At the start of each week, Land of 10 will break down the postseason implications, and projections, to come out of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ latest contest …
What happened: Michigan State, Part II, only more painful. The Hawkeyes (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) saw their old Central Street demons return to bite them, and at all the wrong times in the 17-10 overtime loss Saturday. Empty possessions. Missed field goals. No sync at line of scrimmage in the run game. Dropped passes. Timing issues with quarterback Nate Stanley and his receivers. Akrum Wadley, who ran wild in the Chicago suburbs two years ago, was snuffed by purple jersey after purple jersey (90 rushing yards on 26 carries), and Plan B never got off the runway.
What it means: These Hawks are just good enough to break your heart. With three league losses — all by a touchdown or less — on the ledger, a West division crown seems unlikely, even if it isn’t mathematically off the table yet. Linebacker Josey Jewell and safety Brandon Snyder were missed in a contest where an enforcer to shadow mobile Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson (192 passing yards, 23 rushing yards) could’ve swung the game. A consistent run game and a powerful defense will serve you well on the road. Youth and inconsistency typically don’t.
Projected record: Massey Ratings — 7-5; TeamRankings.com — 6-6
Projected postseason destination: Holiday Bowl, Dec. 28 in San Diego versus a Pac-12 opponent.
Cheapest seat on TicketCity.com as of Sunday: $52
Up next: Minnesota visits Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. If there’s a silver lining after another gloomy trek to Evanston, it’s that the middle of the Big Ten West is a mess, a mash of 6-6-ish squads. The Fighting Flecks are physical and can run the ball, but the Gophers’ passing game is all over the map, which means the Goldy (4-3, 1-3) can most certainly be had. Matchups with the Gophs, Purdue (Nov. 18) and Nebraska (Nov. 24) look more than manageable, on paper. Then again, at this time last week, we were saying the same thing about Northwestern.