Sept. 1, 2007
Iowa improved its record in season-opening games to 86-31-2 (.731), including a 7-2 (.778) mark under Coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa improves to 7-0 all-time vs. Northern Illinois.
Iowa started the game on offense, as Northern Illinois won the toss and deferred to the second half. Iowa has started on offense in 83 of its last 91 contests. The Hawkeyes have started the game on offense in 85-of-97 games under Kirk Ferentz. Iowa started on offense in 12 of 13 games in 2006.
Five Iowa players started for the first time in their careers vs. Northern Illinois. Those include TE Tony Moeaki, OL Travis Meade, OL Kyle Calloway, OL Julian Vandervelde, WR Trey Stross and DB Harold Dalton.
Iowa players seeing the first action of their career included OL Julian Vandervelde, P Ryan Donahue, WR Colin Sandeman, LB Troy Johnson, DB Jordan Bernstine, WR James Cleveland, LB Ross Peterson, RB Paki O’Meara, DB Lance Tillison, DB Brett Greenwood, LB Jeremiha Hunter, WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, OL Tyler Blum, DB Jayme Murphy, PK Daniel Murray, OL Josh Koeppel and OL Bryan Bulaga.
Ryan Donahue’s third punt of the game traveled 57 yards. Iowa’s longest punt last season was 53 yards by Andy Fenstermaker. Donahue is a redshirt freshman who played for the first time today. Three of his punts were downed inside the NIU 20 and he averaged 40.1 yards on eight punts.
With his totals vs. Northern Illinois, senior RB Albert Young moved to seventh in career rushing yards (2,349) and 12th in career total offense (3,090). Young scored Iowa’s first points of the season with his seven-yard run in the second period. Young has scored 114 points to tie for 19th in career scoring.Young ended the day with 23 carries for 144 rushing yards and a touchdown, surpassing the century mark for the 11th time in his career. Young rushed for 124 yards and one touchdown in Iowa’s win over Northern Illinois in 2006.
Senior RB Damian Sims rushed 16 times for 110 yards, rushing for over 100 yards for the third time in his career. Sims and Young both surpassed 100 yards in the same game for the first time since Iowa’s 2005 win over Minnesota.
Senior CB Charles Godfrey came up with the third interception of his career in the first period, collecting Iowa’s first take-away of the season. Godfrey’s previous two thefts came last season. Iowa did not score following the turnover. Godfrey had his second interception in the third period, stopping a NIU scoring threat inside the Iowa eight-yard line on NIU’s first drive of the second half. Senior DB Adam Shada was the last Hawkeye with two interceptions in a game, those coming last season in a win at Illinois.
Iowa did not score following either of Godfrey’s interceptions and ended the game with a plus three turnover margin. Iowa did not have a turnover vs. Northern Illinois after having at least one turnover in each of the 13 games in 2006.
WR Andy Brodell came up with a big play on special teams with a 56-yard punt return early in the second period. Brodell had Iowa’s longest punt return of last season, which covered 31 yards. The return set up Iowa’s first touchdown of the season, a seven-yard run by senior RB Albert Young.
Iowa had two wide receivers with three receptions. James Cleveland had 61 yards on three catches, with a long of 40 yards. TE Tony Moeaki had three receptions for 32 yards. Moeaki is a junior and Cleveland a redshirt freshman.
Iowa’s second touchdown concluded a 94-yard scoring drive. The drive included eight plays in 3:31 and concluded with five-yard scoring pass from QB Jake Christensen to TE Brandon Myers. Iowa’s longest scoring drive in 2006 was a 91-yard drive in a home win over Purdue. The scoring reception was the first for Myers. His only previous pass reception (16 yards) came vs. Ball State in the 2005 season-opener and he added another reception in the fourth period against Northern Illinois.
Instant replay was used on a Northern Illinois fumble in the second period. The call on the field, with NIU recovering the fumble, was upheld.
Both Iowa and Northern Illinois failed to score on their opening possession. Iowa, last season, scored on its first drive in one of 13 games, vs. Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
Along with two interceptions by Charles Godfrey, DT Mitch King tied a career high with two sacks and he had three tackles for loss. The two sacks tie a career best for King, while his best for TFL is 3 ½. The Iowa defense allowed NIU to 21 rushing yards on 21 attempts (1.0 avg.).
LB Mike Humpal added an interception in the final period, the fourth of his career, with the previous three coming last season. Iowa had three thefts in a game for the first time since collecting three in a home win over Purdue in 2006.
Iowa opens its home season next weekend, hosting Syracuse in Kinnick Stadium. That game has a 7:05 p.m. start and will mark Iowa’s first appearance on the Big Ten Network (HD).