Sunday, October 01, 2006

Iowa thoughts/analysis

Probably the most complete game we've played thus far in the season. Outside of Gonzo's second TD, nothing was absolutely spectacular, but everything was very, very good.

  • How much longer until Brent Musberger is out of a job? I know I sound like another annoying fan here, but the guy refused to give Ohio State any credit whatsoever. When he wasn't talking in pure monotone during a Buckeye touchdown, he was referring to the game as an "Iowa Hawkeye Self-Destruction." News flash Brent: These guys have been ranked #1 since August, and Iowa is rebuilding on defense just as much as we are.
  • Brent Musberger may have been bad, but at he wasn't in a zebra suit. Keith eluded to earlier in the week that Ohio State's opponents are the least flagged of any team's opponents in the entire conference. Last night was another example of a refereeing debacle. Donald Washington's first quarter pass interference was a total joke, and how could the refs NOT see Ted Ginn's catch for a first down? It was quite obvious that his hand was under the ball, and he was hit down before the ball came out. Not to mention Iowa got away with about 3 trillion holding calls. It's easy to stop Vernon Gholston when he's getting tackled.
  • Drew Tate tries really hard not to spike the ball. This may have been the most frustrating game for Drew Tate as a quarterback. Tate only got sacked twice on the game, but he was running for his life all game, and the varying looks by the Buckeye defense caused some real bad throws by Tate. He went an absolutely horrid 19-41 from the field, with a 1-3 TD:INT ratio. He got yards, which was expected, but I'm sure fans were expecting a total closer to 300 with 41 attempts.
  • Albert Young, where art thou? A common occurance this season is the opposing coaching staff completely abandoning the run game by the half. Outside of that one drive where Albert Young broke tackles on his way to a 15 yard touchdown, the Iowa running game was completely non-existant all evening. Iowa totaled 87 rushing yards on the evening, by far the most impressive outing from the Buckeye front 7 all season.
  • Antonio Pittman is one of the top 2 running backs in the Big 10. I'm not ready to hand him the crown over Mike Hart quite yet, but boy is it getting close. In my opinion, Pittman had the best game of his career to date considering the circumstances (Road game at night, team on upset alert). His ability to bounce runs to the outside when there was nothing up the middle was something we've only seen a few times out of Pittman before last night. He displayed vision that we haven't seen since the Maurice Clarett days.
  • Gonzo could be one of the best receivers in the country. Maybe its a result of too much focus on Ginn, but watching Gonzalez out there, there's no reason to believe that he's not one of the 10 best out there. He's a better receiver than Ginn is, and until Ginn shows some big play potential, I may consider him a better all-around player. It's amazing how on third down everyone knows who will be getting the ball, and no one can stop him.
  • Speaking of Ted Ginn...The kid is just trying too hard. His route running is fine tuned, but he's making a lot of bad choices once he gets the ball. Instead of cutting upfield, he was trying to make the moves he did as a freshman. He lucked out big time on that fumble on the first offensive play. Now that Santonio is gone, we need this guy to be a receiver, not a gimmick back, although I have no problem with the screen passes when the Iowa secondary is giving him a 10 yard cushion. I may get destroyed for this, but I'm starting to think we need another returner sometime soon.
  • Oh yeah, we've got another guy on offense, too. Despite only racking up 186 yards through the air and 209 yards overall, Troy Smith had a heisman like performance. Jim Tressel obviously had no plans of using a vertical passing game, and once the lead got comfortable, Tressel pretty much went away from the passing game entirely. 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions was a statement that last week was a fluke, and this guy became the leader in the heisman race with an idle Adrian Peterson.
  • Road to the national championship? After Michigan State lost to Illinois, the schedule is pretty easy leading up to the showdown with the boys in blue. I have no problem doing it as a fan, but the players better not look ahead at all. We need to take this at a "one game at a time" pace, and the last thing we need is another let down like 1998 Michigan State.
  • Jim Tressel is a happy man. Time of Posession: OSU - 40:30, Iowa - 19:30. Nothing else needs to be said.
  • Last but not least, the defense was downright nasty. They gave up yards through the air, but I think a lot of that had to be expected against a guy like Drew Tate. However, when it counted, these guys stepped up seriously. Outside of that little hiccup in the second quarter, this looked like a defense from seasons past. 11 guys flying to the ball every snap. Brandon Mitchell could have had 3 picks on his own. There was a lot more blitzing than we're accustomed to seeing this season, but that must mean the coaching staff is becoming comfortable with the defense that they can sacrifice defenders to get to the quarterback.
  • Any updates on Anderson Russell? The guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite players, and he really has a nose for the ball. I hope the injury wasn't too serious.

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