Well, that was definitely not a pretty victory. The team as a whole was very average looking on Saturday. They looked like they were just going through the motions. Though the players and coaches may not admit that they were overlooking the Red Wolves, I think it's pretty obvious that they were...and as a result for the second time this year the Hawkeyes almost lost to an inferior foe. But 5-0 is 5-0, so there is only so much you can complain about.
Shockingly, Stanzi came out on fire and actually had a better first half than second. After hitting Stross and McNutt on long touchdowns, everyone and their mom was thinking, okay...this is going to be a blow out. Then, Stanzi went and played generally not too well. He threw two terrible interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown that allowed ASU to get within 7. On that return as well, Stazni was absolutely embarrassed trying to tackle Demario Davis.
Overall though, his stats looked pretty good, definitely padded by the long ball that was right on today (which was very good to see as he's kind of been struggling with that thus far this year). He went 18 of 26 for 296 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions. This actually a QB rating of 187.6, by far his highest of the year. I would have given him a higher grade had his interceptions been so costly and untimely.
Running backs: C
The running backs were very average today (though the offensive line wasn't giving them huge holes). Neither back really made any mistakes and had some okay runs, but they just weren't hitting on all cylinders. Robinson only averaged 2.7 yards per carry and wasn't breaking tackles they way he has in the past couple of games. Wegher played a little better and had 49 yards on 11 carries, but really most of his yards came on a 19 yard run in the second quarter. Neither were helped by the fullbacks though. Iowa lined up in the I most of the day, and Morse missed a couple of lead blocks that would have led to decent gains.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+
This was the by far the best performance by the receivers and probably a million times better than last week. Marivn McNutt had a "breakout" performance, if you want to call it that. He had 2 long touchdown catches and had 4 total receptions for 121 yards. Keenan Davis also had a couple of nice catches along the sideline and Stross got compeletely wide open on his first quarter touchdown. And DJK had a nice grab on the 1 play (he probably played more than that) he actually got in. Reisner had a couple of good grabs and once again filled in nicely for Moeaki (I really hope he's back next week though). Just overall though, I don't recall any dropped balls, and the receivers did a good job of getting open, especially down field.
Offensive Line: C+
The offensive line had a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on Saturday. The pass blocking was excellent (no sacks...I think for the first time this year), and Stanzi had plenty of time all day. The run blocking however, left something to be desired. Vandervelde especially had a rough day missing some blocks in short yardage situations. On the other hand, Bulaga looked back in form on his return. He had a false start on a bad call, but really looked good otherwise.
Offense as a Whole: B-
The offensive production was really pretty solid (420 yards, 296 passing, and 124 on the ground), but for long stretches of the game the offense looked lazy, especially after the first 2 drives in the first half. Part of that is on the coaches. The game plan was pretty conservative besides the 3 or 4 long passes and the McNutt receiver pass...it was mostly just run it up the gut into a 8 or 9 man box. Definitely not as exciting as the stellar game plans against the previous opponents, Arizona particularly.
Defensive Line: A-
The line, which has emerged as the strength of the defense, was very good once again. ASU gained less than 100 yards on the ground, and the line got pressure on the QB with 2 sacks (both by Clayborn) and 3.5 tackles for loss. Just not much to complain about here.
The linebackers played pretty well, but did not have quite the same impact as last week. Angerer had 11 tackles and Hunter added another 8. However, the pass coverage was once again not fantastic. On ASU's last drive (minus the hail mary) the linebackers got beat twice by the Tebowesque fake draw jump pass to the tight end play. While it's hard not to bite on the run fake, Edds (or maybe Angerer) completely missed his assignment on the touchdown.
Really the secondary could be split into two groups: Spievey/Sash and Greenwood/Lowe. The first had a fantastic game. I only recall one pass being completed against Spievey and Sash had yet another interception (there is basically no way at this point that he doesn't break the record for INTs at Iowa...he has 10 already and 18 is the record). Greenwood and Lowe, on the other hand, played rather poor. I'm usually not as hard on Greenwood as some, but he had some trouble in run support. Sometimes he just takes bad angles or doesn't wrap up. Lowe was absolutely abused in the passing game. I think about half of the passes were thrown in his direction. He gave up a touchdown (he did have pretty good coverage and it was a well thrown ball) and had a pass interference called. He did okay filling in, but I have to same I'm happy the Prater is back on the depth chart.
Defense as a Whole: B
If the defense hadn't played so well against Arizona and Penn State, I probably won't be complaining too much this week. They only gave up 14 points, under 300 total yards, under 100 rushing, and forced two interceptions.
The Special Teams
Special Teams as a Whole: C+
This was probably the worst game from a special team's perspective. Donahue seemed slightly off, punting into the endzone for touchbacks and not really booting the ball all the far. Granted, ASU averaged -3 (yeah, the only return went backwards) yards on punt returns. Kick off coverage was pretty good only giving up 15 yards per return, and the onside kick recovery was perfect. The up front guys all got on their blocks and McNutt fielded the ball cleanly and uncontested. The kicking game was mediocre as Murray missed an inexcusable 28 yarder. He also was not kicking the ball very far on kick offs. I'm not sure if that was by design since the Red Wolves returnmen were having a hard time fielding the ball after it bounced, or if his leg is just not that strong.