Hawkeyes Can’t Lose to Northern Iowa
The Iowa Hawkeyes can’t lose to Northern Iowa.
Oh, they can lose alright, but they can’t lose.
Should UNI beat the Hawks this Saturday, saying the wheels have come off the 2012 season would be an understatement . The Hawkeye Fan Misery index would reach a new low. To lose to Iowa State and Northern Iowa in back to back weeks?
Iowa had a one win season in the Kirk Ferentz era, the worst record for an Iowa team since the 1973 team didn’t win a game. That one-win season in 1999 included a loss to Iowa State. But to lose to Iowa State and UNI in the same year?
They can’t lose this game, can they?
If the offense keeps playing like it has in the first two games, you better believe it.
The Panthers held Wisconsin to less than four yards per carry in their season opener in Madison on nearly 50 rushing attempts. That performance, a 26-21 loss, raised some eyebrows around these parts. At the time we had yet to realize that this year’s Wisconsin team was likely going to be average, or that their offensive line had real issues.
The Panthers showed a lot of moxie in that game. They failed to cross the 50-yard line on offense until there were just under five minutes left in the third quarter. They led 26-7 with just over 12 minutes to play in the game. That’s when the Panthers struck quick as quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen threw a pair of TD passes, from 55 and 31 yards. Suddenly, it was a game.
The Panthers got the ball back with 5:17 to play and 75 yards away from a stunning upset. They moved the ball to the Wisconsin 41 yard line when a 4th and 1 pass was batted down and the Badgers would run out the clock.
Kollmorgen was 18 of 34 in that game for 265 yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions. The UNI running game managed just 41 yards on 20 yards against the Badger defense, but Kollmorgen and the passing game are the legit threat. Kollmorgen was 11 of 18 for 229 yards and three touchdowns last week against an overmatched Central State team that UNI beat 59-0.
UNI knows how to win. They’ve won more games in the past decade than Iowa has and this was one of the most successful decades in Iowa football history. Yes, they play in the FCS and have over 20 fewer scholarships to award, but they are not a foe to look past.
If there is a silver lining in Iowa’s start to this season as it relates to this game (and there probably isn’t) it’s this; there’s no way Iowa is looking past UNI. Kirk Ferentz probably didn’t have to do much reminding of that fact this week, given how Iowa’s offensive number are near the bottom of the FBS.
While I am not going to say this is the week the Iowa offense starts to hit on all cylinders, I do think they will look their best to date. I think Iowa has a chance to put up some points this week, even though the evidence thus far belies such a prediction. I also think the Iowa defense may have their hands full with UNI’s passing attack and they will need heady safety play from Tanner Miller and Tom Donatell.
I picked Iowa to beat UNI 34-24 in the preseason when I went through Iowa’s schedule game by game. 34 points seems like a veritable offensive explosion at this point in time, but I am going to stick by this pick. In games against FCS teams, always keep an eye out of special teams points in the return game or punt block game, too.
While Iowa could lose this game, I don’t think that they will and I refuse to imagine what a loss might feel like on the post game radio show or the message boards.