Iowa’s offensive identity is still missing

Iowa running back BJ Lowry attempts to rush the ball against Northern Illinois on August 31.

The Iowa Hawkeye offense and running back Damon Bullock didn’t have trouble scoring against Northern Illinois on August 31.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are coming off their first win of the season— a 28-14 win over Missouri State this past Saturday.

The win marks Iowa football’s first in its last eight games dating back to last season.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz has led his team to a 1-1 record through the first two weeks of the 2013 campaign, but his Hawkeyes are no closer than they were in the preseason to finding out what offensive scheme fits them best.

Iowa — playing at home in Kinnick Stadium — managed only seven points in the first half against Missouri State.

The Hawkeyes rushed the ball well against the Bears’ inferior FCS defense — gaining 296 yards — but didn’t have a single touchdown through the air.

In its season opener against Northern Illinois on August 31, Iowa’s passing game was adequate — quarterback Jake Rudock threw for 256 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive coordinator Greg Davis displayed a more diverse offense against the Huskies. Davis kept his play-calling fresh for most of that match but against Missouri State those positive offensive plays seemed to be absent.

Iowa’s running backs also had trouble against the Huskies. They failed to run for a touchdown — even with Mark Weisman rushing for 100 yards.

The Buffalo Grove, Il native has rushed for 280 yards, two touchdowns and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry so far this season. He’s currently ranked second in the Big Ten in rushing.

Weisman has shown he can be an every down, bruising type of running back but his supporting cast isn’t as good as the one Marcus Coker had in 2011 — the last Hawkeye running back he resembles most.

The help Weisman and his team need has to come from their quarterback and the passing game.

Rudock, a sophomore, has shown great poise at the helm thus far as a starter, but he’s still trying to work out the kinks in Iowa’s passing game.

In his first two games Rudock has utilized his legs — rushing for three touchdowns — but has been questionable inside the pocket.  He has thrown three interceptions, while only throwing one touchdown.

It’s ok to have a running quarterback, but Rudock isn’t Ohio State’s Braxton Miller or even Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch.

The Weston, Fl native has scored mainly using his legs but when Iowa begins to go up against Big Ten defenses, Rudock won’t be able to run as effectively because of Iowa’s lack of a passing game.

Iowa will take the field against in-state rival Iowa State this Saturday. In order to avenge last years humiliating 9-6 loss at home, the Hawkeyes will have to play and execute better on offense than they did against Missouri State.


* (A correction was made regarding the caption above, which mistakenly identified the ball carrier as defensive back BJ Lowry instead of running back Damon Bullock.)

  • Michael

    Do your professors at Iowa recommend the use of passive verbs such as was and were? Just askin’.

  • Carlos Sosa


    Thank you for pointing out the mistake in the caption. It has been corrected.


  • Alec Krekel

    The picture is of Damon Bullock, not BJ Lowry. BJ Lowry doesn’t even play offense!