Are Hawkeyes done with fourth-down gambling?

Andrew Logue

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Fourth-down karma seemed to be in Iowa's favor.

And then, the Hawkeyes went 0-for-3 Saturday against Illinois in a 30-14 win, after being 11-of-16 (69 percent) on the season.

"We've been ahead of the sticks on that one," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "It dawned on me at one point, maybe this was nature's way to balance it a little bit."

It started on Iowa's opening possession, when running back Mark Weisman failed to reach the end zone on fourth-and-goal from inside the Illini 1-yard line.

In the second quarter, Jake Rudock threw to fullback Macon Plewa on a fourth-and-2, but came up inches short.

Rudock's third quarter pass to Tevaun Smith was incomplete on a fourth-and-3.

"That also means we weren't getting it done on third down," Rudock said. "So we've got to do a little bit better on third down, making it a little bit more manageable."

So, does this mean Iowa is less likely to go for it moving forward?

"I don't know if we're going to totally trash that thinking," Ferentz said. "It's been pretty good for us."

Center exchange: Twice, Rudock and center Tommy Gaul failed to execute a snap exchange, leading to a fumble.

Rudock acknowledged it was a problem.

"We'll see," Rudock said. "I have my opinions on it, and Tommy. We talk about it."

Getting any more details is a little tough, considering where the quarterback puts his hands prior to the snap.

"More than anything, that's really not your guys' business," Rudock said with a smile. "So we'll just move on from there.

"We'll fix it. That's the most important thing."