Black and Gold and Greene

Oct. 18, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The starting point for any summary of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ 38-16 thrashing of Wisconsin in the annual battle for the Heartland Trophy Saturday at historic Kinnick Stadium begins and ends – with all due respect to another outstanding effort by Iowa’s nationally ranked defense and linebacker Pat Angerer in particular – with Shonn Greene.

The Hawkeyes’ powerful running back established new career highs for yards in a game and touchdowns in a game in leading the Hawkeyes to their second straight Big Ten Conference victory. His performance was a thing of black-and-gold beauty.

Greene opened Iowa’s scoring with a 12-yard run at the 8:30 mark of the first quarter. He tacked on touchdown No. 2 when he bolted 34 yards at the 8:06 mark of the second stanza.

After three field goals by Wisconsin trimmed the Hawkeyes’ lead to 14-9, Greene put the game in the win column when he busted loose for a 52 yard score on a perfectly executed – and timed – draw play with just more than five minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Badgers had sent their safety on a blitz, leaving the middle of the field wide open for Iowa’s all-star running back if he successfully broke through the line…which he did before running away from a pair of wanna-be Badger tacklers.

The junior from Sicklerville, N.J., finished his scoring when he rambled 34 yards around right end at the 9:18 mark of the final stanza. The right side of Iowa’s offensive line was a popular route for Greene and it was where linemen Rafael Eubanks and Andy Kuempel successfully filled in for veteran Seth Olsen, who injured an ankle during practice this week.

“I’m a voter and I try hard to pay attention. (Greene), as of today, from where I sit, belongs among the five guys in New York.”
Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette

Greene’s final numbers against the much-heralded and pre-season nationally ranked Badgers: A gaudy 217 yards on 25 carries – an average of 8.7 yards per carry – and four touchdowns. It was Greene’s eighth straight start in 2008 and eighth straight 100-yard game. He cleared 1,000 yards for the season with four minutes left to play in the second quarter.

“We executed it perfectly. I knew when we called it in the huddle that it was going to work. I didn’t know it was going for a touchdown, but I knew the timing was right for that play,” said Greene of his 52-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career and the 2008 season.

“I’m proud of the o-line and I can’t do anything without them,” Greene added. “They keep getting better and better and deeper. We had great success today even with one of our regulars out and that’s a tribute to how hard they are working as a group.”

Is Greene a Heisman Trophy candidate? Mike Hlas, columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and a voter in the Heisman balloting, was straightforward during his post-game visit with Gary Dolphin of the Hawkeye Radio Network.

“I’m a voter and I try hard to pay attention. (Greene), as of today, from where I sit, belongs among the five guys in New York,” Hlas offered.

“He is a dominant, big-time running back,” offered Gerry DiNardo of the Big Ten Network.

“We do have to tip our hat to the offensive line. They performed outstanding and adjusted very nicely to the loss of Olsen. Rob Bruggeman has really made a difference with his experience and leadership,” offered the Hawkeye Radio Network’s Ed Podolak.

Angerer, a junior from Bettendorf, led Iowa with 16 total tackles and a pair of interceptions for a defense that was all bend-but-no-break until late in the game when the visitors put seven on the board with the most of the UI’s regulars on the bench enjoying some much-deserved rest and relaxation.

Iowa, who improved to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in league action with the victory, will now bring an extra step of enthusiasm into its bye week and its next action Saturday, Nov. 1, with a road game at Illinois. Wisconsin dropped its fourth straight game and fell to 3-4 overall and winless in four Big Ten games.

Iowa’s game with the Fighting Illinois is one of four during the month of November for the Hawkeyes. Iowa entertains Penn State (Nov. 8) and Purdue (Nov. 15) at historic Kinnick Stadium prior to closing the regular season with a night game against Minnesota in the Gophers last home game inside the Metrodome in Minneapolis.