Need You More Than Ever
The Iowa Hawkeyes needed a clean game, primarily a clean game from the QB position, to win in Happy Valley. Excruciatingly, none of that happened, not close. The Hawkeye offense was as clean as Pamela Anderson, and yet another big stage opportunity is urinated down the black and gold pants. But here’s the deal: the Hawkeyes can go 4-0 and likely be in Indy for the Big Ten Championship. November is a new month, a new season, the final third of the 2018 campaign will determine how this squad full of potential will be viewed. Going 4-0 is needed now, needed more than ever.
If the grand plan of Hall of Fame coach Kirk Ferentz is to hand off his program to Brian Ferentz, 8-4 seasons on repeat will create a turbulent transition. 8-4 50% of the time is cool, but Iowa has the resources to win 9-11 games the other 50%, especially in the softer Big Ten division. We’ve been 7-6 and 8-5 the last 2 years, finishing strong is needed now for all elements of Hawkeye Nation. With other Big Ten West programs making progress (specifically Saturday’s opponent, Purdue), the Hawkeye brand needs to be advanced now, its needed more than ever.
On Saturday, the Hawkeyes visit the Big Ten’s resident armpit, West Lafayette, IN, to take on a resurgent Purdue squad. Yeah they typically are as bad as the smell of their dormitories but Purdue did beat us last year and 2 weeks ago pulled an Iowa by blowing out Ohio State (seeing Urban Meyer in agony is glorious) at home. The Boilermakers are led by an excellent head coach (man I really want to not like the guy, but just cant), Jeff Brohm. He can coach, he can recruit, which yeah is a good combo in the college game. Brohms recruiting excellence is evidenced in WR #4 Rondale Moore, who selected Purdue over Alambam and Ohio State. After being tested for illegal narcotics use for that decision, Moore has been the most electric player in the conference. Iowa hasn’t seen a player like this since Tim Dwight and fortunately Timmy D was on the black and gold sideline. If the Hawkeye D can contain Moore, an Iowa victory is guaranteed. Brohm will not go down being conservative (which I respect the hell out of this guy), so I also guarantee Purdue releases some trickery on the Hawkeyes. The Hawkeye D must flash their superior intellect.
Offensively for the Hawkeyes, Purdue has a terrible pass defense. They rank in the 127th nationally, which is brutal. This is the prime opponent for Nate Stanley and the Hawkeye passing game to bathe in redemption. It is also the perfect opponent for Iowa OC Brian Ferentz to get back to scheming opportunities for the best player on the field, Noah Fant. If you find my trumpeting for #87 annoying, I will make no apologies. Is he is a prototypical TE? No, but he’s a projected 1st round draft pick at 6’5 240 with a 42 inch vertical and a triple lip like 4.5/40. I like #s, so let me lay this out there: most defensive backs are 5’10 to 6’0, so 5-7 inches shorter than Fant. Add on the dude having that 42 inch vertical, if you isolate him and throw it up to him Randy Moss style, 95% chance he comes down with. Oh yeah, also how many linebackers have a 4.5/ 40? 1 out of a 1,000. When Fant is covered he is still open. Specific to Purdue, they only get pressure if they blitz, so expect the Boilermakers to do that early and often. How to exploit a blitz? Throw it to where it came from…its usually a linebacker or a SS who cover the tight ends. Hit the seam all day long. If Stanley wants to bounce back, find #87 and you’ll find the Hawkeyes victorious.
Stiks pik to clik: Rarely do I go back to back with the same player unless I hit it, but you guessed it….it’s Fant who will be the difference. For all the reasons above, #87 will go for 140 yards and 3 TDs. This will be remembered as the Noah Fant game, which gets the Hawkeye season back on track and provides crystal clear sights on Indy. The game will be iced with a pick 6 by Indiana native Julius Brents.
This pivotal game kicks at 2:30 on ESPN2. Perhaps I’ve been thinking with the heart too much saying 2018 would be special. But don’t let the mind get sideways, it still can be special. Remember Brian Ferentz is only in his 2nd season calling plays, sometimes he overthinks, sometimes he guesses wrong. Stop using Fant as a decoy Brian. We need him now tonight. As for Brian Ferentz and his right hand man, Nate Stanley, we need you more than ever….to fulfill your potential. Don’t eclipse Hawkeye Nation’s heart. Break Purdue’s heart who wrongfully thinks they can win the division. Send them back to the purgatory of football mediocrity. We are Iowa, they are freaking Purdue, and their fans don’t wear deodorant. In Heaven There is No Beer…