Wine Online: Another Trip to Ames

Sept. 5, 2005

Iowa’s 56-0 victory in its football opener convincingly proved that Kirk Ferentz and his staff have a lot of good, well-coached players.

Yes, I know. Ball State was a 39-point underdog that was further weakened when 13 players were suspended on the eve of the game because of NCAA rules violations.

The Iowa players knew that, too. Still, they were sharp and focused, and gave a crisp performance when some teams might have assumed a “let’s get this thing over with” attitude against an inferior opponent.

How focused were they? In less than 18 minutes they ran up a 35-0 lead and many of the starters – including the quarterback, the wide receivers and the top two tailbacks — retired to the sideline, done for the day.

It was in the final 42 minutes that it became obvious Ferentz has a lot of good, well-coached players. Reserves, many of them deep reserves, finished the contest, and they did so with the same resolve and crispness as was demonstrated by the starters.

This might have been mop-up time for some teams, but the Iowa subs did not go out and slop around. They had no penalties and only one fumble. The score mounted to 49-0 by halftime, and the Iowa coaches limited their charges to very basic football in the final two quarters.

Still, the offense moved the ball enough to score another touchdown. And the defense remained strong. Ball State had but one first down at halftime, only two after three quarters. The visitors never got in position to try a field goal. The Hawkeyes didn’t punt until the fourth quarter.

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