A tale of two seasons. Similar results, but different pathways. The Iowa Hawkeye football squad finished the regular season with seven wins for the second year in a row. Last year Iowa couldn’t finish games in the fourth quarter. This year seemed to lack consistency. It seemed that when Iowa’s offense was on a roll and racking up points the defense couldn’t get off the field. Then you have games like at Minnesota and at Nebraska, where the defense played lights out and the offense couldn’t pick up a third down when life depended on it.
Iowa lost to in-state rival Iowa State in Ames 44-41 in overtime. The score explains the game story line very well. Iowa could score but couldn’t stop an Iowa State drive late in the game. Iowa State played great in the fourth quarter and especially in overtime, where they converted for multiple third and longs to score the game winning field goal in overtime. The very next week, Iowa finds them selves down at home to Pittsburgh 24-10 entering the fourth quarter. Iowa hasn’t had a good fourth quarter in a long time at this point so fans were very concerned. Surprisingly Iowa pulled off a 21 point fourth quarter performance and rallied to beat the Panthers 31-27. The lack of consistency this time, was good for the hawks.
Iowa lost to Penn State 13-3 in their Big Ten conference opener, their lowest point total of the regular season. Before that game, they hadn’t scored less than 31. Lack of consistency on the offensive side. At Minnesota Iowa lost (22-21) to a team that had only won one game before the defeat of the Hawks. Iowa had the ball with a chance to win but failed to pick up first down. The very next week Iowa played host to a top 15 ranked Michigan Wolverine squad. After the loss the Minnesota there was no way Iowa was going to pull of this upset, right? Wrong, Iowa won 24-16. Not only did they play well on both sides of the ball in a big game for the only time this season but they came up with a big stop and won the game in the fourth quarter.
Iowa rounded out the year with a loss to Michigan State and Nebraska but beat Purdue on the road for their first road win of the season.
This Sunday, the Hawks will find out officially where they are going bowling over the holidays.
Check back on Sunday night on my thoughts of the bowl destination.