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Andrew Logue: Hawkeyes lacking killer instinct

[ 0 ] September 15, 2013 |

We’re starting to notice a couple of things with this year’s Iowa football team.

The Hawkeyes have shown plenty of moxie the past three weeks, but not much of a killer instinct.

We’ve seen them bob and weave. We’ve seen them trade jabs. We’re still not sure if they can land a haymaker.

“That’s something we’re always telling each other, ‘We need to finish. We need to finish,’ ” quarterback Jake Rudock said. “I’m sure all of us could do without a little bit of drama.

“But if you get the ‘W,’ it’s all good.”

Saturday was mostly good, as Iowa beat Iowa State 27-21 at Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa running back Mark Weisman rushed for 145 yards and helped the Hawkeyes to 27-7 lead, but they couldn't shut the door against Iowa State until late in the fourth quarter. (Charlie Litchfield/Register photo)

Iowa running back Mark Weisman rushed for 145 yards and helped the Hawkeyes to 27-7 lead, but they couldn’t shut the door against Iowa State until late in the fourth quarter. (Charlie Litchfield/Register photo)

Junior running back Mark Weisman continued to be a driving force, rushing for 145 yards on 35 carries. The defensive line established an early pass rush. And Iowa dominated time of possession, 38:03 to 21:57.

Add it all up, and you have the makings of a rout.

Instead, the Hawkeyes saw a 27-7 lead nearly evaporate in the final 7 minutes, and were clinging to a six-point advantage when the Cyclones took the last snap with 7 seconds remaining.

A pass and series of laterals by Iowa State netted just 2 yards, but it added unwanted stress to anyone wearing black and gold.

When time finally expired and the Cy-Hawk trophy was hoisted, there was more relief than exaltation.

“Credit to them,” defensive tackle Carl Davis said of the Cyclones. “They made some plays when it was a clutch situation.”

Iowa State wasn’t the only opponent that went the distance against Iowa.

Northern Illinois showed resiliency by rallying from a 24-17 deficit late in the third quarter to win 30-27.

Missouri State was still hanging around early in the fourth quarter after pulling within 21-14 on an interception return for a touchdown.

In all three instances, the Hawkeyes started to stagger when they could have seized control.

“We’ve still got a lot of growing to do,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We need to learn how to close things down a little bit.”

This is not a good week to pull any punches.

Western Michigan visits Kinnick Stadium for an 11 a.m. Saturday game, and a potential letdown is looming.

The Broncos are 0-3, but put up a good fight against Michigan State (losing 26-13) and Northwestern (38-17).

And let’s be honest, when it comes to playing directional schools from Michigan, Iowa shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Fortunately, the Hawkeyes have a heavy hitter in Weisman.

Among the NCAA’s top 50 rushers, Weisman’s 28.3 carries per game ranks third. Brigham Young’s Jamaal Williams is averaging 31.5, Washington’s Bishop Sankey averages 30. But they’ve only played two games.

Now, the rest of the Hawkeyes need to get out of Weisman’s way.

Iowa committed just three penalties against Iowa State after being flagged 11 times a week earlier.

Rudock and company were efficient on offense, finishing with 378 yards and 21 first downs, while turning the ball over once.

Davis and fellow tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat anchored a stellar defensive effort, holding the Cyclones to 181 yards through the first three quarters.

The trick now for the Hawkeyes is putting it all together and pulling away when they have a chance.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 15 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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