Iowa's offense is in need of repair after stunning loss
Iowa isn’t going to match what it did last season.
There was some serious speculation as to whether or not that would happen anyway, but the validation came earlier than expected. Now, after suffering a 23-21 loss to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, the Hawkeyes have some glaring issues that need to be addressed.
Most of those are on the offensive side of the football.
Only 231 yards were attributed to the Hakweyes on Saturday. The ground wasn’t a sustainable means of transportation, carrying the ball 25 times and earning just 34 yards. The passing attack wasn’t much better, C.J. Beathard completed 11 of his 22 passes. Iowa only had the ball for 23:20. We’re only three games into the 2016 season, but it was the worst offensive outing for Iowa this season.
In the two previous contests, the Hawkeyes had scored 87 total points. They had racked up more than 400 yards in two wins against Miami(OH) and Iowa State. For once, the offense appeared to be just as effective as the defense.
That’s not the case.
Losing to an FCS foe has dashed Iowa’s hopes of back-to-back undefeated seasons. But it’s not the end of the season for Kirk Ferentz’s bunch. After all, the Hawkeyes are still one of the favorites to win the B1G West. Falling to North Dakota State doesn’t change that.
Failing to make any improvements offensively will.
The offensive line – expected to be one of the best in the country – allowed Bison defenders to frequent the backfield. A running back tandem of LeShun Daniels, Jr. and Akrum Wadley was stymied all afternoon. Beathard couldn’t get into a rhythm.
Pick your poison. Several flaws were exposed in the loss. It wasn’t just one thing that crushed Iowa on Saturday, it was a culmination of issues.
There’s not a lot of time to fix those problems. The non-conference season is finished and the Hawkeyes’ quest to defend their division crown starts next week when they travel to Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights may not present the same problems that North Dakota State did today, but the Bison revealed weaknesses that anyone in the B1G could attack.
Iowa is still a good football team. And it’s still a program that can compete with anyone in the conference. It’s going to be a disappointing year if Ferentz and company don’t sure up some of those offensive issues, though.
Saturday’s loss might have been embarrassing but it’s not the end of the year. One loss doesn’t have to define the Hawkeyes this season.
If the offense doesn’t get better, though, things could spiral out of control quickly in Iowa City.