Don Doxsie grades the Hawkeyes’ performance Saturday against Iowa State:


The Hawkeyes had their chances but failed to score a touchdown for only the second time in more than four years. The pass protection was much improved over a week ago, but the run blocking was bad, Iowa receivers dropped at least eight passes and quarterback James Vandenberg made a few questionable decisions at crucial moments. Vandenberg completed only 20 of 42 passes with two interceptions, and the Hawkeyes finished with only 304 yards of offense.


When you hold your instate rival to just nine points, you deserve a good grade. Iowa State did grind out 342 yards against the Hawkeyes but only got into the end zone once, on the opening series of the game. The Hawkeyes forced three turnovers in the red zone. Linebackers were especially prominent, with Anthony Hitchens recording a career-high 19 tackles and James Morris adding 12 in addition to an interception and 49-yard return that stopped an ISU threat in the fourth quarter. Micah Hyde stopped another threat with a jarring tackle that popped the ball loose for Dominic Alvis to recover.


Sign up for the Hawkmania Newsletter

Get our comprehensive Hawkeyes coverage delivered to your inbox

There was nothing too bad here, but nothing very special either. Freshman punter Connor Kornbrath got a workout, but averaged only 36.6 yards on his eight punts. The Hawkeyes averaged only 16 yards per kickoff return, with the longest one being 20 yards. Mike Meyer made both his field-goal attempts but neither one was much of a challenge. One was 23 yards and the other 21.


The game plan on both offense and defense seemed better than a week ago against Northern Illinois, although it still wasn’t good enough to produce a victory. Despite the clever ploy of stationing an empty trophy case inside the Iowa locker room, the Hawkeyes didn’t seem to be quite as emotionally charged as their opponent, although there was no apparent shortage of effort.