Digital Rewind: 'Bipolar' Hawkeyes elicit the angry mob
From "The Breather" to "The Beatdown."
From a nearly perfect 38-7 halftime score last week against Northwestern to a definitely woeful 35-7 halftime deficit at Minnesota.
From Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, according to longtime Iowa radio analyst Ed Podolak, who hit No. 400 on the broadcast odometer Saturday.
The Golden Gophers played the part of Mr. Run Away and Hide to perfection during a 51-14 evisceration of the Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Stadium that provided the worst defensive performance on the scoreboard during the Kirk Ferentz coaching era.
"This is certainly a game I will never forget," said Podolak on the Hawkeyes' postgame show.
Unfortunately for Ferentz and his coaching staff, neither will the angry mob that flooded this week's Hawk Central chat with more than 1,000 comments and attacked the program's progress with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
"This is the worst Iowa game in several years, when you consider last week and what is on the line right now," commented chat regular BonduHawk even before the game was fully out of reach. "Just awful."
"Awful" is allowing 291 rushing yards for the third ground-game stinker in four tries. "Awful" is giving up four passing touchdowns to a quarterback in Mitch Leidner who had thrown six the entire season entering Saturday.
A three-turnover day that doesn't factor in a deflected punt that went for 14 yards and two kickoff returns from Jonathan Parker that finished with Iowa inside its own 10-yard line?
That's awful, too. So awful that a poll asking if Saturday's first half was the worst 30 minutes of Ferenz's 16-year tenure in Iowa City resulted in an overwhelming 89 percent of responders saying yes.
"All we need now is the 'Benny Hill' theme music playing in the background," said Scott T. "This team will lose out. There is no need to be vested in a bowl game this year, it'll only ruin your holidays."
The timing of this debacle couldn't have been worse. Iowa was playing its most significant game of the year, with both the Hawkeyes and Gophers at 6-2 overall and 3-1 in a tightly-bunched Big Ten West race.
"The last three games are why fans are angry," chimed in one guest. "Bad, great, bad."
Indeed, it's hard to make sense of the Hawkeyes' identity when you consider the past three games. Highly disappointing road losses to Maryland and Minnesota bookend the team's best performance last week against the Wildcats, and the result is a pile of indecipherable inconsistency.
"The team seems to be bipolar," added Ben NM Hawkeye. "Just like the Maryland game, the O-line and (Brandon) Scherff got pushed around. Taking games off?"
Iowa certainly can't afford to take any more games off this season, much less against a perceived conference bottom-feeder in Illinois next Saturday.
Otherwise, comments like these from Blaserk — "Ferentz must go. Getting beat like this by Michigan State or Ohio State is one thing, but getting a butt-whooping from the Gophers is nowhere near acceptable." — will increase by the minute.
From "The Breather" to "The Beatdown" to "The Berserkers?"
The way this season has unfolded, no extreme — good or bad — is out of reach.
HELLO AGAIN, HAYDEN: The rumblings about Ferentz may have ramped up with this week's poor performance, but the Hawkeyes made a coaching change during the first half, according to ESPN broadcaster Beth Mowins.
"And now Hayden Fry wants to discuss," Mowins asserted when Iowa called a first-time timeout.
Uh, newsflash: That was sooooo two decades ago.
The gaffe got noticed across Twitter, to the point where "Hayden Fry" reached as high as No. 2 in the United States' trends list.
"I got excited," quipped Sportz Critter. "I thought Hayden was back."
Mowins and analyst Joey Galloway were back for the third Iowa game this season. The Hawkeyes are 1-2 in those games, with the only win a minor miracle of a comeback against Ball State.
I don't think Iowa fans will want this crew back.
REPLAY WOES: Saturday's game was not decided by the striped shirts, but the replay booth made what I would deem an egregious mishap in the second quarter.
Donovahn Jones' 44-yard touchdown catch to make the score 14-7 was not a touchdown. Jones was down at the 1-yard line, and multiple replay angles confirmed this. Take a look.
Now, Minnesota probably scores on the next couple of plays, and Iowa was clearly overmatched. But it's your job to get the calls right, and that one wasn't even close. I'd love to hear an explanation from the Big Ten office on that one.
TEASE AND TANTALIZE: C.J. Beathard make it back into the fold in the fourth quarter and led Iowa's second touchdown drive in garbage time. Exactly when the backup quarterback would (and should) appear again became a hot topic as second-half frustrations wore on.
"Rudock seems to only do good if the team is ahead," said a chat guest. "I think we should give him the boot and bring Beathard in. Maybe he can at least make it look like a game."
But some fans thought bringing Beathard in to a hopeless situation would only bring danger.
"I don't see what's to be gained by having Beathard get drilled play after play," said Billy. "But yes … reps!"
Who'll start next week? Commenter Blitz! has a good idea.
"Beathard hasn't been given a fair shot all year," began the reply. "Hopefully this disaster is enough to give him a start next week, but based on Ferentz' history I'd say there's only a 0.036% chance of that happening."
There were literally hundreds of other comments that could have made into the recap this week. You missed a lively chat if you weren't part of it. Check it out here, and join in against Illinois next week.