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Final Chapter of Iowa Football: A Tale of Two Seasons in 2010 0

Posted on December 29, 2010 by JA Allen

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…it was the season of Light…Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Iowa started strong led by Adrian Clayborn and Iowa's front four.

Redemption came at last in the Arizona desert where the first warning bell tolled against a predicted preeminent Iowa football season.

Iowa,who started college football in August as the media darling of the Big Ten, reportedly fielded one of the best defenses in the nation.  Indeed, Iowa’s front four proved to one of the best quartets in college football.

But even they needed help from the linebacker corps and the secondary to contain an assemblage of top-ranked quarterbacks who spread their opposing offenses, often picking apart even Iowa’s well-oiled defense.

Unfortunately for the Iowa D, the Hawkeye’s defensive coordinator, Norm Parker, was sidelined for the season in September after undergoing surgery to amputate his right foot, necessitated by complications of diabetes.

Furthermore mounting injuries practically decimated the Hawkeye linebacker corps as well as limiting or sidelining other key defensive personnel.

The first real chink, however, appeared in Tucson where the No. 24 Arizona Wildcats upset Iowa in an unusual game for the highly vaunted No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes.

In the first five minutes Iowa endured a blocked punt  and an interception, sending Arizona up 14-0. Iowa scored a touchdown in the second quarter but Arizona returned the subsequent kickoff for 100 yards and another score—plus two field goals.  Arizona was up 27-7 at the half.

Scoring another touchdown in the third quarter, Iowa climbed seven points closer. The Hawkeye’s defense had clamped down hard on the Wildcats, holding them scoreless well into the second half.

In the fourth quarter another Ricky Stanzi pass added another seven, leaving Iowa trailing only 27-21. At that point Broderick Binns intercepted a Nick Foles pass and returned it 20 yards for a score to break things wide open. But Trent Mussbrucker’s PAT was blocked and the score remained tied at 27-27.

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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Taking Care of Business Against Ohio State 3

Posted on November 18, 2010 by JA Allen

Typically, the Hawkeyes seldom score a victory against the Buckeyes.

It is that time in the college football season when hope may have begun to fade for those teams whose ambitions exceeded their ability to deliver—whose luck has run out.

Often, it is hard not to relive those accumulated missed tackles, extra points and dropped passes.

This inclination might allow disappointment to saturate a team’s outlook in the one or two remaining games because winning now seems not to make a difference.

A single victory cannot take you to that pinnacle you imagined in your future at the beginning of the season.

This is a state of mind that a good coaching staff immediately nips in the bud because every time a college football team walks out on the field, the players make a statement about themselves, their program and the school.

Ending well is every bit as important as beginning well. Kirk Ferentz and staff will bring that point home.

As to the charge of being a “spoiler,” winning games is the goal each and every game during the entire season. Iowa has as much to play for against Ohio State as they did against Northwestern.

Each week the team that wins, is a spoiler.

So being called one now is redundant. Every contest this weekend will celebrate some spoiler’s victory at the end of the game.

The goal to win is exactly what will inspire the Iowa Hawkeyes to upend the Ohio State Buckeyes in Week 12.

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Four Reasons Iowa’s Football Team Will Defeat the Wisconsin Badgers in Week 8 2

Posted on October 20, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa won at Wisconsin in 2009.

When Iowa meets Wisconsin on Saturday fans will witness two highly skilled Big Ten teams with almost identical mindsets, the same coaching philosophy, and similar styles of play.

The two teams meet on the playing field in Iowa City at a crucial juncture in the season. The outcome of this game will shape their football fortunes for 2010––in the Big Ten and, perhaps, upon the more prominent BCS national stage.

This year both teams remain in contention for the Big Ten title, each with one loss––although Iowa has not lost to a Big Ten opponent. The Badgers fell to Michigan State in Week 5 in East Lansing.

This is a must-win game for both teams heading into the heart of the Big Ten season.

Although Iowa and Wisconsin are very similar, their differences will be revealed on Saturday as Iowa tries to capitalize on the advantages the Hawkeyes hold over their worthy rivals.

Iowa’s success will materialize from the following:

Key 1: Iowa’s Defensive Line Rules Wisconsin’s Offensive Line.

Iowa's Adrian Clayborn is not easily contained.

For the Badgers to win against Iowa, Wisconsin must flatten Iowa’s front four on defense.

That means overpowering DE Adrian Clayborn,  DE Broderick Binns, DT Christian Ballard and DT Karl Klug.

Keeping Iowa’s awesome foursome down long enough so that Wisconsin’s power running backs John Clay and  James White can work their magic on the scoreboard will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Badger offensive line.

Wisconsin must establish the running game to have any hope of winning this football game on the road in Iowa City.

But Iowa ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten in rushing defense. They may, in fact, have the top overall defense in the country.

