Despite a valiant comeback attempt, Iowa couldn't manage the late game heroics that it had last season. The Hawkeyes were awful in the first quarter thanks to a number of special teams mishaps, and couldn't erase a 20-point halftime deficit. But there were certainly positives, as Iowa was the better team for the majority of the game.
Let's take a look at how the Hawkeyes fared in their first loss of the season.
For all the criticism Ricky Stanzi received during the game, he actually played pretty well. He led the Hawkeyes on a couple of key scoring drives and his one interception wasn't his fault.
The wide receivers also played well at points—Marvin McNutt had a few spectacular catches and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had a long touchdown catch, but there were too many drops and a tip by McNutt led to an Arizona pick six.
However, the running game was virtually non-existent, as Jewel Hampton was injured during the game and Adam Robinson rushed for a mere five yards on 10 carries.
The inexperienced offensive line, which received praise after solid performances during their first two games, allowed four straight sacks on Iowa's final offensive chance.
The bottom line, the offensive line needs to improve, but fortunately for the Hawkeyes, we have likely seen the very worst this offense can be.
The defense actually didn't play all that bad, and if the game only consisted of Arizona's offense vs. Iowa's defense, the Wildcats would have won 13-6.
The defensive line was solid, especially in the second half, and the linebackers played well. But the cornerback position is definitely a concern, as Arizona quarterback Nick Foles had a very good day passing.
The last Arizona drive is also worrisome, as the clutch Iowa defense couldn't hold up when it really mattered.
But, like the offense, this is likely the worst we will ever see the Iowa defense, so the future should be much brighter.
Special Teams: F-
Special teams was the one troublesome spot for Iowa coming out of its first two games and the unit proved to suspect once again.
The troubles started almost immediately, as an Iowa punt was blocked on the game's first series. Then, Arizona returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown.
The final straw came after Broderick Binns' interception return for a touchdown, when Trent Mossbrucker missed an extra point that would have given Iowa its first lead of the night.
The bottom line is that the Hawkeyes need to improve its special teams—especially kickoff return coverage—or else a unit that has typically been one of Iowa's strong points could come back to bite it later on in the season.
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