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Hawkeye offense hoping to avoid bye week hangover

Hawkeye offense needs to get going early to be successful after bye week.

Iowa+running+back+Ivory+Kelly-Marthin+carries+the+ball+during+Iowa%27s+game+against+Wisconsin+at+Kinnick+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+September+22%2C+2018.+The+Badgers+defeated+the+Hawkeyes+28-17.
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Hawkeye offense hoping to avoid bye week hangover

Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Marthin carries the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 28-17.

Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Marthin carries the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 28-17.

Nick Rohlman

Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Marthin carries the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 28-17.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Marthin carries the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 28-17.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

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After a week off, the Iowa football team is back to business, preparing for its first road game of the year at Minnesota.

Before the week off, Iowa’s offense seemed to have found a bit of a rhythm. It put up 38 points against Northern Iowa on Sept. 15, then scored 17 against a tough Wisconsin defense the next week.

While 17 points against Wisconsin doesn’t seem like a lot, the score doesn’t tell the whole story. Iowa looked impressive through three quarters.

The key to the offensive success in the past two games has been how fast it has started, and that will be the focus going into Minnesota.

“The first couple of weeks, we came out slow,” wideout Nick Easley said. “But the last two weeks, we got off to a fast start. We need to continue to do that moving forward. If we come out and get a couple drives going initially, it gets everybody’s confidence up.”

Going out on the road after a bye is a recipe for the Hawkeyes struggling in the past, particularly offensively.

RELATED: Iowa football embraces bye week, hunts for turnovers

Iowa is 1-4 in its last five road games that have come after a bye week, and in those games, the Hawkeyes have managed an average of 7.4 points in the first half and just 14 per game.

While those recent struggles might be cause for panic, head coach Kirk Ferentz doesn’t feel that way about this team.

“Usually on Sunday [of the bye week], I come off the field in a bad mood about that day’s work,” he said. “And that wasn’t the case this year. And that’s been pretty much a constant with this football team going back to January. They haven’t had many bad days, and that’s encouraging.”

A big part of getting the offense going for Iowa will be doing what the Hawkeyes do best: run the ball.

Saturday will be the second-straight game that Iowa will have all three heads of its running-back trio in action after an injury sidelined Ivory Kelly-Martin for two weeks.

While the running game didn’t suffer a whole lot in the absence of Kelly-Martin, it sure gains a lot of versatility with his return.

However, whoever is in the backfield for the Hawkeyes, he is the key to get Iowa’s offense going early.

“We’ve been coming together as a whole entire team,” Kelly-Martin said. “One of our biggest goals almost every single game is establishing the running game as early as we can, and getting it going as often as we can. That’s just the Iowa way.”

If last week is any indication, running against the Gopher defense might not be as hard as some might have thought at the start of the year.

In last week’s game against Maryland, Minnesota allowed 315 rushing yards with two rushers each crossing the 100-yard threshold.

Nate Stanley and the passing game are definitely going to have to keep up their strong performances in the past two games, but the running game will set the tone for the Hawkeye offense.

 

 

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About the Contributors
Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @j_zuni

Jordan Zuniga is a sports reporter at The Daily Iowan covering football. This is Zuniga's second...

Nick Rohlman, Photo Editor

Email: [email protected]

Nick Rohlman is one of the photo editors at the DI. In addition to his experience as a photojournalist, he has a background...

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