There is no one more relieved to see the Hawkeyes victory over the Northwestern Wildcats then my 4 pound Chihuahua, Lola. You see, every day for the last three years when little Lola would shoot me that “I gotta go out” look, I would toss her in the car and head the 10 miles to Evanston. Our destination was the 57,600 square feet doggie park know as Ryan Field where little Hawkeye Lola would to do her doggie business. Every time, Lola left a little metaphor of our feelings about Northwestern’s recent success against the Hawkeyes. Luckily, the Hawkeyes won on Saturday because I was going to buy a bigger dog.
That is right, I have decided to forgive the Northwestern Wildcats. The ’95 freezing game – forgiven. The ’96 night game – forgiven. The ’97 multiple missed FG game – forgiven. The ’99 goal line stand – forgiven. The ’05 miracle comeback – forgiven. Whatever happened in ’06 – forgiven. Knocking Shonn Greene out in ’08 – forgiven. Knocking Ricky Stanzi out and a phantom holding call on a TD in ’09 – forgiven. The deal with the devil prayer TD pass in ’10 – forgiven. I’ll even throw in a couple of buzzer beating threes by 7 foot foreign dudes and jinxing the ’10 Big Ten Wrestling Tournament. All of it – forgiven. I truly am being the bigger man here. It is not easy to overlook such horrible acts. I can only speak for myself, Lola still seems a little ticked at the Wildcats.
As for the game, it was great to see some signs that a very good Iowa team is just under the surface of the 2011 Iowa Hawkeyes. When Iowa is good, you see pressure and turnovers created by the front 4, pounding rushing yards and the post pattern/play action work to perfection. We saw all that on Saturday. Broderick Binns and Mike Daniels played they best games since last year (early last year). Steve Bigach replaced Tom Nardo as the feel good story and if you squint real hard, Dominic Alvis is starting to look like a young Matt Roth. There is still plenty of room for improvement on defense, but the defense highlight for me after Tanner Miller’s pick six was Micah Hyde’s pass break up. How many times over the years have we seen defensive backs (good ones at that) never turn around and run right into the receiver for pass interference? Hyde made the turn and played the ball perfectly. Refreshing.
On offense, Marcus Coker and the power running game returned. That to me was the biggest disappointment of the Penn State loss and the season in general. When things weren’t clicking on offense for PSU, they just pounded the ball for 4-6 a carry. I thought that would be the safety blanket on the 2011 Hawkeyes, but it just hasn’t been consistent yet. We are still missing the change of pace back, but rumors are Mika’il McCall is practicing and Jordan Canzeri could be back for the Indiana. De’Andre Johnson even looked good in some garbage carries. Hopefully the next two weeks bring some playing time for the these guys. The passing game is still missing a go to TE, hopefully James Vandenberg and the receiving corp are saving their best games to help this team get to 10-2.
Looking forward to the 100th Homecoming game this weekend. These are nervous games, as the Hawkeye should win and stand at 6-2 going into a 4 game stretch that will determine the Legends division. Indiana is beat up and we owe the Minnesota Gophers.
Now where are my car keys, Lola has got to go out.