Hawkeyes seek better passing game against Iowa St

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 05, 2012
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By LUKE MEREDITH AP Sports Writer Nearly everyone assumed Iowa would lean on senior quarterback James Vandenberg until the rest of the offense found its footing under new coordinator Greg Davis One week into the season and the Hawkeyes' stagnant passing game is a major concern with Iowa State (1-0) visiting Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. Iowa (1-0) survived a fierce test from Northern Illinois last weekend, beating the Huskies 18-17 on running back Damon Bullock's 23-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Bullock rushed for 150 yards, easing concerns about who would handle the bulk of the carries for the depth-challenged Hawkeyes. The passing attack that many thought would blossom under Davis' leadership simply wasn't there in the opener. Vandenberg threw for just 129 yards - averaging less than 4 yards an attempt - and was sacked six times. Though Vandenberg completed 21 of his 33 tries, none went for scores. ''A lot of it is what they did. And what's good is the other half is stuff we can correct easily,'' Vandenberg said. ''It's first week miscues all across the board, and we know we've got to get those fixed to put points on the board.'' Vandenberg, playing behind a line with three new starters, had Huskies in his face all afternoon. Though it is typically assumed that the Hawkeyes will always be solid up front, the opener showed that this year's version of the offensive line isn't there yet. Iowa State's defensive line isn't considered a standout unit yet, but they promise to be a handful for the Hawkeyes. The Cyclones held Tulsa's Cody Green to 23 completions in 49 attempts and picked him off to set up the game-clinching touchdown late in a 38-23 win. ''We gave up six sacks. That's what stands out to me. I mean, that just screams that we need to improve this week,'' Iowa center James Ferentz said. ''We have a lot we need to work on as an offensive line with communication and fundamentals.'' Vandenberg completed balls to six different receivers on Saturday. None of them made much of an impression in the opener. Senior Keenan Davis, who caught 50 passes in 2011 and is expected to grab even more this fall with Marvin McNutt's graduation, caught five passes for 41 yards. Kevonte Martin-Manley led the Hawkeyes with six receptions for a paltry 31 yards. Vandenberg and his receivers had communication issues throughout the game. But Davis, like Vandenberg, said he's confident those mistakes will be corrected this week. ''We need to clean up some little things. Yard depth and just man-on-man, getting off the line,'' said Davis, a former offensive coordinator at Texas. ''Just tidying up routes and everything.'' Vandenberg threw for 25 touchdowns in 2011 and was widely considered to be the best returning passer in the Big Ten. But he's also shown a knack for playing below expectations in road games, and his performance in Chicago won't change that perception. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on Tuesday defended Vandenberg's play in the opener, saying that the Hawkeyes woes on offense were a team-wide problem. ''We have to protect him better,'' Ferentz said. ''(Vandenberg) did a good job running our offense, running our team. I just thought he did a good job overall. Our passing game wasn't what we want it to be. But it'll get better.'' If there was any consolation for Iowa's offense after scoring just 18 points and having to settle for four field goals, it was the play of Bullock in his first start as the go-to back for the Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes gave it to him 30 times, a much higher number than anyone expected, and Bullock showed he could handle it. ''We didn't know what to expect,'' Ferentz said. ''He did a lot of good things, certainly ... he finished the ballgame with carrying a heavy load and then, secondly, finished strong.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker