Great Hands. Great Win.

Sept. 6, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa – It takes a lot of hands to win a college football game. Offensive linemen… Linebackers… Long-snappers…

Saturday, two sets of hands in black-and-gold were on full display in the University of Iowa’s second win of the 2008 season, a 42-0 drubbing of Florida International in front of the 32nd straight sellout of historic Kinnick Stadium.

No. We’re not talking about the hands of quarterback Ricky Stanzi who completed eight of 10 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns in his first start as a Hawkeye. He also showed some nice elusiveness, gaining 30 yards on five carries.

“Coach let me know about the middle of the week that we’d be flipping the rotation,” the sophomore from Ohio explained. “Coach (O’Keefe) had a great game plan and the o-line was outstanding. I just needed to execute.”

Nor are we talking about junior running back Shonn Greene. Getting more settled as each week passes, Greene gained 130 yards on just 13 carries with a long of 35 yards.

Instead, we’re talking about the hands of sophomore wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and junior linebacker A.J. Edds.

“DJK” caught a team-high three passes for 90 yards, 59 of which comin on a beautiful pass-and-catch from Stanzi that gave Iowa a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. His last catch came in the third quarter. And, unlike the long touchdown – which was “right there,” Johnson-Koulianos had to reach down and pluck the pigskin as it approached the turf.

“He didn’t have the sharpest game last week, so it was good to see him concentrate and concentrate on the right things,” said UI Head Coach Kirk Ferentz about his dynamic wide receiver.

“We need him to play better and he did today. But, again, we need everyone up and down the line-up to play better. Not just Derrell.”

Edds? Well, it could be argued that no one had prettier hands than the Hawkeye linebacker when he intercepted Paul McCall and outran a FIU defensive back for a 38 yards after the pick. The interception put on full display Edds’ athleticism – fast, mobile, agile, smart.

Edds was also credited with two assists on tackles to contribute to another solid performance by the UI defense, which hasn’t allowed a touchdown in their first two starts of the young season. In fact, there were times Saturday at Kinnick where the defense was downright dominant.

“They’ve done what they’re supposed to do. Pretty solid, pretty aggressive. We’re improving every week,” said Ferentz.