Jordan Canzeri

CFT Previews: Rose Bowl

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WHO: No. 5 Iowa (12-1) vs. No. 6 Stanford (11-2)

WHAT: The 102nd Rose Bowl Game

WHERE: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California

WHEN: 5:00 pm ET, Jan. 1, 2016 on ESPN

THE SKINNY: Offense may be what gets college football fans interested these days, but when Stanford and Iowa meet in the Rose Bowl the name of the game will be defense. Well, and Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey, a Heisman finalist this season will look to continue doing a little bit of everything to give Stanford the bets chance to win. That will include, primarily, running the football but also returning punts and kickoffs to look to give the Cardinal any kind of spark when needed. He does it all among the best in the nation, which is why he earned a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Although he may not have brought home the hardware, Iowa knows it will have its work cut out for it in its first trip to Pasadena since a time when the Big Ten actually had 10 teams in its lineup.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz always seems to have a great season come out of nowhere every few years at Iowa, and that was certainly the case this season. Iowa actually earned more national respect in its loss in the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan State than it did at any point during its 12-0 regular season. The Hawkeyes allowed more than 24 point sin a game just twice this season. Indiana managed to tack 27 points on Iowa and Minnesota “exploded” for 35 points, but Iwoa won each as they made their way to the Big Ten title game. C.J. Beathard has been steady with 2,570 passing yards and 15 touchdowns to four interceptions. For Iowa’s offense, Beathard appears to be a perfect fit. Having a steady running game around him helps, and fortunately for the Hawkeyes they have been able to avoid the dreaded injury gods this season. Jordan Canzeri was forced to leave the Big Ten championship game with an injury but should be good to go for the Rose Bowl.

McCaffrey stole the spotlight at Stanford this season, and for good reason, but the Cardinal still have a battle-tested quarterback in Kevin Hogan running the offense. It is unfair to forget that Hogan completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 2,644 yards and 24 touchdowns this season with just seven interceptions thrown. His last interception was thrown in the middle of November against Oregon. He has thrown six touchdown passes (and run for one more) in his last three games.

THE PREDICTION: Stanford 19, Iowa 16

Orange Bowl: Late touchdown lifts Oklahoma to halftime lead on Clemson

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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The Orange Bowl may not be shaping up to be the offensive showcase many expected it to be, but Clemson and Oklahoma are delivering a close contest in the first of two College Football Playoff semifinal games. Oklahoma took a 17-16 lead late in the half with Mark Andrews scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 to play The scoring drive took just 43 seconds after Clemson extended its lead to 16-10 on a field goal. Clemson looked to retake the lead in the final 20 seconds, but Oklahoma’s Zack Sanchez intercepted a pass in the endzone from Deshaun Watson to secure the lead at halftime.

Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson left the game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury, but his return has not been ruled out. Lawson may be out of action, but the Clemson defensive line has had an impact on the first half with three sacks of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Oklahoma struck first on the opening drive of the game. After Mayfield was sacked on the first play of the game by Carlos Watkins, the Sooners let the running game get going with a nice nine-yard run by Samaje Perine. Perine carried the next two plays for a gain of 18 yards and continued to lead the ground attack the rest of the drive. Perine picked up a short touchdown run from the one-yard line on the 10th play of the drive to give Oklahoma an early 7-0 lead. Oklahoma was forced to punt on their next two possessions though.

Early in the second quarter, Clemson needed a bit of a spark after seeing a third down pass fall incomplete. That spark was generated by punter Andy Teasdall, who you might remember was ripped to shreds on the sideline after a blown fake in the ACC Championship Game. This time Teasdall came through with a 31-yard pass to Christian Wilkins down to the Oklahoma 13-yard line. Deshaun Watson picked up a five-yard touchdown two plays later to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 10-7.

 

Iowa undefeated after No. 19 Wisconsin fumbles away chance to win

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For the first time in five years, Iowa (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) won a game on the road against  ranked opponent, and now the Hawkeyes are ready to make some things happen in the wide-open Big Ten West. Iowa held on for a 10-6 win against No. 19 Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) in Madison.