This will prove to be the ultimate test for the Badger’s big boys up front on the offensive line––senior left guard John Moffitt, senior left tackle Gabe Carimi, sophomore center Peter Konz, junior right guard Kevin Zeitler and sophomore right tackle Ricky Wagner as they try to blaze a path for their vaunted running backs.
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Iowa Football: Double the Trouble for the Arizona Wildcats 1

Posted on September 15, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa defeated Arizona 27-17 last year in Iowa City.

In 2009, Iowa tipped Arizona in Kinnick Stadium 27-17 on the back of Iowa’s defense–– which essentially stifled any real offense the Wildcats could muster.

Arizona’s running back Nic Grigsby came into the contest as the nation’s second leading rusher.

He left Iowa City with only 75 yards rushing on 11 carries.

Of their 17 total points, Arizona scored seven as a result of an interception of a Stanzi pass. The Wildcat offense scored another seven points as time was running out in the fourth quarter and the outcome was no longer in doubt.

That meant that for all of their efforts, the Arizona offense earned a field goal on the afternoon. That evolved when Iowa corner back Amari Spievey stopped Grigsby with a tackle on the Iowa 1-yard line.  Subsequently, Iowa stopped Arizona cold and the Wildcats had to settle for a 3-pointer instead of a touchdown.

The Iowa defense which held the Arizona offense to a mere eight first downs, will be expected to repeat their performance in 2010.

This year Iowa’s “Bid D” will face a more explosive offense, led by quarterback Nick Foles, a Michigan State transfer.

Foles entered the game in the fourth quarter of the 2009 game against Iowa and has now replaced last year’s starter Matt Scott.

Foles forte is passing and in his first two games he has thrown for 574 yards and three touchdowns. Completing 83 percent of his passes, Foles has also tossed a couple of interceptions.  But the level of the Wildcat competition has not been exactly stiff.

The Arizona team mauled the MAC Conference Toledo Rockets 41-2 in week one. They followed that up with a win over the Citadel of the Southern Conference, 52-6. Iowa, on the other hand, will present a whole lot more competition.

The Wildcats use short passes to open up the field. RB Grigsby is back fully healthy again, piling up 160 yards and five touchdowns in the first two games.  He has been aided in the backfield by Greg Nwoko who has added 100 yards and two touchdowns so far in 2010. The Arizona defense will be forced to stand up to their toughest test so far in this young season.

Iowa will win this game for many reasons but primarily because of the the team effort on both sides of the ball.  On offense and on defense expect these tandems to excel as No. 9 Iowa faces No. 24 Arizona in Tucson on September 18:

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Iowa Hawkeyes Football: Top 10 Keys to Defeating Eastern Illinois 5

Posted on September 01, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa opens the season at home against Eastern Illinois.

As you watch the University of Iowa’s football team take the field Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City against the Eastern Illinois Panthers, you need to gauge the Hawkeye’s success by looking at the following factors:

(1) The State of Mind of Quarterback Ricky Stanzi

Last year in their opener against Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes trailed 10-3 at halftime.  The coaching staff sweated bullets.  These Northern Iowa Panthers were not patsies.

In the third quarter Northern Iowa extended their lead 13-3.  Stanzi’s back was against the proverbial wall when he marched the offense 70 yards in six plays to score, reducing Northern Iowa’s lead to three.

The reinvigorated offense under Stanzi’s leadership took charge in the fourth quarter.  Tony Moeaki caught a six yard pass to change the score in favor of Iowa for the first time 17-13.  With 13 minutes left on the clock, all Iowa had to do was hang on for a win.

But Iowa never did things the easy way––at least not in 2009.

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Shaking off the Dust: Iowa Hawkeyes and Big Ten Needs Some Changes! 1

Posted on December 05, 2009 by JA Allen
Iowa v Ohio State

The injury to Ricky Stanzi in the Northwestern game changed the complection of the finals weeks of the season for the Hawkeyes.

The University of Iowa football team resumed practice Saturday inside the “dome” facility constructed during the Hayden Fry era, when the Iowa Hawkeyes became regular participants in postseason play. The team needed an indoor place to practice after cold weather arrived in Iowa in order to keep the team competitive.

As they hobbled onto the practice field Saturday, some of the Hawkeyes’ more illustrious walking wounded returned, trying to shuffle off the constraints of tape and crutches.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi and running back Adam Robinson came back to the offensive side of the field while linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Jeff Tarpinian rejoined the defense.

This Iowa team finished with a 10-2 record, one notch behind Ohio State, who will represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. Iowa awaits the announcement of its bowl destination on Sunday.

Until then, the University of Iowa opponent remains a mystery.

When Stanzi went out early in the second quarter of the Northwestern game, Iowa lost two in a row to Northwestern and Ohio State, though the Hawkeyes took the game against the Buckeyes to overtime before finally losing on the road.

The Hawkeyes had a very tough road schedule in 2009 and still managed to lose only one “away” game—to Ohio State. Their strength of schedule explains their high ranking in the BCS. The Hawkeyes currently sit at No. 9.

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