MIAMI, Fla. –- The reactions from Iowa were identical following the Hawkeyes’ 24-14 win over Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl:
“I can’t image preparing for them in a week,” linebacker Pat Angerer said.
“Having that time was extremely big,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I can’t imagine preparing for them in a week.”
Iowa looked more than prepared. The Hawkeyes looked better than Georgia Tech.
It wasn’t so much what the Jackets did not do against Iowa on Tuesday night, it was what they could not do. The Hawkeyes smothered Paul Johnson’s spread option offense and it started up front. They were in attack mode from the start, not playing on their heels. Georgia Tech struggled to block Iowa on the inside, and struggled to run on the perimeter.
“We had to double their inside guys,” Johnson said. “We were trying to combo-block, and doing some of that in the first half. And quite honestly, we couldn’t do it. We missed some blocks. It’s like anything else, from an execution standpoint we weren’t hitting any big plays. So when you miss the block, or you miss the read, you got behind and you couldn’t survive it.”
Iowa’s coverages and responsibilities varied depending on what Georgia Tech did, but Angerer played inside-out, and had the dive or pitch covered, depending on the blocking scheme. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn concentrated on Nesbitt, and linebacker A.J. Edds was responsible for the pitch, too. The safeties got off their blocks to give help, and it wasn’t until the second half that Georgia Tech started to finally move the ball.
“I think the key was our front seven outplaying their linemen,” Angerer said. “Our D-line did such an unbelievable job.”
Georgia Tech had a season-low nine first downs, and a season-low for total offense with 155 yards. The Jackets punted a season-high seven times. And the one trend in all of Georgia Tech’s losses? Miami, Georgia and Iowa all outrushed the Jackets.
“They ran the same defense we’ve seen all year,” Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt said. “We were prepared, we just didn’t take advantage of all our opportunities. We had chances to score and move the football, but we just killed ourselves on every drive.”
So did Iowa’s defense.