Three games into the 2014 College Football season and the Iowa Hawkeyes have managed to stumble their way into a 2-1 record. Iowa thus far has yet to live up to the expectations this season that have led some to believe they could even win the West division in the Big Ten. After the Hawkeyes most recent loss to an Iowa State team that they should have been able to beat and a near loss to Ball State, it has become evident that Iowa needs to regain their focus and find their form.
Saturday the Hawkeyes will travel to the University of Pittsburgh to face a 3-0 Panther team who was has come out of the gates running, and running effectively as the Panthers are currently ranked 5th in the nation in rushing offense with 344.3 ypg. and their scoring offense and defense both ranked 16th in the nation. The Panther offense will be a good test for the Hawkeye defense, who are currently ranked 30th in points scored against the Hawkeyes this season, as they will almost certainly look to use their ground attack and stout defense to control the ball and pace of the game.
For Iowa to be successful on their first game away from home the Hawkeyes need their D-Line, lead by seniors Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat to hold the point of attack at the line of scrimmage and take up space to allow the young Iowa linebackers a chance to run freely and attack the Panther ball carriers.
However it is not up to the defense alone to win the game. Iowa is currently ranked 62nd in passing offense with 246 ypg. and 95th in rushing with 131 ypg. which is much worse than what Iowa fans were expecting going into the season with a bevy of very capable running backs, behind a strong offensive line group lead by Senior left tackle Brandon Schreff. Instead the Hawks are in a situation where through 3 games their leading rusher Senior Mark Weisman still has not broken the 100 yard mark for the year and is only averaging 3 yards per carry.
Iowa could definitely return from Pittsburgh victorious, however in order to do so they need to establish early on that they will not be beaten by Pitt’s ground attack, and hopefully the Hawkeye offense can string together a couple of successful drives early in order to force the Panthers to pass the ball more and get out of their comfort zone in their own stadium.