Monday, 17th June 2024

COMMENTARY: At the end of the day, just win baby (premium)

Posted on 06. Nov, 2010 by in Iowa Football


By Brendan Stiles

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — For 56 minutes and 18 seconds, I saw a 15th-ranked Iowa Hawkeye team not deserving of a win against Indiana on Saturday inside Memorial Stadium.

But football is a 60-minute game, and in the last 3:42, I saw the team I’ve become accustomed to seeing on the gridiron and one I feel fans may or may not take for granted.

I normally view things the way I think head coach Kirk Ferentz views whatever happens. He always talks about deserving what you get.

Had Iowa not won this game, there would have been absolutely no justification for suggesting that the Hawkeyes were hosed. Until that final 3:42, I saw nothing that indicated that Iowa deserved to come out with a victory.

Every time the offense got in the red zone, it wound up settling for field goals instead of touchdowns. In fact, the Hawkeyes came away with a total of just nine points on four trips inside the Indiana 20-yard line.

It’s good to score, but you can only kick so many field goals before it ultimately costs you the game, which is what almost happened here to Iowa.

As for the defense, up until those final few minutes, Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell was just picking it apart. When the Hoosiers did take a 13-9 lead just before the end of the third quarter, the team may have stayed composed, but you could tell the fans were getting nervous.

But the resiliency that was on display almost every week of 2009 came back on Saturday, and the timing could not have been any better for the Hawkeyes.

After the game, players talked about the red zone woes on offense as simply a matter of not being able to execute. They didn’t look for excuses and took accountability for what wasn’t working. As they should have.

To me, that’s one thing I’ve grown to appreciate about football teams you know are good — realizing that they do have flaws that need to be fixed. Iowa is a team that keeps everything even keel as much as possible.

There was a sense of excitement among the players that they got out of Memorial Stadium with a win, but it also appeared to be much more of a relief.

For a team in the thick of a race to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, Iowa was not playing like a Big Ten champion for most of this game.

But the moments separating good from great happen in the final minutes when everything is at stake. In that sense, Iowa delivered.

Now if the Hawkeyes play like this again next week against Northwestern, they might be as fortunate. Iowa certainly can’t have this type of performance against an Ohio State team also in the Big Ten title chase when the Buckeyes visit Iowa City in two weeks.

But at the end of the day, all that matters is winning. For the fans, it shouldn’t matter how victories take place, just as long as they happen.

As much as I would like to delve deeper into things I feel Iowa can fix, there’s just no point in doing so. The Hawkeyes won, and by Monday, none of the things that went array in this game against the Hoosiers are going to matter. All the focus will be on Iowa’s next game at Northwestern.

That, and well, trying to move another step closer to winning the Big Ten.


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