Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Rudock Staring Down Receivers
With the exception of Mark Weisman's fumble in the first quarter, Iowa kept the mistakes relatively small in the first half.
But three huge errors in the second half eventually doomed the Hawkeyes.
First, the fake punt. Give credit to NIU for executing an option play out of the punt formation, but this play was devastating. The Huskies hadn't done much on their first three drives of the third quarter, and they were facing a 4th-and-5 at Iowa's 46-yard line.
Short distance to gain, ball at midfield and the offense was struggling—it was the perfect time for a fake. But the Hawkeyes couldn't stop it, and punter Tyler Wedel took the ball inside the 10-yard line.
According to Scott Dochterman of The Gazette, the Hawkeyes were aware the fake could happen, but linebacker James Morris said, “It was a mental error on our part.”
That can't happen on your home field when the defense is on a roll.
The second mishap belongs to the secondary breakdown on Northern Illinois' game-tying touchdown. It was hot out and players were cramping, but Da'Ron Brown was wide open and B.J. Lowery didn't get over in time. Also according to Lowery in Dochterman's article, the cornerback has had cramping issues in the past.
With temperatures expected to be in the 90s against Missouri State, his status will be something to keep an eye on.
The last mistake, and most obvious, was Rudock's interception. According to Rudock in his postgame interview, his throw was a little behind the receiver and Jimmie Ward made a good play on the ball.
Be that as it may, the interception and an additional NIU first down set up Mathew Sims for his game-winning kick.
However, the good news for the Hawkeyes is that it's a nonconference game and they improved on some necessary areas. They ran 84 plays, stretched the field at times and had good balance between running and passing.
The matchup with Missouri State comes at an ideal time, and Iowa should be able to fix some of its issues it had in Week 1.