David Scrivner via the Iowa City Press Citizen
People tend to forget questionable decisions when things end up favorably, while they scrutinize those decisions when things end up negatively.
This will certainly be the case for Iowa fans following the UNI win.
However, Kirk Ferentz still made some trademark questionable decisions that could be called anywhere from conservative to pathologically risk-aversive to simply unaware.
At the end of the first half, Iowa got the ball back at its own 11-yard-line with all of its timeouts, 1:23 to go and a 17-13 lead.
At its own 11, nobody could blame Ferentz for trying to safely move the ball before attempting anything risky. However, after fullback Mark Weisman got the ball out to the 23, the head man decided to try for something.
Weisman then fumbled on a poorly called play that went and was going nowhere. He recovered the fumble, but that was enough to scare Ferentz, who put the kibosh on the drive.
He did try one more screen pass, but this highlights Ferentz's occasionally strange tendency to put his toe in aggressive waters but refuse to fully commit. A screen pass is a risky and slow-developing play. If Ferentz wanted to run the clock, why wouldn't he just run the ball? And if he wanted to try for a score, why wouldn't he pass it downfield?
In the second half, Iowa got the ball at its own 42 when safety Tom Donatell intercepted a UNI pass.
The Hawks did nothing with the opportunity and Iowa found itself with 4th-and-2 from its own 49. This was almost the same situation as backup punter John Wienke's "designed" pooch punt (per KCRG) against Northern Illinois.
Yet, instead of bringing in the senior to pin UNI in its own territory, Ferentz called out true freshman Connor Kornbrath, who shanked the ball (via Cork Gaines of Business Insider) for a net gain of nine yards.
After all the talk about the "designed" NIU play, what happened to Wienke against UNI?
Finally, with the Hawks up 24-16 early in the fourth quarter, Iowa found itself with a 4th-and-goal at the UNI one. Ferentz opted to kick the field goal.
One can understand Ferentz's decision to kick, given that the Iowa defense had done a good job of shutting UNI down from halftime forward. Nevertheless, it does further emphasize the reality that Ferentz is still Ferentz.