Don Doxsie grades the Iowa football team in its 26-14 loss to Michigan State:
For two series in the second quarter, the Hawkeyes looked crisp and unstoppable. Other than that? Forget it. They did not have a first down in the first quarter and they had only one in the third quarter. That running attack that was so productive in the first five games managed just 23 yards in 16 carries against the nation’s No. 1 defense. Quarterback Jake Rudock was 11 for 11 passing for 138 yards in that second quarter, but finished was 15 for 35 for 103 in the other three periods. His arm strength continues to be a question mark. Both his interceptions came on deep passes that were horribly underthrown.
The Hawkeyes gave up 414 yards to an offense that hadn’t done much this season and allowed sophomore Connor Cook to have a career day at quarterback. However, some of that is because the defense was on the field all day and got worn down. Early in the game, the Hawkeyes stopped the Spartans once on fourth-and-short and held them to field goal attempts after two other prime scoring opportunities. Young cornerback Sean Draper was exposed a couple of times, missing tackles badly twice on MSU’s first touchdown drive.
SPECIAL TEAMS D
How many times are the Hawkeyes going to be victimized by fake punts before they figure it out? The Spartans’ Mike Sadler ripped off a 25-yard gain against them early in the fourth quarter, gaining more yards rushing on one play than the Iowa running backs did in the entire game. MSU also got a 30-yard punt return from Macgarrett Kings Jr. that set up a third-quarter field goal. Other than a solid 44.2-yard average by punter Connor Kornbrath, there wasn’t much positive in this area for the Hawkeyes.
After the Iowa offense generated only 21 yards and no first downs in its first five series, the Iowa coaches made a good adjustment by speeding up the tempo of their attack. It worked as they scored touchdowns on their next two possessions. But that was the full extent of the offensive productivity for the day. The defensive game plan wasn’t bad but the lack of offense left the Iowa defense on the field all day. The continued vulnerability to fake punts is an issue that needs to be addressed.