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    Stuck on Stupid, Stuck in the Mud


    Omaha.com Sports Section

    Published Wednesday | October 24, 2007
    Iowa Football: Offense is stuck in mud
    BY STEVEN PIVOVAR
    WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


    Short of scrambling to schedule a game against Nebraska's beleaguered defense, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz knows that there are few quick fixes to rescue his struggling offense.

    "There's no pixie dust or anything," Ferentz said. "We just have to keep working and see if we can't improve."

    There's plenty of room in that regard. Iowa heads into Saturday's home game against Michigan State with an offense that ranks:

    • 89th in passing offense with an average of 190.4 yards per game.

    • 95th in rushing offense (116.0 yards per game).

    • 109th in total offense (306.4 yards per game).

    • 117th in scoring (15.0 points per game). Only Notre Dame and Florida International sit below the Hawkeyes on the Division I-A scoring list.

    Iowa is averaging 14.2 points in its five Big Ten games. The 3-5 Hawkeyes have scored more than one touchdown in just one of the five games. Purdue, with a defense that ranked ninth in the Big Ten, held Iowa to a pair of field goals in last Saturday's 31-6 victory.

    "You're not going to win football games scoring six points," Ferentz said. "We need to find a way to get first downs, multiple first downs, sustain something offensively and most importantly capitalize, get some points on the board when we get down in there."

    The Hawkeyes' struggles aren't totally a surprise. Iowa came into the season with a new starter at quarterback in sophomore Jake Christensen. Three of the five offensive linemen were new, as was starter Tony Moeaki at tight end. The junior has missed the last month with a dislocated elbow and broken hand.

    A torn hamstring suffered in the fourth game has put wide receiver Andy Brodell on the sidelines for the season, while two other receivers — Trey Stross and Colin Sandeman — have been in and out of the lineup because of injuries. Two other receivers — Dominique Douglas and Anthony Bowman — remain suspended indefinitely because of legal problems.

    Moeaki received medical clearance to play against Purdue but was held out because he wasn't ready from a football standpoint, Ferentz said. The tight end has a chance to return this week against the 5-3 Spartans.

    "We need to see him out there and practicing at full efficiency," Ferentz said. "We're at the point now where we can't count on the cavalry. They're not coming. We have to go with what we've got.

    "We have players that are capable. We're just not very consistent right now. The good news is that young players have a chance to improve greatly. We have four games left in the season. Our focus right now is on what we can do to gain ground."

    Michigan State, coming off a 24-17 loss to top-ranked Ohio State, will put pressure on Iowa's offensive line with a defense that ranks fourth nationally in sacks.

    "They've got 31 and they haven't played us yet," Ferentz said. "We better strap it up and be ready to go. Their guys are aggressive. They're athletic. We need to have a good plan and be decisive in everything we do. We better be sharp and execute or this could be a tough one."

    Iowa must win three of its final four games just to become bowl eligible. Even at 6-6, the Hawkeyes might be in danger of seeing their string of seven straight postseason appearances coming to an end.

    Speculating about such things, Ferentz said, is unrealistic at this point. It would be nice to earn a postseason invitation so that the Hawkeyes could take advantage of the extra practice time that goes with it.

    "That's a benefit of a bowl game, and it's the equivalent of another spring practice," Ferentz said. "More importantly, it's a nice reward for the players. I've talked time and time again about the attitude of this team. It would be nice to see something good happen for them.

    "But we know we have to earn it. They just don't throw those things out there for teams with good attitudes. We've got four weeks to work on it. So this is a big week."

    HAWKEYE NOTES: Ferentz said Sandeman (ankle) should be able to play against Michigan State, while Stross remains questionable. "It's still a little big of a jump ball with him," Ferentz said. . . . Iowa linebacker Mike Humpal ranks second in the Big Ten in tackles per game (10.2), while cornerback Charles Godrey is first in interceptions (four).


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    Re: Stuck on Stupid, Stuck in the Mud

    This continues are series of articles on ineptitude: Nebraska offense, Hawk offense, Clone Special teams, a Team for All seasons.


    Let my Fred's Posse Ride: Georges, Naz, Hogue, Bryce, Nader, Monte, Matt, and McKay.

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    Re: Stuck on Stupid, Stuck in the Mud

    Ouch, bad news continues for Iowa... Mohiyaki (sp?) is out of the season.


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    Re: Stuck on Stupid, Stuck in the Mud

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    Ouch, bad news continues for Iowa... Mohiyaki (sp?) is out of the season.
    Not really bad news, he now gets a medical redshirt.


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