Thankfully Michigan State held him in check last week, if you want to call it that. Robinson still accumulated a little over 300 yards total. What MSU did do was not allow Denard to control the game. I figured they would pound the ball and put together long scoring drives to keep the ball out of Denard's hands. They did that. They also hit on four plays of over 40 yards. Michigan's defense is what we thought it was, a sieve.
The Hawkeye defense will be tested, moreso the fans that sometimes can't stomach the bend-but-don't-break concept we'll see Saturday. The key containing Denard will be not allowing the big play. The Hawks will play the percentages and wait for him to make a mistake. Similar to what Michigan State was successful doing. MSU allowed Michigan to drive the field in short bouts and then Robinson turn it over when the field shortened, in the redzone.
Prior to the season I believed Michigan would hand Iowa their first loss. After the 2009 game in Kinnick I walked away extremely impressed with Michigan's athleticism and speed in the offensive backfield. The misdirection is still a key to their zone read option but the threat of the big gain is now Robinson instead of the running backs Michigan had last season.
Iowa's defensive line has to win their individual battles and maintain gap control. The Hawkeye line backers have to roam free and be careful to not overrun the wide sweeps because Robinson can cut back on a dime and has incredible speed that will lead to a quick six. The Hawkeye secondary has to be sound and can't get caught staring into the backfield. If they do Michigan's big wide receivers will be open on the streak when Robinson fakes the option and pulls up to pass.
In the end I think Iowa's defense does just enough to stall Denard and company and force enough turnovers to win this tough road test. The Hawkeyes will be able to loosen up the box by having success with the vertical passing game leaving ARob lanes to run. The Hawks will want to keep the defense fresh and put together long drives of runs and short crossing routes. The middle was wide open last year and it looked open still against MSU. Reisner time!
Final Score: Iowa 32 Michigan 20
MVP: Ricky Stanzi
I'll have my own updates and some of the best of Twitter from Coach Ferentz's call-in show from Carloooos O'kelly's.
RT @marcmorehouse: I'm hearing that Kirk Ferentz got bumped on ESPN's College Football Live. Look for him tomorrow. Tune in, 2:30 central, I think.
RT @Andy_Hamilton: Iowa picked up its first 2011 wrestling commit tonight from 2x South Dakota state champ Kris Klapprodt. He's projected at 174/184.
RT @bvak: Dolph: Meyer at top of list for season's pleasant surprises.
RT @bvak: Dolph: Clayborn double and triple teams has opened it up for Ballard.
RT @bvak: Dolph: Morris never played MLB in high school. Amazing accomplishment. Will only get better.
RT @bvak: Dolph: Daniels not necessarily a pleasant surprise. He saw it coming. Has potential to be a Mitch King.
RT @bvak: Dolph: Stanzi just as good as Cousins.
Ferentz: I haven't paid much attention to what happened (in Madison), I haven't checked my card (chuckle). I'm staying out of that one.
Ferentz: Had a good week of practice. Last week rested older guys and tried to move the new guys along. Nicked up more than he likes, good chance for them to bounce back. Bye week came at a good time.
Ferentz: Tarp is going to make the trip, hoping he can play. Troy Johnson is 100%. Morris good example, never know what's going to happen. Have to always be preparing.
Ferentz: Rogers had catch-up work at RB. Coker only had two weeks of camp time. Both been practicing better. Coaches and players are more confident after the last couple weeks.
Ferentz: Paki is cleared to go. He's back and will boost special teams.
Ferentz: Really good job so far (for the Oline). Couple bumps (Arizona) but making good progress. Work hard, good attitude.
Ferentz: Extra time helps prepare for Michigan's defense. Michigan's D starts up front with Martin, young guys on the back end.
Tommy from Des Moines: rah blah sowss shaskso blaah 9:30 swka sopssnes ba= uh sla ughhhhhhhhhh
Ferentz: Norm is making progress and will hopefully be in the office not next week but hopefully the next. Michigan and interesting match-up for the Hawkeye defense.
Ferentz: Next man in at RB is either Marcus Coker or Brad Rogers, Paki might be there too.
Ferentz: Wait and see on kickers. Plan right now, Meyer has done a good job, Murray is finally healthy. Meyer would be the guy if they were playing tomorrow.
Dolph: Hawk's bball media day is tomorrow. Fran MacCaffery show starts in a few weeks. Ferentz is excited.
Ferentz: Denard is an exciting and explosive football player. Reminds Ferentz of Randle El of Indiana. Can hurt you several ways.
Dolph: Michigan's longest scoring drive of the year is 5:30.
Ferentz: Have to play positions well, it's a great challenge.
Dolph: Do you open your gaps or widen up a bit?
Ferentz: Have to keep him in front of you, have to contain the outside. Have to watch for the quick change of direction. Michigan has a big Oline. Secondary has to stay back because he can stop and pass too.
Ferentz: Poggi, Getz, Derby all doing well as young players in practice. Getz has moved to Leo LB. All have great futures.
Dolph: Shane Dibona has looked good on special teams.
Ferentz: Fun to watch players grow up in front of your eyes.
Ferentz: (asked about zone blocking vs. straight ahead against Michigan) Michigan has big guys up front, Iowa may be the smallest Oline. Not sure where everyone gets Iowa's big Oline from.
RT @bvak: KF: Chuck Long did a great job as honorary captain during MI game last year. (How can you screw that up?)
RT @bvak: KF: Break down by position; players make DVD's and take them home (regarding game film).
Okay, so I'm going to try something new. I found a copy of Michigan against UMASS on YouTube (I think, it looks like a crusty non-HD version though) and am going to attempt to figure out a way to stop Denard.
As you see UMASS ran a 3-4 defense here. Keep in mind Iowa runs a 4-3, usually a 4-3 Over. I think Denard took a handoff, which is weird since he is the QB, but he went on to embarrass the UMASS defense. On this one particular play I stopped counting at 23 missed tackles.
The key for the Hawks will be the defensive line controlling their gap. They can't allow the Michigan Oline to get to the second level and block their linebackers. The secondary can't get caught looking into the backfield or Michigan will hit the quick pass off the QB fake option.
Unlike UMASS, Iowa has to take better angles that were seen in the video. I liked the effort of the UMASS defense, they didn't give up and continued to chase even after diving and missing. Iowa can't dive and miss Denard or he may break off another 99 yard run like seen here.
As I predicted there was little movement for the Hawkeyes in the Polls this past weekend. While Florida lost and dropped below Iowa, Michigan State took care of DeNard and jumped the Hawks. Since the BCS rankings are to emerge in a couple of weeks there has been plenty of speculation as to who is where. The BCS Guru has his week 6 projections out and the Hawkeyes dropped a few spots. No doubt the Hawkeye strength of schedule took a hit this past Saturday.
In other news, if you are like me and couldn't make it to the end of another horrible Sunday Night Football game let alone see WHO-TV's sports soundoff, you missed this. Chris Hassel puts together an ISU fan bitchmade anthem, kinda.
The game notes, including two-deeps have been released for Iowa at Michigan. You can visit Hawkeye Drive here to see them. Biggest change there is Tarpinian not listed as middle linebacker. MLB is going to be an important position this week against Michigan, we'll have to see what develops there this week.