Iowa Hawkeyes: Winning Wasn’t Enough

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s home game was an opportunity for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team to show off.

The Missouri State Bears came in to Iowa City and presented the Hawkeyes with a chance to put on a spectacular display of gridiron superiority. The Bears aren’t just a FCS team — they are one of the worst FCS teams in the nation. While the Hawkeyes did win the game, they failed miserably on making an impression.

Allowing only 197 yards of offense and 14 points looks great on the stat sheet, until you look at the time of possession differential. Iowa held the ball for 15 minutes — an entire quarter — longer than the Bears did. Any defense will put up great numbers when it spends nearly 37 of the game’s 60 minutes on the sideline.

The Hawkeyes’ run defense was stout, as the Bears gained 70 yards on 23 carries. The pass defense, however, was not much better than it was against Northern Illinois, allowing nine yards per completion.

Credit must be given to the Hawkeyes’ defense for being able to get off the field in the first half and getting turnovers when they needed them. However, the Missouri State offense was able to drive the field in the second half and make it interesting, which doesn’t bode well for the Iowa defense with teams like Michigan and Wisconsin upcoming on the schedule.

The Hawkeyes offense put up a lot of yards, 489 to be exact, but came away with little to show for it. The 28 points are just one more than Iowa put up against the Huskies, a much more talented defense.

Through one half of this game, the Hawkeyes had put up seven points. If they can’t finish drives against Missouri State, their chances of doing so against defenses like Michigan State and Penn State are about as good as the probability of Kobe Bryant passing the ball.

The 296 rushing yards were great for Iowa, and a five yard-per-carry average will help win you a lot of games. It must be remembered, though, that all those yards came on one of the worst run defenses in the country.

If this performance came on the road at Purdue or at Minnesota, then the entire story changes. I’d be writing about how despite some hiccups, the Hawkeyes made the plays they needed to make to win. When this performance comes at home against Missouri State, it acts as another piece of evidence that this team is not yet ready to compete in the Big Ten.

Winning the game was good; if Iowa had lost this one, it would have been like Smurfette not being able to find a date. Still, the game was far from the dominant performance this team needed.

Derek Helling is a University of Iowa football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DRokSH, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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