Sweet Baby Jesus
I'm still a bit shocked at the outcome of Iowa's 21-10 victory over then #5 Penn State. Not shocked that they won, I knew it was certainly a possibility. Just surprised that they actually pulled it off. Just think everything that was working against the Hawks on Saturday: the revenge factor (if you saw the way Daryl Clark celebrated after the first TD, that revenge factor was real), the seven hours of rain on real grass, the White-Out, playing a top 5 ranked team in the country. Everything. And yet they did it.
This game, especially the fourth quarter, was so much fun to watch. It started with Clayborn's punt-safe-block-scoop-run-TD and it ended with Daniel Murray kicking a 31-yard ball of irony down Penn State's collective mouth. I had accidentally run into a variety of objects and spilled so much beverage on my roommates, apartment floor, and myself that I had to watch the game from the comforts of my own bathroom. Things can go from excited to annoying really fast when people are soaked. I have a feeling this was the case all across the dustland fairytale that is Iowa.
Rumble on, big man. Rumble on.
Comprehending the Awesomeness that is Six Seconds of Hell
This is easily the story of the game. Try and name someone on the defense that didn't play well. We'll just go left to right, back to front. ESPN.com's Big 10 Defensive POW Broderick Binns: 8 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble that led to a safety. Karl Klug: 6 tackles, 2 TFL, .5 a sack, a tip that led to an INT, and a fumble recovery in the 4th quarter that essentially sealed the game. Christian Ballard: not gaudy stats (only 2 tackles), but probably the most consistent pressure on Clark the entire game. ESPN.com's Big 10 Special Teams POW Adrian Clayborn: Only two tackles...plus the aforementioned game changing/winning play.
Let's talk about this play for a bit. I can usually rate big plays in Hawkeye history by how I reacted to them. Ed Hinkel's one-handed catch at the Big House; quiet astonishment. Shonn Greene's run against Wisconsin; "He's too good. Too good." The Catch? I ran around a basement screaming and hugging and swearing and screaming for a good 20 minutes or more. In the process, I managed to pop an air mattress and instantly changed the way a few of my family's friends thought of me. On Clayborn's block, I jumped up from the couch (blocking the projector, which blocked the actual screen) and began to simultaneously celebrate in disbelief and endure significant wrath from friends.
If this block doesn't happen, it could be a completely and totally different game. Iowa gained both momentum and confidence after the block. Ferentz's best teams have always made big plays in special teams. ALWAYS. This is the aspect that has been missing the past few years. This season is different, which is why it could be very special. Iowa blocked two consecutive field goals in its opener. The Hawks silenced Happy Valley with a block on a punt safe. Just sayin'.
A.J Edds: 6 tackles, one INT. Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week Pat Angerer: 14 tackles, 1 forced fumble, one interception that he got knocked out on, and one amazing quote. Angerer called Edds a "bleep" for sliding after his pick. I can only assume and hope "bleep" means "bitch", but who knows, curse words have a variety of uses and meanings. Pretty funny considering Angerer got his bell rung during his return.
Jeremiha Hunter: 12 tackles, 1.5 TFL. Hunter seemed to be in on every play.
Amari Spievey: After getting burnt team for the touchdown on Penn State's first play, Spievey did what Spievey does. Mainly, locking down an entire side of the field. I'd bet at least three of my toes that Spievey doesn't get burnt like that again all season.
Sash/Greenwood: Pretty quiet game from the tandem. Probably due to the fact that the ball didn't get more than 4 yards down the field at a time. Though, it's entirely possible Iowa was playing a cover-2 deep on the first play and Sash bit on the play fake. Otherwise, spectacularly solid.
Shaun Prater: Making only his second start, he baited Clark like a veteran for a INT and then proceeded to run 78 yards sideways for a gain of 0.
That defense was something special on Saturday. Although we knew coming in that Penn State's offensive line was not a strength, Iowa's D-Line abused them all night. Can we expect this type of production game-in, game-out. Absolutely not. However, Iowa's defensive line is the reason this defense is suffocating its opponents.
JoePa has seen better days, when he could see. Dude is a LEGEND.
So what's next?
First and foremost, Arkansas State. Anyone know anything at all about them? No? Sweet. They lost to Nebraska by 30ish. Last year, they "upset" a bad Texas A&M team. This is a "trap" game. Iowa just beat a top 5 opponent on the road for the first time since 1990. Iowa hosts #23 Michigan, at home, at night, on Homecoming. Arkansas State is sandwiched. Plus, the two stereotypes of trap games do sorta exist. Teams usually play worse after a huge win or before a big game. Arkansas State is both. Remember how well Iowa played against a bad Purdue game last year after Penn State? If it weren't for Shonn Greene destroying the manhood(s) of Purdue's secondary, Iowa might have lost that game.
Iowa's run schedule doesn't look so tough anymore. At Wisconsin, tough, but not Penn State tough. Plus, I'll be there, which means at least +4 points for the Hawks. At Michigan State not as bad, since they've been pooping the bed so far this season. Plus, I hope they lose to Michigan this weekend to set up the battle of the undefeateds in two weeks, with a possibility of GameDay coming to Iowa Cit-ay. With a good amount of luck, at Ohio State will hopefully be the battle for the Big 10 Title.
That's looking pretty far ahead, but it is certainly more plausible after this weekend.
(All photos owned by Matthew Holst)