Oct. 17, 2009
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MADISON, Wis. — No offense to the Arena Football League, but there is a collegiate team from the state of Iowa barnstorming the nation with victory after victory.
Soon to be top 10 University of Iowa executed whatever halftime adjustments that were offered, scored 20 unanswered points and improved to 7-0 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten Conference following a 20-10 win against Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2) today at Camp Randall Stadium. It is Iowa’s 11th consecutive win dating back to Nov. 1, 2008.
“We didn’t play real well in the first half, so credit goes to our team,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We came out in the second half, made good adjustments, so credit to our football team for sticking with it.”
After being held in check on both sides of the line much of the first half, Iowa outgained the Badgers 204-58 in the final 30 minutes and improved to 3-0 on the road this season. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 11 of 13 passes for 162 yards in the second half. For the game, Stanzi was 17 of 23 for 218 yards and a 24-yard touchdown toss to tight end Tony Moeaki that tied the game in the third quarter.
“Rick played an exceptional football game,” Ferentz said. “He’s done a heck of a job leading our football team.”
The Hawkeyes retain the Heartland Trophy won last season in Kinnick Stadium by a 38-16 count. Iowa has won three of the last four meetings in Madison.
UI wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos hauled in eight passes for 113 yards (giving him 101 receptions for his career).
“All year we’ve been a second-half team,” Johnson-Koulianios said. “We did what we’ve been doing all year long. We wanted to attack them on the outside and for the most part we did a nice job executing those outside patterns.”
Iowa finished with 16 first downs, 283 yards and a 7:32 advantage in possession time. The Hawkeyes lost one fumble but had two interceptions by Amari Spievey and one by A.J. Edds. Leading the way on defense for Iowa was linebacker Pat Angerer with nine tackles, one sack and a pass break-up. Spievey, Brett Greenwood, Adrian Clayborn, Edds and Jeremiha Hunter all had six stops. The Hawkeyes had seven tackles for loss and four sacks.
Robinson gained 71 rushing yards in the second half to finish with 91 on 20 carries.
“We didn’t play real well in the first half, so credit goes to our team. We came out in the second half, made good adjustments, so credit to our football team for sticking with it.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
The first half was a case of Wisconsin power football controlling the clock and consuming yardage. The Badger offensive line was dominant at times, leading Wisconsin to scoring drives of 12 plays and 11 plays — and a 93-yard advantage in total offense. The Hawkeyes had three, three-play drives during the first 30 minutes.
Brandon Wegher returned the opening kickoff 39 yards to the Iowa 42. Stanzi completed his first two passes to Johnson-Koulianos for 15 yards, taking the ball into Wisconsin territory at the 43. The Hawkeyes advanced to the 31 after a 14-yard counter run by Robinson, but Iowa eventually misfired on a 4th-and-11 pass attempt.
Wisconsin running back John Clay gained 23 yards on his first three rushing attempts, but the Hawkeye defense stiffened and when Angerer sacked Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin was forced to punt.
Following an Iowa three-and-out, the Badgers used a 5-minute, 34-second drive to take a 3-0 lead on a 34-yard field goal by Phillip Welch, just seven seconds into the second quarter. Nine of the 12 Wisconsin plays were rushing attempts.
The Badgers converted a 92-yard scoring drive on their next possession to take a 10-0 lead with 8:09 left in the half. With Clay on the sideline nursing an ankle injury, reserve Monte Ball ran in from 10 yards to extend the Wisconsin lead.
Iowa got on the board after a 7-play, 45-yard drive that concluded with a 37-yard field goal by Daniel Murray with 5:25 left in the half. Thirty-four of the 45 yards came on a third-down pass completion from Stanzi to Johnson-Koulianos.
At halftime, Wisconsin had eight more first downs than Iowa (11 to 3) and 66 more rushing yards (89 to 23). The Hawkeyes averaged 1.6 yards on 14 rushing attempts.
Iowa turned a turnover into a touchdown, knotting the score 10-10 with 7:58 left in the third quarter. On the fifth play of the second half, Tolzein was intercepted by Spievey at the Iowa 46. The Hawkeyes opened and closed a nine-play scoring drive with pass completions from Stanzi to Moeaki. The scoring toss was from 24 yards in the back right corner of the end zone. Murray’s PAT was good.
“That was a huge play to score off the turnover,” Ferentz said. “Then we had a
“That was a huge play to score off the turnover. Then we had a huge stop by our defense. Starting with Amari’s interception was really the story of the game.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
huge stop by our defense. Starting with Amari’s interception was really the story of the game.”
The Hawkeye defense was called on for a big series and it responded. After Wisconsin recovered a Stanzi fumble at the Iowa 25, the Hawkeyes allowed a 4-yard run and then forced two incomplete passes (Shaun Prater with the coverage both times). Welch missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Remember the much-maligned Hawkeye running game in the first half? Well, back-to-back carries by Robinson gave Iowa its first lead of the game, 17-10, with 13:15 remaining. Pass completions from Stanzi to Allen Reisner (22 yards) and Johnson-Koulianos (24 yards) set up a 7-yard gain by Robinson to the Wisconsin 10. On the next play, Robinson had a nice cutback and pulled a Badger defender into the end zone for a score. Stanzi was 4-for-4 for 64 yards on the drive.
A career-long field goal by Murray with 5:17 remaining gave Iowa a 10-point advantage, 20-10. It was an interesting nine-play sequence by the Hawkeyes, who managed to eat more than six minutes of game clock while gaining 29 yards. Murray’s previous long was 47 yards two years ago at Camp Randall Stadium.
“It’s called the treadmill effect,” joked Ferentz about the drive. “Daniel Murray’s field goal was a huge play in a very clutch situation.”
The second-half Hawkeye momentum started after Spievey’s first interception of the season. The game ended with Spievey diving for interception No. 2.
“We have so many people contributing at so many different positions,” Johnson-Koulianos said.
“Our guys play hard and they believe in each other,” Ferentz said. “They just keep playing.”
The undefeated Hawkeyes will storm into East Lansing, Mich., next Saturday to play a Spartan squad with a 3-1 record in conference play. The third and final regular-season prime-time start for Iowa will begin at 6 p.m. (Central time).