Deep Hole, Mistakes Cost Hawkeyes

Sept. 19, 2010

TUCSON, Ariz. — ESPN analyst Bob Davie issued an alert midway through the second quarter Saturday night when the Arizona Wildcats kicked a 22-yard field goal to extend their lead over the Iowa Hawkeyes to a seemingly unsurmountable 24-7.

“This is an experienced Iowa team that has won 17 of its last 19 games including a bunch of big bowl games,” the former head coach said flatly. “The Hawkeyes aren’t going to go away.”

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It event got worse for the visitors from the Heartland: Iowa wandered into intermission trailing 27-7 — a margin that was the product of a blocked punt that the Wildcats turned into seven, an 85-yard Wildcat touchdown off an interception that ricocheted through the hands of a Hawkeye receiver, and a 100-yard touchdown return by the home team just seconds after Iowa got on the scoreboard on a 4-yard toss from Ricky Stanzi to Jewel Hampton.

“Our special teams play was terrible,” Kirk Ferentz offered the ESPN interviewer as he exited the playing field for the break. “We’ll go into the locker room and talk about how we can play better in the last 30 minutes.”

For the record, as Davie predicted, the Hawkeyes didn’t go away. And, as Ferentz suggested, the Hawkeyes figured out a way to play at least a little better in the game’s final two quarters.

The first step out of the hole was a 37-yard scoring strike to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos with 7:15 left in the third quarter. 27-14.

It got close thanks to a heads up play by Shaun Prater, who fell on a muffed punt on Arizona’s 18. On the very next play, Stanzi and Marvin McNutt hooked up for seven on a play that needed a little help for instant replay. 27-21.

Defensive end Broderick Binns pulled Iowa completely out of the hole on the very next series when picked pick-sixed Arizona quarterback Nick Foles to knot the game at 27-all.

The home team marched 72 yards on nine plays to put the game’s final points on the board. Final score: Arizona 34, Iowa 27 – a tough loss made tougher by the fact that much of the damage was self-inflicted.

“We just made too many mistakes to win the game. We knew that we had to stop them and we didn’t get it done. We knew we have to shut them out in the final half and we didn’t,” linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, who stripped Wildcat running back Nic Grigsby in the second quarter.

Iowa vs. Arizona 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Iowa Hawkeyes 0 7 7 13 27

Arizona14130734 Iowa Statistical Leaders Passing: Ricky Stanzi 18 of 33, 278 yards, 3 touchdowns
Rushing: Jewel Hampton 7 carries, 30 yards Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 7 catches, 114 yards, 1 touchdown Tackles: Jeff Tarpinian, 12 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack

“Both teams played pretty sloppy. We certainly got off to a fast start on that with the blocked punt,” said UI Coach Kirk Ferentz. “It’s tough to win when you make mistakes like we made.

“They opened the door for us a little there late and it was encouraging to see us take advantage. One of the positives was that we kept playing. But, in the end, they made the plays they needed to make and we didn’t.
Kirk Ferentz

“We have an opportunity to improve. It’s imperative that we improve particularly on special teams. It will be very hard if we don’t.”

Forced by the scoreboard to abandon its running game early, Stanzi responded with 278 yards of passing. His favorite target was Johnson-Koulianos, who had seven catches for 114 yards. But even DJK’s night was marred by a touchdown reception that wasn’t late in the second quarter.

“They opened the door for us a little there late and it was encouraging to see us take advantage,” said Ferentz. “One of the positives was that we kept playing. But, in the end, they made the plays they needed to make and we didn’t.

“We just made too many mistakes to win the game. We knew that we had to stop them and we didn’t get it done. We knew we have to shut them out in the final half and we didn’t,” linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, who stripped Wildcat running back Nic Grigsby in the second quarter.