October 2014

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61 Solid special teams play is a difference-maker: anks to the strong right leg of kicker Marshall Koehn, Iowa has 19 touchbacks in its first five games. e Hawkeyes had 30 in 13 games a year ago. Iowa's opponents are also averaging only 17.2 yards per kick return in 2014 com- pared to 23.3 a year ago. Depth is a difference-maker: e number of guys I've seen line up on the defensive line this season is big, too many for me to keep track of. at rotation has already paid dividends — Iowa has limited its opponents to 13 points in the fourth quarter thus far this season — and will do so again and again as we march through what looks like to be another 13-game season — at a mini- mum — for the Hawkeyes. Game experience is a difference-maker: 16 different Hawkeyes have caught a pass so far this season. e leader? A senior. Kevonte Martin-Manley. Forty-three games played as a Hawkeye with 27 starts. e number I like best? 13, as in 13 of Manley's 26 catches thus far in 2014 have moved the chains. Multiple threats on offense is a difference-maker: We have deep threats, medium threats, short threats. We have fast guys, quick guys, and bulldozers. We have big guys who can block, catch, and run. e Big Ten schedule makers did Bond Shymansky no favors in his first season as head coach of the UI's vol- leyball team. Back-to-back dates with longtime pow- erhouse Nebraska to open the season? In most cases, getting the tough ones out of the way early can be argued as a good thing. e problem with that argument in the case of Big Ten volleyball is that they are all tough ones. Lastly, as much as I love the excitement of coming back from a deficit to win a football game — the 2014 Hawk- eyes have done that in three of their first four wins — I, like Kirk, I'm sure, wouldn't mind at all a start-to-finish victory. I suggest we do that against Indiana as a treat to all those who have returned to campus for Homecom- ing…and who remembered that this year's Homecoming game is also our annual "Black and Gold Spirit Game." Fans seated in odd-numbered sections of Kinnick Sta- dium, the Mediacom Outdoor Club, and all UI students wear black in support of the Hawkeyes; even-numbered section of Kinnick wear gold. Check your tickets and dress appropriately! R andom thoughts as we enter the month of October in the Heartland… As I look at what is le to play this fall, I see lots of good football games le on the Big Ten schedule in- cluding four really good ones in Kinnick Stadium: e Homecoming game Oct. 11 offers the drama of who will start at quarterback for the good guys in Black and Gold — Rudock or C.J.? — and the question of which Indiana team will take the field — the team that defeated nationally ranked Missouri at Missouri, or lost at home the following week against a solid Mary- land unit? On Nov. 1 it's Northwestern, which just registered a big win at previously unbeaten Penn State. en, on consecutive weekends in late November, it's the Battle for the Bull with Wisconsin and the Hy-Vee Heroes Game against Nebraska. I read a quote of UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz's shortly aer Iowa' s victory at Purdue in which he suggested he couldn't remember an Iowa team of his "humming" at the end of September. I have two thoughts on that: We're 4-1 without "humming," so life for this fan of the Hawkeyes is pretty good. ought No. 2: If you ask me when I would rather see our foot- ball team humming, I would suggest it's always better to be playing at that level in the month when champi- ons are determined: November. Someone suggested to me a couple of weeks back that the Big Ten will be shut out of the inaugural College Football Playoff 's final four. I'm going to suggest that the B1G team which wins the conference title in India- napolis in early December will be invited to that party. Here's some five-and-out's for you to chew on…. Speed is a difference-maker: Would it surprise you that three of the most fleet-footed Hawkeyes on the roster — Damond Powell (26.2 yards), Jordan Canzeri (22.0), and Jonathan Parker (21.5) — rank 1-2-3 in yards per catch? As coaches oen say, "You can teach speed." Smart decision-making is a difference-maker. It's widely known that Jake Rudock is one cerebral guy. He also has completed more 66.9 percent of his passes — his 85 completions is third most among his Big Ten peers — and has five touchdown throws with just two picks, one which was just so strange that the "2" in the interception column should have an asterisk.

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