The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa football notebook Week 5 | Hawkeyes move on from Happy Valley beatdown, brace for Michigan State Spartans

Iowa players cited the “24-hour rule” as a remedy to bouncing back from a shutout loss to Penn State.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara prepares to throw the ball during a football game between No. 24 Iowa and No. 7 Penn State at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes, 31-0. Iowa totaled 76 yards.

While Iowa football’s 31-0 loss to Penn State might remain in fans’ heads for quite a while, it only took 24 hours for Hawkeye players to move on from the defeat. 

On Sunday, Iowa players watched the game film of a lopsided contest, one where the Nittany Lions outgained the Hawkeyes by more than 300 yards, collected 24 first downs, and forced four fumbles. 

“Obviously, it’s super tough to watch film like that,” Iowa defensive end Joe Evans said at media availability on Tuesday. “It’s not fun to do, but it’s something that you need to do [because] everyone needs to improve in areas … We have a 24-hour rule, whether you win or lose, and that gets you fired up to go to practice and to play the next game.” 

One of Iowa’s struggles in Happy Valley was the offensive line play, as the Hawkeyes yielded five tackles for loss and let up multiple strip-sacks to Nittany Lion defensive ends Chop Robinson and Amin Vanover. 

Iowa senior left guard Nick DeJong said the group is familiar with adversity and explained how despite the good effort he saw from his linemates on film, some details need to be refined. DeJong said the group’s fundamentals, such as hands and feet placement, were lacking, noting there were no “blaring” mistakes on the line’s play.

After the game, DeJong said the O-line didn’t have any major revelations but rather discussed unity. 

“Just stay on the horse, not jumping ship, sticking to what we know, and just continuing to push through,” he said. 

Evans echoed DeJong’s sentiment, saying that the Iowa roster won’t divide.

“No one’s pointing fingers,” Evans said. “I haven’t heard it at all in the locker room or anything. That’s the thing that won’t happen on this team … We’re going to lose as a team, and we’re going to win as a team.” 

The team’s next opponent is Michigan State on Saturday, a prime-time game under the lights at Kinnick Stadium. The Spartans have dropped their last two games following head coach Mel Tucker’s indefinite suspension, including a 31-9 loss to Maryland in their first conference game of the season.

Under interim head coach Harlon Barnett, Michigan State has been outscored 72-16. Under Tucker this season, the team went undefeated and averaged 38 points per game, albeit against FCS opponents Central Michigan and Richmond. 

When asked to describe what they saw watching Michigan State’s film, Iowa players highlighted the mobility of Spartan QB Noah Kim. The three-star recruit and Virginia native is in his first season as the starting signal caller and has thrown for 897 yards with a 56 percent completion rate in 2023. Kim also tends to run the ball himself, averaging five rushing attempts per game this season. 

“Whenever you have a mobile quarterback, it just adds a lot more pressure,” Iowa linebacker Nick Jackson said. “You get an extra gap in the run game, you have to be wary of them … You have to make the right calls and be in the right gap.”

Jackson explained how as a linebacker he has to watch Kim’s tendencies in zone-read situations, when the quarterback will choose whether to hand the ball off or keep the ball himself. 

The other component of the Spartans’ zone-read options is running back Nathan Carter, who Jackson referred to as “dynamic.” Carter transferred to East Lansing from Connecticut over the offseason. After averaging five yards per carry with the Huskies, the third-year has more touchdowns with the Spartans in 2023 than he had in his entire career. 

Injury Report 

After missing the game against Penn State, running backs Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson are not on the Hawkeyes’ depth chart for the second week in a row. Listed as the starting back is third-year Leshon Williams, followed by first-years Kamari Moulton and Terrell Washington Jr. 

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said that both Johnson and Patterson would be out against Michigan State, and their statuses going forward would be week-to-week.  

Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara wasn’t wearing a sleeve around his right leg when he spoke to the media on Tuesday and clarified that his quad injury is “feeling better every week.” 

He said he can move around in the pocket without pain but does feel the injury when running in the open field, citing his 18-yard run against Penn State as an example.

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.