Balanced Offense is Something to be Thankful for

Nov. 28, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. — A stout line, smart quarterback, running back depth, and receivers eager to make plays… one could say Greg Davis has a lot to be thankful for.

Iowa’s offensive coordinator has found enough offense in his arsenal to put the Hawkeyes in jockeying position for a January bowl game. Iowa has won 3-of-4 heading into Friday’s game at Nebraska, piling up 737 yards on the ground and 778 through the air over the last four weeks.

The run-pass balance has not come by accident, and the Hawkeyes will need more of the same to be successful tomorrow.

“Nebraska is very athletic,” said Davis. “They’ve played with some young guys this year but they’re very athletic and they’re very good in the secondary. We’ll have to be balanced. We’ll have to run the ball and be able to throw the ball to be successful against them.”

Running the ball has been Iowa’s offensive staple. The Hawkeyes average 243.7 yards rushing in their seven wins, including 191 yards in a come-from-behind win over Michigan last week. That effort was nice, but Davis credits the defense for giving the offense a chance, and a pass-play for giving the offense a boost.

“The defense did a great job in the second half to let the offense get back on the field,” said Davis. “We did kind of hit our stride and played well in the second half.

“Tevaun (Smith) got us jump started in the third quarter. Jake (Rudock) caught them in a situation where he felt like he knew what they were going to do and he caught Tevaun on a huge slant and he took it to the house. That kind of got the team understanding there are plays to be made.”

Smith caught five passes against the Wolverines for a career best 97 yards. His effort may take some defensive attention away from Kevonte Martin-Manley, Iowa’s leading receiver, and C.J. Fiedorowicz, one of the Hawkeyes’ many play-making tight ends.

“We went into the season realizing that the tight ends were going to be a big part and they continue to be, but I also think the receivers have stepped up,” said Davis.

The more people that step up, the more tools for Rudock, who is in line for his fourth road win of the season. No Iowa quarterback has won four road games in a season since Ricky Stanzi in 2009.

“Jake continues to improve,” said Davis. “He’s an extremely bright guy and you can tell watching us that we put a lot on the quarterback both in the run game and the pass game. He gets more comfortable each week and he’s one of those guys that you can’t shake.”

Tomorrow’s winner will own sole possession of second place in the Legends Division. Kickoff is at 11:06 a.m. (CT). ABC will televise the game live from Memorial Stadium.