Iowa Football: Winners and Losers from Week 2 vs. Iowa State
A hotly-contested, hard-hitting affair was expected when Iowa and Iowa State met in Kinnick Stadium to write the next chapter in their storied rivalry, and in that regard it didn't disappoint.
By nearly every other metric a football team can be measured, however, the Hawkeyes were painfully disappointing in a 9-6 loss that saw the Cyclones walk off with the Cy-Hawk trophy for a second consecutive season.
The week ahead will be challenging for the glass half-full crowd, as Saturday's loss provided far more ammo for their ever-present antagonists, the doom-and-gloom prognosticators.
In the interest of universal appeal, let's analyze the winners and losers from a bitter Hawkeye defeat.
Loser: Nike Receiving Gloves
We love to extol the virtues of hard work and dedication to our children, but I am a firm believer it's the equipment that makes the man.
Depending on your craft, you may be a better set of clubs from being scratch golfers, a nicer suit from landing a great job, or a great pair of receiving gloves from hauling in a critical reception over the middle on 4th-and-10.
If this theory weren't true, the Iowa receivers would have some explaining to do after multiple critical drops in the fourth quarter. It became clear the Cyclones had no answer for C.J. Fiedorowicz late in the game.
Unfortunately, his gloves let him down in a big spot.
That was nothing compared to the number junior wide receiver Don Shumpert's gloves did on him. Shumpert's gloves allowed what would have been a fourth down conversion to hit him in the chest and hardly bothered to touch the ball before it hit the Kinnick Stadium turf for a turnover on downs.
I'm starting to wonder if these gloves are good for anything besides forming team logos when held up to show allegiance to The Roc.
Winner: Defensive Coaching Staff
To say the defense put Iowa in a position to win is more than a slight understatement.
The last time the Hawkeyes failed to win a game in which their opponent was held under 10 points was a 5-3 loss to Arizona in 1980 (via HawkeyeNation.com).
In the first half, Iowa's defense was unable to get anything even slightly resembling pressure on ISU quarterback Steele Jantz, a problem compounded by repeated missed tackles at first contact. The end result was a unit that forced zero three-and-outs and was undoubtedly relieved to go to the locker room trailing only 9-3.
First-year defensive coordinator Phil Parker once again made all the right adjustments at halftime. The defense forced numerous three-and-outs and came away with huge plays in do-or-die situations, specifically when ISU moved the ball into the red zone.
For the second straight week, the Iowa defense did their job, and it appears Phil Parker is the right man for his.
Loser: Fans with End Zone Seats
One of the unique features of Kinnick Stadium is the close proximity of the fans to the field. It is not uncommon for fans in the end zone—often students—to join in the celebration when the Hawkeyes score a touchdown.
Unfortunately for eager fans, it appears Iowa touchdowns are more of a theoretical possibility than a likely occurrence.
In their six trips to the red zone this season, the Hawkeyes have come away with a grand total of zero touchdowns. On Saturday, that included a very manageable 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line, which Iowa predictably turned into three points.
It looks like fans with end zone seats at Kinnick may need to petition to have the field goal nets taken down if they hope to see any action.
Winner: The 1920s
Let there be no debate as to the level of appreciation today's Iowa football program has for the undefeated Hawkeye squads of 1921 and 1922.
There is a celebratory vibe that accompanies the donning of special throwback uniforms, but the Hawkeyes had no intention of stopping at the sartorial homage. Instead, Iowa embarked on a journey of method acting that would have made Marlon Brando question their sanity.
Determined to sell their role as the 1921 Iowa football team, the Hawkeyes refused to indulge in the modern advancements of offensive football, instead plodding along to a historically-accurate six point yawn-fest.
Loser: Iowa Cheerleaders
Cheerleader is a thankless job. Despite their hard work and often dangerous routines, cheerleaders are often marginalized as irrelevant window dressing.
When the team on the field provides little or no cheer-worthy moments, they become a complete annoyance. It's nothing personal, but when your favorite team is in the process of raising your blood pressure to dangerous new heights, any form of enthusiasm is actually quite infuriating.
Winner: Message Boards
Misery loves company, and fan site message boards after disappointing losses are the most densely populated wasteland of anonymous know-it-alls the Internet has to offer.
Immediately following Iowa's anemic offensive performance, the message boards lit up with calls for wildly unreasonable changes.
Bench the fifth-year senior quarterback in favor of someone we know nothing about and have never seen take a meaningful snap NOW!
Perhaps the most entertaining thread included calls for the offensive coordinator's job, two games into his tenure, by people lamenting the loss of former offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe.
Among the most popular message board topics over the previous decade had been "Fire Ken O'Keefe."
There isn't much to be gained by reading these posts, but there are a lot of them, and they're especially fired up this week.
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