should have stayed where I was at.”
     Lowery left the game a short time later with a hamstring problem. He said he feels ready to play against MSU but will leave it up to the coaches to decide.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Strangest Play Call on Saturday

By Wes Gade
Hawkeyesportsnews.com Owner, Editor

At the end of the 3rd quarter Iowa had the ball 3rd and 1 with less than 20 seconds left in the quarter.  One could with a high probability say that in previous Ferentz years Iowa would have let the clock run out and with the 1st play of the 4th quarter ran a QB sneak or Mark Weisman up the middle for the 1st down and kept the drive alive and the clock moving.

Instead Iowa rushed to get a play off before the quarter ended and went for the big play that was slightly overthrown, or under ran, depending on your view.  The play was there to be made and the call itself I can’t argue. It caught Northern Illinois off guard and if connected it’s a touchdown and puts huge momentum on Iowa’s side.

The problem arises with the next play on 4th down.  Iowa punted the 1st play of the 4th quarter.  If you are going to rush your team to get a play off instead of letting the 3rd quarter run out and also go for the BIG play, you have to already have your mind made up to go for it on 4th and 1 to start the 4th quarter.  Anything else makes no sense, and that’s what Iowa did, and it made no sense.

If the coaches were going to punt on 4th down then you let the clock run out and you get the 1 yd you need on 3rd down the 1st play of the 4th quarter.

Of all the plays called on Saturday this one has to be the most puzzling.  It’s like Iowa is caught in the middle of being aggressive and conservative, which will not work and did not work.

If Iowa would have gone for it on 4th and 1 to start the 4th quarter and made it – they had been running with Weisman and not losing yards all game – then you could look back and say “at least they took a shot” but what played out was just plain confusing every way you look at it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Predictability spells L-O-S-S for Hawkeyes

By Brian Campbell
Hawkeyesportsnews.com Senior Writer

IOWA CITY – An off-season of planning, strategizing, preparing and practicing to be more diverse and less predictable on offense worked for 58 minutes, 33 seconds Saturday in Iowa’s season-opener against Northern Illinois.
     Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, the game is 60 minutes long.
     With one play, NIU cornerback Jimmie Ward helped erase months of work and a possible Iowa victory by intercepting Jake Rudock with 1:17 to go that led to the winning field goal in the Huskies’ 30-27 victory at Kinnick Stadium.
     And just like Iowa’s last six opponents who jumped on mistakes to hand defeat to the Hawkeyes, Ward knew it was coming.
    “Throughout the game they were doing a lot of end routes and out routes,” Ward said after the game. “I jumped on one of them earlier in the game, but the ball was too high. When they tried it again, I knew I was going to get it.”
    Coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive coordinator Greg Davis had pledged to give the Hawkeyes a new look this season, and for most of the opening game it seemed to be working. The Hawkeyes wanted to improve on their 19.3 points and 62.5 plays per game from last season, and they finished with 27 points and 80 plays using an up-tempo, no-huddle offense. They wanted more big plays and touchdowns from their quarterback, and Rudock completed several long throws, threw for 256 yards and one touchdown and ran for another in his first game. They wanted to open holes and create space for the running game, which netted 202 yards on the ground. And they wanted to limit the mistakes, the predictable play-calling, penalties and mental errors that resulted in a mediocre 11-14 record the past two seasons.
     Three out of four ain’t bad, it’s just not good enough to win against quality opponents.
     “We were trying to complete a pass and move the ball down the field,” Ferentz said of Ward’s interception. “I thought we had a good situation there, I really did. The turnovers are tough to overcome, and we had three of them today.”
Those turnovers overshadowed some good individual performances. Rudock looked confident in his first college start. Mark Weisman rushed for 100 yards, and Damon Bullock added 76. Linebacker Chris Kirksey had 14 tackles and scored Iowa’s first touchdown when he stripped the ball on a tackle and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.
     “There were a lot good individuals that did a lot of great things,” Ferentz said. “They also had some bad plays, and those are the things that we are going to have to get smoothed out.”
      The Hawks have been trying for three years to get those things “smoothed out.” Fans caught a glimpse of what this year’s team is capable of, but inopportune breakdowns sabotaged Iowa’s chances of victory once again: A 16-yard punt by Connor Kornbrath led to a Huskies score; a defensive holding penalty on 3rd-and-16 led to a touchdown and misplays in the secondary twice resulted in wide-open touchdown passes for Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch. But perhaps the most obvious was a fake punt and 42-yard gain by NIU when the Hawkeyes were lined up in “punt safe” coverage near midfield..
     “Was it a surprise?” Ferentz said. “No. These guys fake punts, fake field goals. They’ve run plenty of them the past couple years. We had our punt safe team out there. They made a play, we didn’t. That’s a bad thing. It’s hard to win football games doing that, too.”
     It’s “safe” to say the Hawks will be hard-pressed to win many games until the predictable mistakes come to an end.