Trailing 24-3 at home to Pittsburgh, Hawkeye fans,
including myself, were speechless. After giving ample credit to Kirk Ferentz
and being 100 percent onboard with quarterback James Vandenberg, I was stunned
with the Hawkeye performance through three quarters. Even though the Hawks were
being blown out I never thought about leaving the student section at Kinnick
Stadium but I was trying to think of what my response was going to be to all
the criticism I was planning on receiving from friends, family, and the random
people on Twitter who love to bash my opinion. Thankfully, it never came to
With roughly 16 minutes left in the
game, and four touchdowns later, James Vandenberg and the Hawkeyes pulled off
the largest comeback in the programs history coming back from a 24-3 deficit to
winning 31-27. Fans went from flushing the season down the drain, to having
extreme confidence in the Hawks and bragging about the amount of heart inside
the black and gold jerseys.
I’ve had numerous people ask me
what play specifically changed the game for the Hawks. My answer is this: The
no huddle offense. Personally, I think Vandenberg plays better in a faster
paced offense and his numbers prove it. In the first half, it seemed like
Vandenberg couldn’t complete three passes in a row. In the fourth, when Iowa was in their two-minute
offense, Vandenberg completed ten in a row and threw three touchdown passes.
I also thought the defense started
to play better in the second half, not only because the crowd at Kinnick was
very loud; almost as loud as the Penn State game last year. I also think the
defense was feeding off of the offenses momentum. It seemed once Vandenberg and
Martin-Manley caught fire, Morris, Binns, Daniels and Hyde did the same.
Especially Hyde, he had two picks from the Hawks in his fist game back at
Corner since last year.
Not to make any excuses but those
Big East officials were just awful. They know it as well as we all do if they
looked at the tape at all. I’m not sure how many holding calls they missed-I
lost count after the first quarter. Remember that horrible “roughing the
passer” call in the first half? I had flash backs to the Outback bowl when we
played Florida years back. It seemed like bad call after bad call got the crowd
fired up and eventually it turned to our advantage.
I’ve said this so many times
before, if the Hawks win, Ferentz is “Coach of the Year” and when we lose,
everyone is calling for his job. Thankfully, we won last week.