I wish I could say that I saw that coming. As noted below, I didn't see the game live, but I look forward to watching it on Tivo. A few thoughts:
- Iowa outgained IU, although I realize that is skewed by the Lewis fumble recovery that I can't wait to see. IU was more productive in yards per play (6.5 for IU, 5.4 for Iowa), and obviously in points per possession. Each team turned the ball over twice. IU led by more than one possession for nearly the entire last three quarters of the game.
- The key stats: first, nine quarterback sacks! A couple of weeks ago, I expressed concern that the apparent improvement of IU's D-line might be illusory. Not so. These guys are better. Also, Iowa missed two field goals, and gained lots of yards on several empty drives.
- Still, if we want to avoid irrational exuberance, it's worth noting that IU gave up 308 yards passing and 428 total to a team with a really anemic offense. Also, IU managed onlu only 2.1 per carry rushing. Again, that's a stat that is skewed depending on whether Lewis's 71 yarder is considered a run or a return. The numbers from the running backs (15-23 for Thigpen, 11-17 for Payton, 5-13 for Sears) were thoroughly unimpressive. On the other hand, IU gained narly 400 yards against what appeared to be a solid defense. I certainly don't mean to nitpick IU's most lopsided Big Ten road win since 2001, but these problem areas are worth watching.
- In some ways, this makes me even more angry that IU lost to Illinois, but I suppose I and other Zook detractors are going to have to acknowledge that he has a pretty good team.
- By winning this game, IU gets back what it gave up by losing to the Illini. IU stands at 4-1 and, if IU wins only the remaining games in which IU likely will be favored (Minnesota, Ball State, at Northwestern), the Hoosiers will be comfortably bowl-eligible. Win those and pull an upset against MSU, PSU, or Purdue, then even better. But first, let's not forget what happened last year at the Metrodome.
- IU wore the crimson pants with the road jerseys for the first time in a couple of years. I prefer the all-white look on the road, but my guess is that this will become standard, and with good reason.