Michigan Manhandles Iowa
It had been since 2006 since a Michigan football team beat Iowa. On Saturday, the Wolverines took out their frustrations and dominated the game in every conceivable fashion en route to a 42-17 win in Ann Arbor.
Here is how bad it was; through three quarters, Michigan had 505 yards of total offense and had scored touchdowns on all of their possessions. It took until the fourth quarter before the Wolverines didn’t score a touchdown on a possession with Micah Hyde intercepted a Devin Gardner pass. It also took until the fourth quarter before Iowa completed a pass to a wide receiver.
Through three quarters, Iowa had gained just 164 yards and run 36 plays. They were 2 of 8 on third downs where Michigan was 9 of 11 on third down. On the two plays where they failed to convert a first down on third down, they had success on fourth down.
It was also announced in the press box during the game that Kirk Ferentz would no longer be holding ‘On the Side’ interview sessions after his primary Q & A session.
Yeah, it’s been one of those years. But exactly what kind of year has this been?
Iowa has allowed its opponent to gain over 400 yards for five straight weeks. While that may be a common occurrence in other leagues, it’s not something Iowa fans are accustomed to seeing from their defense. The defense allowed several big plays in the passing game today and Iowa shuffled personnel on the back end. Nico Law saw the bench, Tanner Miller saw the bench as the secondary looked absolutely lost at times.
We all know the offense has been incredibly bad and it was all the more frustrating that CJ Fiedorowicz had seven catches in the first half. That’s a good thing, but it took until the 11th game of the season for the Iowa passing attack to focus on one of their biggest mismatch opportunities.
As I wrote earlier this week, it has been since at least 2000 when Iowa has been this bad on offense and defense at the same time. Given that the 2000 team actually got better in November, beating Penn State on the road and knocking off a rated Northwestern team, we might have to compare this team to Iowa’s 1999 team.
That’s a frightening thing to consider, given how undermanned that team was in year one of the Ferentz era. This is year 14 and things are going backwards. In fact, it has felt like a pure free fall since the Hawks hosted Penn State on October 20th.
Iowa has lost five straight games since then, the first time it has done that since 2000. They have lost five straight conference games for the first time since 1999.
Last week, Kirk Ferentz said this was not a ‘dog crap team’. If it’s not, as he suggests, then the coaching staff has done an incredibly poor job. What other option is there, if we take Ferentz at face value?
People were asking me on twitter to point out some of the positives Iowa has going for them heading into next year. There may be some, but they are hard to focus on right now as poorly as this team is playing 11 games into the season. Iowa is going to have to have players and playmakers emerge at nearly every position in order to stave off another disappointing campaign, but how often does that sort of thing happen?
Iowa closes the season on Friday against Nebraska in Kinnick Stadium. They are 4-7 and eliminated from bowl consideration, the first time since 2007 Iowa will have missed out on the post season and just the second time since Ferentz turned things around in 2001.