Saturday, September 24, 2005

Let's Face It, Folks, Iowa Isn't a Very Good Football Team Right Now

It’s a good thing there are some bad football teams in the Big Ten again this season.

A few of them are Illinois, Indiana and Northwestern—all of which, thankfully, are on Iowa's schedule.

So, along with success against Michigan and [maybe] Minnesota, the Hawkeyes will have enough victories to qualify for their fifth straight bowl game under coach Kirk Ferentz.

But no one—certainly not me—is in any mood to talk about bowl games after what happened today in the 101,568-seat horseshoe-shaped arena known as Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

Let's face it, folks. Iowa [2-2] isn't a very good football team right now.

It was total domination as Ohio State [3-1] knocked 21st-ranked Iowa out of the top 25 with a 31-6 victory. For the second time this season, the Hawkeyes were held without a touchdown [the other game was a 23-3 loss at Iowa State], and they were outgained in total offense, 531-136.

Ohio State’s Troy Smith, who came into the game regarded as the “other” quarterback behind Iowa’s Drew Tate, completed 13 of 19 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two other touchdowns.

So meek was Iowa’s offense that its rushing yardage total was minus-9 yards.

On the other hand, it was a day Woody [“Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust”] Hayes- the late Ohio State--would have loved. The Buckeyes ran for 313 yards.

Said Eddie Podolak, the commentator on Iowa’s radio broadcasts: “Momma said there’d be days like this.”

Momma was right.

The game resembled the Oct. 16 afternoon last season in Iowa City—only in reverse. On that day, Iowa had 448 yards of total offense to 177 for Ohio State in a 33-7 victory.

Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes’ coach who looks like a college professor [with the vest and necktie to prove it], went on to finish 8-4 in 2004. So, hopefully, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for the 2005 Hawkeyes.

But if quarterback Drew Tate [who completed 22 of 39 passes for 145 yards] doesn’t get his act together soon, that light will be dimmer.

The frustrated Tate—the preseason offensive player of the year in the Big Ten—spent much of Saturday’s game barking at his receivers for running the wrong routes. Actually, the receivers probably had just as much reason to be yelling at Tate for not getting the ball to him.

In the last half, Tate angrily threw the football to the turf and drew a 5-yard penalty. Some would say that’s the mark of a competitor. Others would say the kid is a junior already and should show more maturity and leadership abilities.

Oh, well. Tate will probably throw for 1,000 yards next Saturday when Iowa tees is up against Illinois at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The Fighting [and I use that word loosely] Illini were blitzed by Michigan State, 61-14, today.

As far as Iowa’s fans are concerned, Illinois’ coaches and players can’t get to Iowa City soon enough. Ferentz may want to send a couple of buses over to Champaign to get ‘em tomorrow night.

Vol. 4, No. 382
Sept. 24, 2005