Oct. 11, 2008
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Playing most of the game on a short field, using a masterful offensive game plan and clamping down a suffocating defense lifted Iowa to a decisive 45-9 victory over Indiana this afternoon inside Memorial Stadium.
The win gives the Hawkeyes a 4-3 overall record, 1-2 in the Big Ten Conference. The Hoosiers are 2-4, 0-3.
“This was a team win all the way,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It’s a great feeling for our players. They’ve been playing tough and all three areas contributed to the victory.”
Iowa, arguably the best 3-3 team in the nation entering today’s game, is now staking claim to being the best 4-3 team in the land. UI junior running back Shonn Greene once again showed why he is the most physical offensive force in the league by bulling his way to a seventh consecutive 100-yard game. He finished with 115 rushing yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. Indianapolis native Jewel Hampton picked up a career-high 114 yards on 22 attempts with three scores.
The win snapped Iowa’s two-game losing skid against Indiana and it marked the first victory by the Hawkeyes in Bloomington since a 24-8 decision in 2002. It is the most points scored by the Hawkeyes in the series since a 62-0 win in 1997.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 12 of 20 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns as the Hawkeyes rolled to 422 total yards and the 36-point victory. The host Hoosiers held a slight edge in several statistical categories at halftime, but Iowa more than erased those deficits to the tune of 227 rushing yards (95 for Indiana), 195 passing yards (191) and 28 first downs (15). The Hawkeyes controlled more than 39 minutes of the game clock.
“We had great respect for Indiana,” Ferentz said. “To keep them off the field was important.”
“This was a team win all the way. It’s a great feeling for our players. They’ve been playing tough and all three areas contributed to the victory.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
Iowa was 6-for-6 in red zone scoring. Iowa center Rob Bruggeman helped the offensive line dominate.
“This is a nice feeling,” he said. “We had a couple running backs step in and play a great game, too. Indiana has a great team and they have great competitors. We just did our best to stop their defensive line. It’s a great win when you play like you know you’re capable of playing.”
Defensively, the Hawkeyes were led by Amari Spievey with eight tackles and Mitch King with six tackles, three tackles for loss and a quarterback sack. Pat Angerer added five solo tackles from his middle linebacker position.
It was not a marquee opening offensive drive for the Hawkeyes, who during the first four snaps saw Greene limp off the field, recovered a fumbled snap and watched as a video review reversed a would-be first-down pass play from Stanzi to Andy Brodell. Iowa used an early turnover advantage to take a lead it would never relinquish. On third-and 4 from the Indiana 37, Hoosier quarterback Kellen Lewis had a pass tipped by Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn and intercepted by Brett Greenwood at the Indiana 42. Following Greenwood’s 31-yard return, the Hawkeyes had first down at the Hoosier 11. They grabbed a 3-0 lead moments later after a 26-yard field goal by Trent Mossbrucker with 11:16 left in the first quarter.
Iowa’s defense, which gave the offense great starting field position early on, forced a three-and-out and set up the first touchdown drive of the game for the Hawkeyes. Brodell returned a punt 11 yards and Iowa began its third series at the Indiana 34. The key play was a 35-yard reception by Brodell from Stanzi which placed the ball on the Hoosier 4. Hampton got the call on back-to-back rushing attempts and he found the end zone from a yard out to give Iowa a 10-0 lead with 7:33 left in the quarter.
“This is a nice feeling. We had a couple running backs step in and play a great game, too. Indiana has a great team and they have great competitors. We just did our best to stop their defensive line. It’s a great win when you play like you know you’re capable of playing.”
UI center Rob Bruggeman
Both the Hawkeye offensive and defensive lines were dominating play, but Indiana remained close on the scoreboard. Hoosier kicker Austin Starr capped an 11-play, 5-minute drive by booting a 46-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 10-3.
The teams traded second-quarter touchdowns and Iowa led 17-9 at the break. The Hawkeyes went on top 17-3, taking advantage of another short field, and driving 44 yards on seven plays. Greene carried the ball four times for 28 yards and scored on a 12-yard run with 11:08 left in the half. Although most of the first half featured Iowa’s vintage style of clock management through a strong ground game, the Hoosiers cut their deficit to eight points at halftime, 17-9. Indiana put together an 11-play, 89-yard scoring drive and finished it off with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Ray Fisher with 30 seconds left in the quarter. The usually-dependable leg of Starr misfired on the PAT.
Iowa dominated the first-half game clock, thanks to a ground game that churned out 79 total yards. Greene had 72 yards on 14 carries and Hampton picked up 23 yards on five carries. Both had a touchdown. The Hawkeyes used 17:40 of the first half, compared to 12:20 by Indiana. The Hoosiers held slight advantages in first downs (9 to 8), passing yards (108 to 63) and total yards (154 to 142). Iowa was led defensively during the first 30 minutes by Spievey with five solo tackles. Bradley Fletcher compiled four solo tackles and King had three solos, an assist and a tackle for loss.
The Hawkeyes used their signature recipe for success to forge a 24-9 lead with less than four minutes elapsed from the second half. First, with Lewis limping on the sideline with a lower leg injury, the Iowa defense forced a three-and-out. The Hawkeye offense then put together a 5-play, 60-yard touchdown drive capped by a 34-yard scoring toss from Stanzi to Brodell. Greene continued to batter the Indiana defense by gaining 23 yards on three attempts and Iowa had a 15-point lead with 11:21 left in the third period.
The rout was officially on. Stanzi, who gained confidence while the game wore on, threw his second touchdown pass of the day when he hooked up with Brandon Myers from 20 yards with 6:30 left in the third quarter, making it 31-9. The remainder of the game consisted of the Hawkeye offensive line blowing holes for Greene and local hero Hampton. Hampton made it 38-9 with an authoritative 10-yard touchdown run with 8:56 remaining. Hampton carried the ball nine times on the drive for 63 yards — including the final seven straight rushes. His exclamation point was a 1-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left in the game. An apparent interception that was returned for a touchdown by freshman defensive back Shaun Prater was called back because of a late hit on the quarterback by the Hawkeyes.
The Heartland Trophy is at stake Saturday, Oct. 18, when the Hawkeyes return to Kinnick Stadium to play Wisconsin with an 11 a.m. start.