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Considering all the obstacles it has had to overcome, the Iowa offense has met expectations this season.
At quarterback, Ricky Stanzi has made a complete transformation from his erratic play last season. He has 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions—only one was his fault—and is the third-ranked passer in the country.
Unlike last year, he has put together solid drives in the first half of games, and Iowa is a legitimate passing threat for the first time since the middle of this decade.
Stanzi's receivers have been solid, as well. Marvin McNutt continues to make big plays, and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is well on his way to becoming Iowa's all-time leading receiver, perhaps even gaining that title this Saturday against Michigan.
Unlike most Iowa teams, the run game has hindered the offense more than the passing game. Running back Jewel Hampton is out for a second consecutive season, and Adam Robinson has been forced to carry a majority of the load.
Aside from an embarassing 10-carry, five-yard game against Arizona, when the run game was virtually non-existent, Robinson has been solid. But for Iowa to be a truly-balanced team, someone behind him—either true freshman Marcus Coker or redshirt fresman Brad Rogers—needs to step up.
That said, so does the offensive line.
For the first time in Kirk Ferentz's career in Iowa City, the offensive line may be the weakest part of the Hawkeye offense. That's more a testament to the rest of the unit than it is a blow to the line, which is inexperienced, but has improved steadily each game.
Since the disasterous four-sack series to seel the Arizona game, Iowa's offensive line has been adequate, and the improvement was obvious against a solid Penn State defense.
But there is still a lot of work to do for this young unit, especially in passing situations, if Iowa's offense wants to compete against elite defenses like Ohio State's.