Revenge ON the Nerds
PU. Yes those are Purdue’s initials, and the stench of their home base, but it’s the best description of Iowa’s late game performances in their 3 losses. I’ll put my OCD on the sidelines here, to avoid dwelling on another blown game outside of this comments: the Hawks are 1-7 in the Big Ten play the last 2 seasons when the game is within one score and under 1 minute to play. That’s PU….so it’s an easy prediction for game #10: the Hawkeyes are going to lay serious Stan Gable (no relation to Dan) wood on the Saturday’s opponent, Nerdwestern. All doubt in this game will be eliminated by halftime. No time for a close game in Hawkeye Nation. Here’s why….
The Fighting Fitzgeralds give up the most sacks and have generated the least sacks in the Big Ten. They are 125th in the country in yards per play. Somehow someway the Wildcats are alone at 5-1 in first place in the dumpster fire known as the Big Ten West. Yet they are ELEVEN point underdogs against the 21st ranked Hawkeyes. Vegas knows, we know. The script is flipped for this year’s tilt between the Hawks and the Nerds, which will kick at 2:30pm on Fox. Typically, the Hawkeyes enter this game with title aspirations, and then somehow someway the less talented Nerds pull out a victory. The result of this game has caused too many sleepless nights and too many trips to our inner Ogre. It’s time for Revenge ON the Nerds.
After pounding the Nerds 40-10 in Evanston in 2015, Iowa has dropped the last two with similar themes: horrible offense, mistakes on both sides of the ball, and a defense that doesn’t make enough plays. All 3 of these elements have had starring roles in all of the Hawkeyes losses. So why will it be different??
Simple. Hawkeye Pride. This rivalry started brewing back in the 90s after Hayden Fry told the head Nerd Gary Barnett, “Hope we didn’t hurt your boys too bad” after Iowa’s 21st straight victory over the the Wildcats. Then Pat Fitzgerald broke his leg in Kinnick Stadium, causing him to miss the Rose Bowl, creating obnoxious hatred for the Hawkeyes. To Fitzgerald’s credit, it has worked evidenced by his winning record against the Kirk Ferentz. But now the Wildcats have everything to play for…the Hawkeyes, they are playing for pride which will be fueled the sweet glorious feeling of revenge.
Stiks pik to clik: Iowa Tight Ends TJ Hockensen and Noah Fant. Nerdwestern is missing two of its starters in the secondary, Iowa will exploit that inexperience by overdosing on seam routes with the two biggest mismatches in the Big Ten. Each of the Hawkeye tight ends will catch 2 TDs by halftime putting the home team up 28-0 at halftime. AJ Epenesa will get first defensive touchdown to cap off a 56-7 beatdown.
Too many times Kirk Ferentz has had to address his team after this game with his Coach Harris impersonation, “you just got your a** kicked by a bunch of nerds!!!!!” Enough. Kirk has enough and enough with this Nerdwestern cruising to a Big Ten West title. The echoes of the dirty hits on Shonn Green and Rick Stanzi, the derailing of potentially great Hawkeye seasons such as 2009, 2010, and 2016 will come to roost Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium. Iowa is honoring the namesake of its historic venue sporting Nile Kinnick’s #24 on their helmets. No chance the Hawkeyes lose sporting those lids. Revenge is too sweet. Stan Gable lives. In Heaven There is No Beer…