After a defensive slugfest that saw the Iowa football team win 18-17 versus Iowa State, two Hawkeyes were named to the PFF All-Big Ten team.
If you asked a casual Iowa football fan, what was the biggest issue for the Hawkeyes Saturday, they would probably point to the Hawkeye’s secondary. And I get it, it’s an easy target. The secondary has been depleted by injuries, and the Iowa State Cyclones did a good job of exposing them twice during Saturday’s contest.
But that was it, just twice.
Now, to be fair, I even wrote an article noting a few of my postgame observations, one of which being that the secondary struggled. I might have used the word struggle a bit too loosely because after rewatching the game in the quiet of my own home and with the intent to specifically observe things such as the defensive line pressure or the secondary, it was a slightly different story.
The secondary did mess up, big time, twice, resulting in 14 of Iowa State’s 17 points. They did, however, do a good job of not getting burned again, albeit at the expense of Iowa’s defensive line who struggled to get pressure with Iowa State dinking and dunking down the field.
For the majority of the game though, the secondary wasn’t bad, and it sounds like Pro Football Focus agrees as both of the Iowa football team’s starting safeties were named to the Pro Football Focus’ Big Ten defense of the week.
Both Geno Stone and Jack Koerner finished tied for first on the team in tackles with 8 and Koerner added in 2 pass breakups on the day.
Excluding the two big pass plays, the Iowa football team held the Cyclones to just over 200 yards passing, and while those two big pass plays are a big deal, it wouldn’t have counted as bad according to PFF as they judge every single play on a pseudo-binary scale. If Koerner messed up on one of those plays but did everything else right throughout the game, he’s going to get a very high grade, which is what we see here.
On offense, not so surprisingly, there were zero Iowa football players on the list however I expect that to change coming off a bye week against lowly Middle Tennessee State in two weeks.