WOW. Now that was ugly. The Hawkeyes scored 30 points, or more, in each of their first four games. Saturday at Penn State, they managed just 3. Absolutely shocking for an offense ranked 2nd, behind Wisconsin, and a passing attack ranked 1st in the Big Ten. I figured the game would be tough (I called it a 50/50 toss-up), but this is not what I imagined. This was the worst performance by an Iowa team since losing to Western Michigan, in 2007. Coincidentally, that was the last time Iowa lost a game by more than 7 points. The nations longest streak ended at 43 games.
This might be the worst defense Iowa has had since 2000, but what I can't make sense of is the lack of production on offense. Kirk Ferentz and company had two weeks to prepare for Penn State. Yes, PSU's defense is good, but those guys looked like the 'Steel Curtain' out there.
Hawkeye fans are starting the "Ferentz is on the hot-seat" talk, again. It's really the first time since 2007 we've heard it. Even if Ferentz deserved to be fired, it would never happen. The guy practically runs the U of I athletics department. He could go 3-9, and lose to Nebraska by 40 points, and he'd still be the head coach next season. That being said, I completely understand the frustration Iowa fans are showing. While I think Ferentz is a fantastic program-builder, I don't think he's a good in-game coach. If games were played on the practice field, Iowa may have won several national championships. Ferentz molds unwanted recruits into NFL players, but for some reason, he doesn't seem to get the most out of them every Saturday. Penn State reversed the curse against Iowa. Maybe the Hawks can do the same against Northwestern, next week. The Wildcats haven't lost at Kinnick since 2002.
Marcus Coker was extremely terse with reporters following the loss. Check out the video from Hawkeye Drive. http://hawkeyedrive.com/2011/10/08/iowa-psu-video-marcus-coker/
How much worse would things be if Iowa hadn't made that 24-point comeback against Pittsburgh, 3 weeks ago?
Iowa's game-plan (or lack thereof) was made even more frustrating when Iowa State came out and knocked #25 Baylor right in the mouth on ISU's very first offensive play. I love the flea-flicker play-call, and it worked. ISU scored a quick touchdown, and hung around a lot longer than they probably should have.
Steele Jantz finally showed some glimpses of the way he looked in the Iowa game. It's just clear the Cyclones don't have enough talent to hang with a team like Baylor, on the road. The good news is, next week's game at Missouri looks winnable. The Tigers are 0-2 in the Big 12 after losing at Kansas State, today.
The Cyclones may start going for two after every touchdown, from here on out. Grant Mahoney missed a pair of extra points. That's just inexcusable. As a coach, that has to be the most frustrating for a head coach. It's not like Paul Rhoads can take his kickers out and show them how to boot a field goal...although Rhoads could probably make an extra point.