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Splinters from the Bench

The Lone Tree Reporter of Lone Tree, Iowa

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So, the fall sports season for the high school is over and the winter season is just around the corner. The Lions fell to the Lisbon Lions again in the playoffs last week. At least Lone Tree scored against them this time. The only team from our district to win was Winfield-Mt. Union. Pekin lost by two points and Danville got clobbered. As I understand it the format will be much different next year. Instead of 32 teams in each class they will go back to just 16 teams, so only the first and second place teams in each district will go to the playoffs.

As I said last week the crosscountry team did fairly well this year. Also, the volleyball team did pretty well. I haven't kept track of their records through the years, but I think this might be the best record the volleyball team has put together in several years. They wound up 16-11, Congratulations girls. Build on that and get better in the future.

So, the Iowa football team is still unbeaten. Two-thirds of the way through the entire season, half way through the conference season, they are 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten. As I'm sure you know there are some conversations about getting in the Big Ten title game against the champion from the East Division and also speculation about getting in the Final Four for the playoffs for the National Title.

Well, I'm not thinking that far ahead. I'm just thinking about this week at Indiana. The Hoosiers are a very dangerous team. They may be only 4-4 with four straight losses in the Big Ten, but they have run up a lot of points. They should have at least one conference win. They had a 52-27 lead on Rutgers going into the fourth quarter and the Scarlet Knights scored 28 points to win, 55-52. Even Iowa's late game collapse against Nebraska last year wasn't as bad as that.

I've been a Hawkeye fan too long to take things for granted. Being a Hawkeye fan is like being a Cubs fan. You always expect the worst and hope for something good. If they survive Indiana then there is Minnesota to worry about and then what looks like an awakening Purdue team and finally those untrustworthy Nebraska Cornhuskers. They had a bunch of turnovers at Purdue Saturday so I just know that they are saving their perfect game for when Iowa shows up in Lincoln on Black Friday for Senior Day

I don't know what happened at halftime Saturday. It seemed as if Iowa came out for the second half in a rather lethargic mood. I don't think they were really in any danger of losing, but, who knows. Maryland came from behind on them last year and won the game. But, while the Hawks didn't seem to be as sharp in the second half, they got the job done. Of course a big help was the 88 yard pick six interception by Desmond King. I don't like to see them rely on things like that, though. I'm not objecting to them happening, but I'd rather see the offense just totally dominate the opposition and move the ball up and down the field and score a gob of points. If you are ahead 42-0 early in the third quarter it is very hard for somebody to make up that deficit.

Now that we have gotten this far through the schedule I hope they don't make a liar out of me the rest of the way If you recall I had predicted Iowa would lose to Illinois State, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Northwestern and would then run the table the rest of the way Well, they didn't lose those four games so I hope they don't lose any of the next four.

Aside from the big surprise of Purdue manhandling Nebraska Saturday the other big surprise was Iowa State shutting out Texas. It made for a happy Homecoming in Ames.

I heard during the weekend that it was the first time Texas had been shut out by a non-rated team since 1961, but they didn't say who it was. So, I looked in my ESPN 'bible' at the 1961 record for Texas. They were good. The shutout game was the only one they lost. It was in Austin against TCU and they lost to the Horned Frogs, 6-0. The least amount of points they scored in any other regular season games was 25 against Texas A&M. They wound up with a 10-1 record for the season, 6-1, in the Southwest Conference and tied Arkansas for the championship. They then beat Mississippi, 12-7, in the Cotton Bowl, getting that invitation probably because they had beaten Arkansas during the season and had the tie-breaker as Iowa does with Wisconsin this year. And, how good was TCU? They were 3-5-2, 2-4-1 in conference play. They beat Kansas, Texas A&M and Texas and tied Ohio State and SMU. They weren't exactly world beaters.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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