Okay, that game was terrible by most accounts. The start was as bad as you could imagine and yet the end was worse. The special teams were anything but special (sorry for that horrible piece of writing) and neither the defense nor offense could come up big in the final minutes. But really, in-between Iowa played pretty well and should/could/would've won that game if it not for some seriously terrible plays at the bookends.
Defense played as expected: The defensive line was pretty good. They completely shut down Arizona's running game (63 yards on 30 carries) and did get pressure on Foles semi-consistently. Plus Binns had that amazing pick-six. The rest of the D was okay. Iowa gave up a couple of big passing plays that really hurt, but for the most part kept things in front of them and made sound tackles after short passes. If you take away that first touchdown after the blocked punt (you can't really blame the defense there) then Arizona's offense really only put up 13 points on their only 3 good drives of the night.
The comeback: Despite going down 14 points before ESPN even got coverage up on the game, Iowa managed to come back and tie the game up midway through the 4th quarter. Iowa didn't even try to run the ball and really put the game in the hand of Stanzi who led 2 nice scoring drives in the second half. He is really a very capable quarterback when he has time to throw. The defense also played really well in the second half holding Arizona scoreless the entire half until the winning touchdown with 4 minutes left in the game.
Dropped passes: There were two really big dropped passes. The first was a ball that went throw the hands of Marvin McNutt and was intercepted and returned for a TD. The ball was a little high, but McNutt should have made the catch. The other just absolutely horrible drop was by DJK running wide open down the side of the field for a sure touchdown and he flat out missed the ball.
Running game: Iowa didn't really try to run the ball after going down 0-14, but when they did it was completely ineffective. Jewel Hampton had a couple of nice carries before he got hurt (which is just terrible news), but Robinson did absolutely nothing when he ran the ball. The offensive line wasn't giving the backs many holes to run through.
Play calling: Look, I rarely complain about Ken O'Keefe. For the most part I think he does a good job with the QBs and game planning. However, on Saturday, the game plan was basically thrown out the window about 5 minutes into the first quarter. From there Iowa just threw, threw, threw and barely even hinted at running the ball. I would have liked to see at least something to keep Arizona honest. Run a draw, or a screen, or anything.
The OH GOD WHY?
Special teams: I don't think I need to explain this one. Just awful on all accounts. It's time to put starter in on special teams and put in a lot of them. The rest of the Big Ten is sucking in this department as well, but Iowa needs to get it fixed fast.
Blocking: The run blocking was not good, but was never really given a chance. The pass blocking was actually decent throughout most of the game, but with the game on the line on the final drive, it was non-existent. Arizona's defense ran freely at Stanzi four straight plays. Blocking was also a big issue in why the special teams were terrible. Two blocked kicks...when was the last time that happened to Iowa?
Officiating: Arizona probably has more to complain about than Iowa with the officials, but they were pretty bad on all accounts. It was hard for either team to get into any kind of flow when every other play there was a penalty called.
The curse of the west: Ferentz isn't going to allow any more games like this on the schedule any time soon, but until Iowa is able to win a game out west, we are going to here crap about it. The hot weather or the late kick had nothing to do with the terrible start. The only thing I could say about it is that Iowa looked much more fatigued at the end of the game than Arizona. That could be a heat or time thing if you were looking for an excuse.
The overly optimistic--hey, we only lost by 7: Basically everything that could go wrong did, and yet Iowa was right in this game up until the very end. A blocked punt, a blocked PAT, a kickoff and interception returned for TDs, terrible run blocking, even more terrible pass blocking, dropped passes, shaky pass coverage, crushing injuries, and Iowa still only lost by 7. Really, if Iowa can shape up on just a couple of things (mostly special teams), then they should be in really good shape for the Big Ten season.
The doom and gloom--the season is over: The offensive line is not as good as we thought. The special teams sucked. Jewel Hampton was our only hope and is hurt. Cornerback was exposed as a big weakness. Stanzi threw another pick six. Fire-the-entire-Iowa-coaching-staff.com Etc, etc, etc...