Sept. 9, 2006
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Next man in.
It was the University of Iowa’s Jason Manson’s turn to answer the call Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome. The senior from Bloomfield, Conn., was given the starting nod at quarterback when Drew Tate, the Hawkeyes’ all-Big Ten signal-caller, was sidelined by a strained abdominal muscle.
And, like other Hawkeyes before him, Manson responded by guiding the nationally ranked Iowa Hawkeyes to a hard-fought 20-13 double overtime victory over Syracuse in a game that proved to be every bit as challenging as UI Head Coach Kirk Ferentz predicted it would be.
In his first start as a collegian, Manson completed 16 of 32 attempts for 201 yards. Arguably one of his biggest completions – a 44-yarder to wide receiver Herb Grigsby – came late in the third quarter and just plays after he had thrown his fourth interception of the game.
However, instead of being shy with the trigger, Manson waited patiently for Grigsby to clear his defender, hit him in stride with a soft spiral, and watched as Grigsby moved the chains to the Syracuse 15. That drive resulted in a 24-yard field goal by senior Kyle Schlicher that gave Iowa its first lead of the lead of the game.
Another winner for Manson was a 16-yard strike to Calvin Davis on Iowa’s first play in the second overtime period. That connection was followed by a pass interference call against Syracuse on another attempt to Davis that gave Iowa first and goal on the five. Two plays later, Iowa hit paydirt compliments of Albert Young.
“What an effort by our guys, collectively,” said an elated and admittedly scrambled Ferentz afterward.
“This was a tough situation to walk into. You’re playing in a dome and that’s never easy. I thought Jason did a tremendous job, particularly in the overtime,” said Ferentz before adding that he was interested in the series with Syracuse because he knew he’d have a senior at quarterback in the road game.
“I just didn’t know that the senior would be Jason and not Drew,” he smiled.
Manson found six different receivers during the game. His most popular was tight end Scott Chandler. The pair hooked up five times during the first half alone including a two-yarder that capped a nine-play, 67-yard drive that tied the game at 7-all midway through the second quarter.
The touchdown was set up by a nifty 17-yard completion up the right sideline by sophomore wide receiver Andy Brodell.
“He looked awfully smooth on that drive,” Hawkeye Radio Network analyst Ed Podolak offered. “It’s really easy to see why the coaching staff has so much confidence in Jason.”
Grigsby had two receptions in addition to his game-breaker in the third quarter. Davis and Young had a pair of catches. Brodell and Damian Simms had one grab each.
“This was a tough situation to walk into. You’re playing in a dome and that’s never easy. I thought Jason did a tremendous job, particularly in the overtime.”
Kirk Ferentz on the performance of Jason Manson
Manson opened the game with a 9-yard strike to Grigsby on Iowa’s first offensive play from scrimmage. He connected on 10 of 19 throws in the first 30 minutes for 114 yards.
Manson also was credited with 30 yards rushing, a total that included a couple of nice runs on third-and-long.
“He looked a lot like (former Iowa quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up) Brad Banks on that one,” Podolak said after Manson gained 11 yards on a third-and-eight play early in the fourth quarter.
Manson entered the game with 24 career completions for 232 yards and a touchdown, and another 68 yards on 13 rushes.