Hawkeyes suffering hangover from 2011 finish

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2012 - 12:22 PM

 Iowa lost four of its final six games last season, and that lackluster ending has spilled over to a sluggish 2012 start.

There have been a lot of adjectives thrown around about Iowa's football team lately, many of them coming from the inside.

Disappointing. Lackluster. Confusing.

Following last week's stunning last-minute loss to Central Michigan, the 2-2 Hawkeyes -- who were coming off a sluggish end to 2011 -- have become the target of questions and implications of a great collapse. Where is the Iowa of old? Well, it's been tough to locate.

In the Hawkeyes' first four games, against less-heralded opponents, they squeaked by in their opener against Northern Illinois; managed just two field goals in a loss to Iowa State; expectedly beat Northern Iowa; and then fell apart late against Central Michigan, allowing a touchdown and then a field goal off a recovered onside kick in losing their second game of the season at Kinnick Stadium, site of Saturday's Big Ten opener against the Gophers.

"It's just stupid football," Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde said after the Central Michigan game.

Here's another adjective that's floating around: balanced. The Gophers are heading into the annual trophy game 4-0 and without the feeling of being a major underdog. Although Iowa is a 7 1/2-point favorite, the programs look to be converging instead of diverging.

This time, Iowa is the one with something major to prove. A Minnesota rally in the fourth quarter last season -- the Gophers' second consecutive victory over the Hawkeyes -- started a season-ending 2-4 slide.

With only 11 combined starters returning on offense and defense plus two new coordinators, 2012 figured to be somewhat of a rebuilding campaign. But that process isn't moving along in the manner in which Iowa is accustomed.

In their first couple games, the Hawkeyes looked stagnant on offense, putting up just 24 points in the two combined. Quarterback James Vandenberg -- a fifth-year senior who has been touted as the best pure passer in the league -- has completed just 58.6 percent of his attempts so far, with the team's receiving corps showing its inexperience.

"I think he's played well, but we haven't played well enough to win in two of them, and that's the way it is for James. That's the way it is for all our players, that's the way it is for our coaching staff," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "That's the reality of football, whether you win or lose you have to move past the previous weekend. You have to do two things: You have to focus on things you need to do better internally, and you have to focus on your opponents. ... Clearly we weren't prepared well enough last week, and we didn't play well enough as a result."

Iowa likely will be focusing on Minnesota more than ever, but there are a lot of things to tweak if it wants to retake the Floyd of Rosedale trophy.

Ferentz has talked about communication issues in the first few games, something that can be tough to overcome. So, too, are the nine penalties the Hawkeyes committed against Central Michigan. Walk-on fullback Mark Weisman has emerged as a fan favorite and has put up big numbers -- six touchdowns in the past two games -- but the offense needs some versatility to get by a Gophers defense that shut down Syracuse last week and is gaining confidence by the day.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill, for one, said he doesn't expect to be surprised by the product that comes marching out at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.

"Everybody goes, 'What's Iowa look like?' They look just like Iowa always looks like. Big, strong, physical, come downhill, hit you in the mouth."

Lately, though, they've been getting hit back an awful lot.

  • related content

  • Read the replay: Gophers football Live Chat with Phil Miller

    Thursday September 27, 2012

    How good are the undefeated Gophers? Really? See what college football writer Phil Miller and Gophers fans were talking about during their Live Chat on Thursday afternoon.

  • Running back-turned-safety gives U's secondary a boost

    Thursday September 27, 2012

    It was national signing day in 2011, and Cedric Thompson, a little-known running back in a tiny town in the California desert, had no place to go. And then his...

  • Chart: Hawkeyes grounded

    Wednesday September 26, 2012

    Iowa won the Orange Bowl following the 2009 season. Lately, though, the proud program has hit some hard times -- and the Gophers have played a major role:

  • Central Michigan kicker David Harman (96) celebrates with teammates Er...

  • GOPHERS AT IOWA 11 a.m. Saturday • Kinnick Stadium • TV: Big Ten Network (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close