This one was far from pretty, especially for the Badgers. Wisconsin turned the football over four times, none more crucial than a fourth quarter fumble just yards away from a potential go-ahead touchdown. Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave lost his footing and botched a handoff to the running back as Wisconsin was on the two-yard line. Iowa recovered and used the possession to run some clock.

Iowa managed to win the game despite gaining just 221 yards of offense and giving up nearly 100 more yards on defense. Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard completed just nine of his 21 pass attempts for 77 yards, but one of those passes was for a touchdown in the first half. Naturally, that touchdown was made possible in part to a late  Wisconsin turnover before halftime.

Iowa’s recipe for success thrive son the running game. Against Wisconsin, Jordan Canzeri rushed for 125 yards and an average of 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. Wisconsin’s bread and butter for years has also been the running game, but the loss of Corey Clement took a toll. Wisconsin rushed for just 86 yards on 34 rushing attempts.

Wisconsin should now drop out of the polls on Sunday, making room for an undefeated Iowa squad. It seems Kirk Ferentz puts together a solid season every few years. Could 2015 turn out to be a good season for Iowa in the Big Ten West (a division that already sees Northwestern doing some good things too)?

Badgers miscue helps put Iowa on top at halftime

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Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave was picked off by Iowa’s Desmond King in the second quarter, and the Hawkeyes cashed in. C.J. Beathard‘s short touchdown pass to George Kittle gave undefeated Iowa a 10-3 halftime lead on the No. 19 Badgers in Madison.

Wisconsin’s running game is moving forward without Corey Clement, and the struggles on the ground have been evident. Wisconsin has just 14 rushing yards on Iowa’s defense, with Dare Ogunbowale leading the way with 10 yards so far. Iowa has been much more effective on the ground with Jordan Canzeri on his way to a 100-yard afternoon.

Marshall Koehn added a field goal in the final minute of the half to extend Iowa’s lead to seven.

This is the Big Ten opener for both schools, so an early first place standing in the seemingly up-for-grabs Big ten West is on the line on this first Saturday of October.

SEC East remains perfect as Vols top Hawkeyes

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All those who thought the East would be the SEC’s postseason “savior,” raise your hands.  Now put them right back down because all y’all are lying.

Yet that’s where things stand as Tennessee (7-6), after jumping out to a 35-7 lead at halftime, cruised home to a 45-28 win over overmatched Iowa (7-6) in the TaxSlayer Bowl.  It marked the football program’s first bowl win since the 2007 season, a 21-17 win over Wisconsin in the 2008 Outback Bowl.  Since that win, UT has changed coaches on three different occasions.

The win also kept the SEC East’s record in the 2014-15 bowl cycle perfect at 4-0, with Florida, in the Birmingham Bowl vs. East Carolina Saturday, still remaining.  The SEC West, the dominant division in 2014, went an abysmal 2-5.

Another thing the impressive win did?  Set UT’s bar for the 2015 season high, perhaps unreasonably high.  The Vols were one of the youngest teams in the country, and will likely be one of those trendy “dark-horse” selections in preseason Top 25s.  They might be a year away from such heights, however.

Regardless, it was an impressive display against the Hawkeyes, with Josh Dobbs again leading the way.

In leading the Vols to a fourth win in five games since taking over under center, Dobbs accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) and 205 yards of offense.  For his efforts, Dobbs was named as the Player of the Game.

Freshman Jalen Hurd ran for a career-high 122 yards, and scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time as a Vol.

Jordan Canzeri ran for 120 yards, on 12 carries, in the loss, the second time in his career the junior has topped 100 yards in a game. On his third reception of the game, Kevonte Martin-Manley set an Iowa record for career receptions with 174.

Iowa was losing 45-14 late in the fourth quarter before a pair of touchdowns in the last 3:30 made the game seem a lot closer than it actually was.

With the Hawkeyes’ loss, the Big Ten is now an even 5-5 this postseason, a mark that’s behind the Pac-12 (5-1) and SEC (6-5) among Power Five conferences.  Including all FBS leagues, that mark would be behind Conference USA (4-1) as well.

Ohio State, with a date with Oregon two Mondays from now, is the lone remaining B1G team with a game left to play.