Greene, Seniors Shine in Win Over Purdue

Nov. 15, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa – If Saturday becomes the last time Shonn Greene takes the playing field at historic Kinnick Stadium, the University of Iowa’s powerful running back and fans of the Hawkeyes got more than their money’s worth.

Greene, a junior from Sicklerville, N.J., danced, spun, darted and hammered his way to 211 yards on a season-high 30 carries to lead Iowa to a 22-17 victory over a gritty Purdue Boilermaker squad. The win pushed Iowa’s overall record to 7-4 and its mark in Big Ten Conference action to 4-3. Purdue fell to 3-8 overall and 1-6 in league play.

Iowa’s most productive playmaker in 2008 scored twice: The first, a brilliant 75-yard scurry that was triggered by a 360-degree spin by Greene as he hit the left corner. That score gave Iowa a 12-3 edge that Purdue trimmed to 12-10 with a touchdown 34 seconds before intermission.

Greene’s second score – a 14-yard dash – pushed Iowa’s lead to 22-10 with 12:48 to play. This time, Greene was greeted the line of scrimmage by a Boilermaker safety who he promptly knocked to his knees before shuffling off around the left edge en route to paydirt.

A finalist for both the Doak Walker and the Maxwell awards – and a player that dots some Heisman Trophy lists – Greene’s 211 yards marked the 11th straight game that he eclipsed 100 yards and the second time that he’s gone past 200 yards – the first coming against Wisconsin when he gained 217 yards and scored four times. He is the only student-athlete in the Football Bowl Subdivision to have rushed for 100 or more in every game this season.

“I can’t say enough about Shonn. He’s done it all season. He ran tough today. We needed a spark and Shonn delivered,” UI Coach Kirk Ferentz told the Big Ten Network after moving the Hawkeyes up another notch on the Big Ten’s bowl game ladder.

“It’s pretty special so far. We got another game to go,” Greene offered.

“I’ve worked hard on my balance. If you want to be a good running back, you need to have balance,” he added when asked about his pirouette on his 75-yard TD dash.

“There’s got to be room for Shonn Greene in New York City,” countered Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette in his regular post-game interview with the Hawkeye Radio Network.

“He averaged seven yards a carry today. He’s averaging six yards a carry for the season. He’s deserving of the invitation. This is a guy who has carried an offense on his shoulders.”

“He’s a big, strong, talented back that obviously has some speed. The counter (run) was the one play that we didn’t have an answer for today,” Purdue Coach Joe Tiller said in his post-game visit with the media, noting, too, that Greene received his vote as the Big Ten’s first-team tailback.

The game was Iowa’s Senior Day – a last hurrah for 16 Hawkeyes including defensive mainstays Mitch King and Matt Kroul. King was credited with the Hawkeyes’ only sack of a Boilermaker, but it was a big one: The Energizer Bunny defender pinned PU quarterback Curtis Painter for a nine-yard loss midway through the Boilermakers’ final drive that ended with a Hail Mary pass with no time remaining on the game clock.

“My hat is off to the defense. They came up big…(Pat) Angerer’s interception and King and Kroul. They were big-time again today,” said Greene.

“He’s a big, strong, talented back that obviously has some speed. The counter (run) was the one play that we didn’t have an answer for today.”
Purdue Coach Joe Tiller on Iowa’s Shonn Greene

“Our seniors have been great all season and were again today. And, as I’ve said before, it starts with those guys, Mitch and Matt. They’re special,” added Ferentz.

And, lost among the delight in Shonn Greene is the performance of his understudy: Jewell Hampton. The freshman from Indianapolis opened Iowa’s scoring with a nifty 22-yard run seven minutes into the contest. For game, Hampton carried the ball three time for 30-yards, a total that included an important third-and-four carry that he converted for a first down.

Hampton also had a 52-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter that gave Iowa some much-needed breathing room.

Iowa returns to action next Saturday when it squares off against Minnesota in the annual battle for Floyd of Rosedale in the last college football game to be played in the Metrodome. Kick off is set for shortly after 6 p.m. Iowa time and the game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.