Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz finally got his Paul Revere offense from the ‘80s back: One if by land, two if by air and three if by tight end.
For the first time this season the Hawks got back to Hayden Fry football, using three tight end sets to create mismatches against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The sets worked almost flawlessly as the Hawk led at half and were tied at 24 into the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jake Rudock completed his first nine passes to tight ends. The Hawks scored on their first three possessions in front of 105,000 at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio. In the second half Rudock also connected with tight end Jake Duzey on an 85-yard touchdown score. Those plays were reminiscent of Fry and the glory days, when Iowa’s tight ends were often the biggest mismatch – and biggest weapon – against opposing defenses.
“We will keep it certainly in our repertoire,” Ferentz said. “You can only practice it so much, but it’s a group that we feel comfortable about. It’s no big secret. We said last spring that we feel pretty good about our tight ends.”
Duzey finished with six catches for 138 yards, and C.J. Fiedorowicz added four catches for 69 yards.
“It helps if you have a guy that can run, and Duzey can,” Ferentz said. “We saw that. It gives them something a little bit more that they (opponents) have to practice for.”
With all the tight-end history at Iowa over the years, Duzey’s yardage total was the most of any tight end in one game. With so much success by the tight ends against one of the best teams in the country, will Ferentz be calling upon more of his “big uglies” against Northwestern and for the rest of the season?
“We put it in at the beginning of last week, tried it out in practice and just ran with it,” Duzey said. “We’re hoping to see more of it, but the coaches put in the game plan that works best for our opponent. It switches every week so we will just see what happens.”