Floyd of Rosedale stays in his Iowa City pen

Nov. 22, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Iowa’s football team had a supporting role in helping Minnesota conclude its 170-game stay inside the Metrodome on Saturday evening. The Hawkeyes took the lead in extending Minnesota’s losing streak to four games.

Iowa running back Shonn Greene was, well, very Greene-like, the Hawkeye defense was, well, the Hawkeye defense, and it was one of those games when the ball always seemed to bounce Iowa’s way during a 55-0 rout in a battle of two bowl-bound Big Ten rivals. Iowa finishes the regular season 8-4 overall, 5-3 in conference play. Minnesota is 7-5, 3-5.

“It was a lot of fun,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It didn’t start out easy. Credit goes to our players. They hung in there and in the end a lot of good things happened.”

Greene carried the ball 22 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns — his 12th consecutive game with a triple-digit rushing total; Derrell Johnson-Koulianos caught seven passes for 181 yards and a touchdown; Ricky Stanzi completed 15 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns (to three different receivers)…UI defensive coordinator Norm Parker’s defense allowed just 134 total yards on 51 plays (the fewest ever for a Ferentz-coached team) and Iowa intercepted two passes for 115 return yards. Wow. Have a safe trip home, Floyd of Rosedale.

It is the most lopsided road victory for Iowa since dumping Northwestern 64-0 in Evanston, Ill., on Oct. 3, 1981. It is also the first shutout of a Big Ten opponent during UI head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 10-year career.

Iowa ran 77 plays for 483 yards, picked up 17 more first downs than Minnesota (23-6) and converted 12 of 18 third downs.

The reliable right foot of Daniel Murray gave Iowa a 3-0 lead with 7:10 left in the first quarter. The drive opened at the Gopher 40 after an 18-yard punt return by Andy Brodell. Yards were tough to come by early, but the Hawkeyes solved Minnesota’s blitz package and moved the ball 23 yards on eight plays — the highlight a 12-yard run by Greene. Iowa burned two timeouts during the series including its third and final at the 7:25 mark. When the Hawkeye defense got on the field, good things happened. On Minnesota’s first offensive play, quarterback Adam Weber mishandled the snap and pounced on the loose ball for a loss of seven yards to the Gopher 2. Minnesota could muster just six yards back on its next two plays and was forced to punt.

Iowa stretched its advantage to 6-0 with a 16-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal by Murray with 12:50 left in the first half. The Minnesota defense remained a physical presence as both Greene and Stanzi were dinged on series. The longest Hawkeye gainer on the drive was a nifty 20-yard completion from Stanzi to Brandon Myers that took the ball from the Iowa 42 to the Gopher 38.

Iowa running back Shonn Greene was, well, very Greene-like, the Hawkeye defense was, well, the Hawkeye defense, and it was one of those games when the ball always seemed to bounce Iowa’s way during a 55-0 rout in a battle of two bowl-bound Big Ten rivals. Iowa finishes the regular season 8-4 overall, 5-3 in conference play. Minnesota is 7-5, 3-5.


Greene and Stanzi might have been temporarily down, but they were far from out. On Iowa’s next possession, the duo — with an impressive assist from the offensive line — moved 73 yards on three plays to give the Hawkeyes a 13-0 lead. Iowa began its drive from its own 27 because Minnesota was flagged for kick-catch interference on Brodell, who was trying to field a Gopher punt. Greene busted a 16-yard gain to the Hawkeye 43 and then Stanzi completed a perfect strike to a wide-open Johnson-Koulianos for 48 yards to the Minnesota 9. Greene then waltzed into the endzone for his 16th rushing touchdown of the season with 9:57 left in the half. Trent Mossbrucker booted the PAT.

The Hawkeye offensive balance began to take its toll as Iowa put together a 12-play scoring drive that featured nine rushing attempts for 46 yards and a 3-for-3 passing effort by Stanzi for 49 yards. The drive was extended by a second-effort run by Jewel Hampton on third-and-1 from the Iowa 30. The pass completions were 16 yards to Myers, 30 yards to Johnson-Koulianos and a 3-yard touchdown pass to Myers with 1:13 left in the half. Mossbrucker’s successful PAT gave him 65 points — the most ever by an Iowa freshman (Jeff Skillett scored 64 points in 1988).

The Hawkeye defense, which hadn’t seen much turf time in the first half thanks to a clock-chewing Iowa offense (20:46 possession time for Iowa, 9:14 for Minnesota), made the most of the final ticks of the quarter. Hawkeye cornerback Amari Spievey made an acrobatic interception of Weber and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds left before the break. Mossbrucker’s PAT gave Iowa a 27-0 lead. The 24 second-quarter points is the most scored by Iowa this season.

“We wanted to go into this game fast and hard,” Spievey said. “We wanted to make sure when we got out there, we did our job.”

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For the Hawkeyes, it was a toss-up what side of the ball was more impressive for the first 30 minutes. The offense picked up 14 first downs, 265 yards and converted 7 of 10 times on third down. The defense limited Minnesota to three first downs, 44 yards (minus-12 rushing yards) and 1 of 5 on third down. Iowa was 4 of 4 on red zone scoring. Another key was the penalty differential. The Hawkeyes had one illegal formation penalty for 5 yards; Minnesota had four miscues for 35 yards.

A bizarre special teams play favored Iowa at the beginning of the third quarter. Hawkeye defensive back Jordan Bernstine blocked a Minnesota player into intended receiver Johnny Johnson, who lost the fumble. It was recovered by Iowa’s Brett Morse at the Gopher 29. Three plays later, Stanzi hooked up with Johnson-Koulianos for a 29-yard touchdown toss, giving the Hawkeyes a 34-0 lead with just over 5 ½ minutes elapsed.

For the record — and the records were beginning to pile up for the Hawkeyes — Greene’s 15-yard touchdown run with 4:58 remaining in the third quarter not only gave Iowa a 41-0 lead, but it put him over 100 yards for the 12th consecutive game, tied the career touchdown record in a season (17) and made him the all-time single-season rushing leader with 1,692 yards (the old mark was 1,691 by Tavian Banks in 1997).

Stanzi’s third touchdown pass of the game was a 13-yarder to tight end Tony Moeaki making the Iowa lead 48-0 on the second play of the fourth quarter. If there were any maroon shirts in the stands at this time, the rest began for the seats with 12:43 left when Tyler Sash intercepted a Weber pass and returned it 51 yards to the Gopher 24. It took the Hawkeye offense three plays to increase the score to 55-0. Hampton sprinted 18 yards for the touchdown and 11:13 still remained and the clock couldn’t move fast enough.

Iowa has all three traveling trophies in its possession — the Cy-Hawk and Heartland, as well as Floyd of Rosedale, for the first time since 2004.