No. 16 Hawkeyes Dominate Grizzlies In Opener

Sept. 2, 2006

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Any fire the Montana Grizzles brought with them for their date with the nationally ranked Iowa Hawkeyes was doused big-time by a stifling defense, a pumped up sellout crowd and a workman-like offense that carried the home team to a 41-7 victory Saturday in a sun-drenched Kinnick Stadium.

The Hawkeyes kept the Grizzlies from making any progress on the ground from the opening whistle to the final gun. Overwhelmed by the Hawkeye defense, the visitors struggled and didn’t register a first down until midway through the second second quarter and ended the game with just more than 100 yards of total offense.

Offensively, Iowa struggled out of the gate, but found its stride and coasted to win No. 1 in 2006.

“Certainly, there are some things we have to clean up, but the kids were prepared mentally and played hard. They (Montana) came in with the intent to stop the run, and they did very well with that,” said UI Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.

Ferentz credited his defense for playing tough. “We didn’t give them anything real easy and that’s nice to see, especially in an early ball game.”

On offense, Iowa quarterback Drew Tate completed 15 passes for 223 total yards and three touchdowns. Albert Young added 93 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 55 yards and a score.

“We hammered the run early, a lot, and I think that opened up some stuff for us later in the game, and we were able to take advantage of it,” said tight end Scott Chandler, who also had four catches.

“We had some guys step up,” Chandler added in reference to freshmen placekicker Austin Signor and true freshman wide receiver Dominique Douglas. Both put their first points as Hawkeyes on the scoreboard during the first half when Iowa was building a 17-0 margin.

Signor, who filled in for an injured Kyle Schlicher, impressed on kickoffs. He also nailed a second quarter 41-yard field goal in his first attempt as a collegian.

“I was really nervous out there warming up, but came out with the stadium packed and started feeling good,” said the freshman from Urbandale. “Coach Ferentz stresses next man in, and I’m just trying to do the best I can.”

Montana won the flip and deferred their choice to the second half. The Hawks received and warmed up with a possession and punted to Montana, who punted back after three and out. This set up the Hawks first scoring drive, in which Tate found Brodell with a pass, then Shonn Greene and Young for some gains on the ground.

At 7:06, Young scored the Hawkeyes’ first touchdown on a pass from Tate.

In the second quarter, Douglas was on the receiving end of a 13-yard touchdown strike from Tate. He ended the day with three catches for 43 yards and returned one punt for another 25.

Young was confident in his teammate’s ability. “We all know what Douglas can do. I could have told you that, going into camp, how good of a player he is.”

Montana got on the board halfway into the third quarter, but Iowa then closed the door.ate for the touchdown in the third quarter.

Iowa’s defense dominated the Grizzlies. The visitors gained just 10 yards on the ground on 24 attempts. “Looking at it this time last year, it just seems like complete night and day,” Ferentz said about his defense line.

“Iowa’s awfully good up-front on defense, and we knew that going in,” Montana Coach Bobby Hauk said.

“We came out in the second half and had it at 17-7. We felt like we had a ballgame. They did a nice job of answering by going down the field. That’s the sign of a good football team and a well-coached team,” added Hauck.

The game was played before another sellout crowd of 70,585. It was the 18th consecutive sellout at Kinnick, a streak that dates to the 2003 season. All seven Hawkeye home games this season are sold out.