Sept. 19, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In football the offense will take what the defense gives, and for the first three weeks of 2013, Iowa's opponents have been giving away the run.
Heading into Week 4, the Hawkeyes have rushed for 718 yards through three games. Western Michigan, Iowa's opponent on Saturday, has allowed 735 yards on the ground through three games. Any prognosticator will tell you those signs point to another day of handoffs and QB-keepers. Iowa's play-caller says it's also a sign things are going well.
"Each week is a little bit different," said second-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis. "Last week we played a lot of two backs and two tight ends in the ball game. You're never really sure how it's going to come out, but having said all that, yes, we will run the ball. It helps our protection, it helps create play-action, and it gives you some opportunities to shoot the ball down the field."
Running the ball has been a formula for success against Western Michigan. The Broncos surrendered 322 rushing yards to Northwestern last week, including 106 to quarterback Kain Colter. Davis doesn't expect his quarterback to hit that mark, but he credits Jake Rudock for using his feet to nurture the offense.
"Our quarterback is probably not going to rush for 100 yards," said Davis. "At the same time, I think Jake has done a really good job of extending plays, keeping play alive, and making some plays with his feet. That's really important offensively as we continue to grow."
Davis would also like to see more points on the board. In Western Michigan's season opener at Michigan State, the Spartans managed just 13 points on offense and needed two defensive touchdowns to escape 26-13 winners.
Iowa has scored 27, 28, and 27 points in their first three games. That shows consistency, but Davis sees opportunity for growth.
"We want to score every time in the red zone. We've been much better in that regard this year than we were last year," said Davis, "We'd always like to score more points because it helps the defense, and we just have to continue to look for those explosive plays. They're sometimes hard to come by. We've done a better job to this point, but there's more of them out there that we're letting get away.
"(Western Michigan) offers different challenges. They play a lot of man-to-man. They're very pro-style in their defense, which you might expect from a guy who came out of the pros. We have a little different challenge, but the kids have responded well and we're excited to get back to Kinnick."
The Hawkeyes and Broncos meet at 11:01 a.m. Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium. BTN will televise the contest.