Iowa-Arkansas State: Five Reasons the Hawkeyes Should Worry
Trap games can be stressful. For hardcore fans, trap games are down right hazardous to your health.
They happen when good teams underestimate their upcoming opponent because of a big win. They also occur when a good team overlooks a seemingly weaker opponent the week before a big game.
The Hawkeyes could have both scenarios happening with the game against Arkansas State.
The team is coming off an emotional high after the dominant performance over Penn State in Happy Valley. Sometimes an emotionally high team can underestimate a mediocre team.
After Arkansas State comes to town, Michigan comes to Iowa City for Homecoming. Sometimes teams overlook a lesser opponent before a big game.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are not your ordinary team. And they aren't coached by your ordinary head coach.
Kirk Ferentz knows how to win football games, and will come into this week's game focused and prepared. For Ferentz, there is no such thing as a trap game and he will have the team ready for battle.
While Ferentz will have them primed for the game, there is still reason to worry about Arkansas State.
In fact, there are five reasons to worry.
1. Arkansas State has nothing to lose
No one really gives Arkansas State a chance in this game. They are coming into Kinnick Stadium, where Iowa fans are still chasing the PSU victory dragon. They lost to Nebraska and they lost to Troy.
At this point, ASU can afford to gamble. They can take chances in this game because at this point in the season they have nothing to lose.
They have everything to gain by taking risks. The Red Wolves get the luxury of a national spotlight as the result of ESPN2 picking up the option to carry this game. They could make a statement by upsetting the No.13 ranked Hawkeyes while the nation watches on TV.
2. Arkansas State's Defense is better than they have looked
For starters, ASU has a monster of a defensive end in 6-foot-5, 280 pound Alex Carrington. Carrington had more than 10 sacks last year.
He is scary because Iowa is tied for last in the Big Ten for sacks allowed, having given up 10 on the year for 96 sack yards.
Carrington also has a lot of experience around him. Arkansas State returns eight starters from the second-best defense in the Sun Belt Conference.
Even with two losses, the Red Wolves defense is first in the Sun Belt conference in rushing defense, only giving up an average of 100 yards a game. They held Nebraska to 136 total rushing yards.
3. The Hawkeye Passing Game
Not to kick a dead horse, but heading into this game Iowa's Ricky Stanzi hasn’t put together a full game. The last four games have been the same: a bad first half for Stanzi, followed by a great second half for Stanzi.
It's not entirely Stanzi's fault. There have been blown routes by receivers. There have been numerous dropped balls. There was a torrential downpour. There was an injured tight end. There was even a fluke ninja-kick-to-interception.
As of yet, we haven't a completely clicking Hawkeye Passing game and that is a slight cause for concern. The Arkansas State game is a great time to work on that.
4. Arkansas State's Offense
The country unanimously agrees that the Hawkeye defense is good. But Arkansas State has a few things the Hawkeyes haven't seen yet this year.
Quarterback Corey Leonard holds the school’s all-time record for total yardage with 7,433 yards. That means the kid can throw.
Leonard is a very competent and confident quarterback, despite getting off to a slow start this year. Since he has yet to have a big game, that could mean he is due.
The Red Wolves also operate out of a shotgun offense. This is something different for our defensive backs to adapt to after a Penn State offense.
The ASU running back, Reggie Arnold, is coming off three straight 1,000-yard seasons. He is averaging over six yards a carry and has seven TDs this year. That means the kid can run (and score).
With a lot of options on offense, ASU has big play potential. The Hawkeyes have been caught off guard a few games this season by big plays.
5. Gameday Talk
Let the speculation of ESPN's Gameday making an appearance in Iowa City for the Michigan game begin. Actually, the rumors began yesterday after the school announced that ABC had picked up the night game next week.
It makes sense, if you think about it right. Assuming Iowa and Michigan win this week, there are two 5-0 teams facing each other next week. But, there is also LSU against Florida that day. That is likely more appealing to Gameday. Of course, that game is on CBS, which might mean ABC doesn't really want to hype a big game on a rival station.
The fact that this is even a topic of discussion before the Arkansas State game proves there is reason to worry. The Hawkeye nation should be focused on the game at hand, not the What Ifs.
If life were like the XBOX, this would be the week to skip ahead and let the computer automatically simulate play through the week.
Iowa 35, Arkansas State 14
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