The Final Exam – Michigan State 17 – Iowa 10

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By John Patchett (   10/03/17

The Iowa – Michigan State Game is in the books. The Hawkeyes lost in a low-scoring, ugly Big Ten contest 17-10 at Spartan Stadium last Saturday. It’s time to grade that final exam…


Offense       D+

Iowa’s Offense wasn’t just offensive in the First Half (think Penn State) – it was offensive pretty much the entire game. Teams have figured out how to blitz Iowa early, often, and relentlessly and thus far apparently neither the players nor OC Brian Ferentz have apparently figured out how to counter that. Ugly one Saturday might be an aberration – ugly two weeks in a row is beginning to look like a trend the Hawkeyes want no part of.

  • Quarterback C
    • Nate Stanley has only played five games as the starter – so I’m cutting him some slack. 12 TD passes to only one interception in those first five games is pretty impressive. But in this game he missed some longer throws that could have changed the outcome and had an absolutely soul-crushing fumble-interception-fumble inside the Spartans 10 yard line that changed everything. On the other hand, he retained his composure throughout.
  • Running Backs C
    • Akrum Wadley was bottled up all game. He did get Iowa’s lone TD on a nine yard run. When the team as a whole finishes with a net 19 yards on the ground – something is VERY wrong with the run game – and I think a lot of that blame falls on the Offensive Line that – coming into the season – was supposed to be a strength.
  • Receivers (WR & TE) C+
    • Meh… Hard to tell whether some of Stanley’s overthrows are all his fault or receivers share the blame. I’m inclined to things it’s some of both. They did finish with 212 total receiving yards to that’s decent. Perhaps the most exciting 15 of those yards was the catch made by Defensive End A.J. Epenesa on the fake field goal attempt – is there nothing he can’t do?
  • Offensive Line D-
    • The line – which coming into the season was supposed to be a strength – just is not remotely close to what it should be at this point. People playing out of position? Maybe that’s a big part of it. Whatever – if it doesn’t get better fast – wins are going to be harder and harder to come by. When your team can only get 19 total rushing yards in a game – something is VERY wrong – and I don’t think it’s the QB or the running backs.

Defense       B

Once again the Defense had to keep Iowa in this game – and that’s what they did. Situationally they have played really well despite giving up big numbers to opposing offenses – and despite facing crappy field position due mostly to crappy punting.

  • Defensive Line B
    • 2 sacks were a start. But the pressure didn’t seem to be there as much as it was in the first four games.
  • Linebackers C+
    • Josey Jewell gets an A – his 16 tackles have locked him into the team lead with no one else remotely close. But his compadres kind of disappeared in this game. Josey had more tackles than all the other linebackers who played last Saturday – more than double in fact. That’s just unacceptable.
  • Defensive Secondary C
    • Injuries hurt here and replacements got picked on relentlessly and often with success. Sparty had 212 passing yards and two TDs through the air. Josh Jackson is really good – teams are starting to throw away from him and for good reason.

Special Teams      C-

Kind of a mixed bag – still a work in progress.

  • Place-Kicking A
    • PK Miguel Recinos is doing about everything you could ask of him – on kickoffs and PATs / field goals.
  • Punting D-
    • Colten Rastetter has gone from inconsistent to just plain mediocre. This team – or any team for that matter – can’t afford to have its punter leave the Defense with poor field position time and time and time and time again. If the coaches don’t make a change going into the Illinois game, there should be an independent investigation.
  • Punt Returns No Grade
    • Not a factor in this game.
  • Kickoff Return No Grade
    • Also not a factor in this game.


  • HC Kirk Ferentz Pass (Pass / Fail)
    • OK – this was borderline pass. Had a chance to win – or at least get to OT until the end. Just didn’t happen in East Lansing.
  • OC Brian Ferentz D+
    • I’ve liked what he’s been doing pretty much all season but Saturday was not good. MSU looked as if they knew what was being called and/or audibled most of the time. And the blitzes – oh, the humanity – if they (he) doesn’t figure out some combination of ways to beat those, the Hawkeyes may be hard-pressed to finish .500. But I think he will. Playing the hapless Illini this Saturday should cure a slew of offensive ills.
  • DC Phil Parker B
    • Somehow he has his Defense playing well – especially situationally – in spite significant adversity the last two weeks – and his side of the ball is the only thing that has kept Iowa in the last two games. He should sue the Special Teams folks for lack of support (see above).

Prefense Defensive Player of the Week

Again it’s easy: LB Josey Jewell. But for Iowa’s sake, it would be nice if it that wealth could get spread around a bit going forward.

Prefense Hand Sanitizer and Surface Protectant – Remember, the best defense is Prefense.

T&K Roofing & Sheet Metal Coach of the Week

An easy choice again this week: Defensive Coordinator Phil Parker – for constructing the Defense that kept the Hawkeyes in this game until the end.

T&K Roofing & Sheet Metal – Building Strong, Building Safe Since 1962.

Please remember, as always, these are subjective observations and open to debate and discussion more often than not. Agree or disagree – that’s part of the fun of college football.

The final game stats are below on the following page.

Iowa – Michigan State Week Content is at