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Iowa v. Tennessee Tech Recap and Analysis

By Tyler Tjelmeland

The rain poured down hard on historic Kinnick Stadium Saturday September 3rd for the season-opener for the Iowa Hawkeyes against The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.  The Hawkeyes came away with a 34-7 victory with a lot of bright spots through the rain, and a great deal of things to work on.

New starter, Junior QB James Vandenberg threw for 219 yards, a pair of touchdowns to senior, captain Marvin McNutt, as well as 1 rushing score to propel the Hawks in the win.  Sophomore RB Marcus Coker put the ball on the ground in his first 2 carries in the rain, but settled in eventually with 11 rushes for 41 yards.  True Freshman RB Mika’il McCall looked like a stud early on in the game with 61 yards on 9 carries, but he went down with a season-ending broken ankle in the first quarter, which seems to be the plaguing injury for the average Iowa tailback over the past few seasons.  That being said, it is not secret that Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, Offensive Coordinator, Ken O’Keefe, and Running Backs Coach Lester Erb can deal with this problem as they have in years past.  A big key to winning games is facing adversity and the black and gold are no strangers to that.

The Hawkeye defense struggled in the trenches at times with the Golden Eagle running game, but shut down the passing game, only allowing 156 passing yards, with 2 incredible interceptions.  The defense gave up 108 yards, on 24 carries and a touchdown to Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle RB, Dontay Gay, but at times they looked superb against an over-matched Tennessee Tech offensive line who struggled getting the ball to the quarterback most of the game.  The defensive line was in the backfield constantly putting pressure on Golden Eagle QB, Tre Lamb, making it look like the loss of Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard would not be a problem this year.  The adverse conditions created difficulties for the defensive linemen to record sacks. The pressure was there all game and Coach Ferentz addressed that after the game, saying that the defense had a lot of respect for Lamb coming in to the match-up and it is definitely something that the Hawks will need to work on with good, elusive quarterbacks looming in the Big Ten such as, Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez.

The big highlights on the defensive side of the ball were two big interceptions that both led to scores for the Hawkeyes.  The first by James Morris in the 2nd, which led to a Mike Meyer Field Goal of 20 yards, and the second by Shaun Prater resulted in an 89 yard touchdown return, the 5th longest in Iowa Football history.  Morris also recorded 10 tackles, 4 solo stops to lead the Hawkeyes in that category.

The Hawkeyes were up 34-0 in the 3rd quarter lightening struck over Iowa City and the game had to be delayed.  The lightening and rain held off the game for approximately 90 minutes, and when the players were allowed back on the field it was all back-ups for the black and gold.  The remaining fans were buzzing as highly-touted recruit and star QB from Iowa City West High School, A.J. Derby entered the game.  Derby went 2-5 for 27 yards and no rushing attempts.  The second-string defense for Iowa allowed a 16 play, 76 yard drive capped off by a Dontay Gay touchdown, the only score for the Golden Eagles of the day.  Other notables that came in later in the game on a more dominant role were Senior DB Jordan Bernstine, who looked extremely good, recording 10 tackles and some incredible hits, really showcasing his athletic ability, and True Freshman RB out of Miami, FL De’Andre Johnson who rushed 8 times for 32 yards on the sopping wet turf at Kinnick.

The over-matched Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles seemed to have a lot of fight in them overall, but were just over-matched by the Hawkeyes.  After the game, Head Coach Kirk Ferentz discussed that the game will benefit the team by giving them a great deal of good teaching film, and that the things that need to be addressed will be addressed, as well as the Hawkeyes being happy to be 1-0.  Coach Ferentz also addressed the rain, saying that the players had not had much practice in the rain and the experience can be used as a valuable teaching tool for the coaches when preparing for the rest of the season. The Hawkeyes will take on the Iowa State Cyclones in the touted in-state rivalry for the Cy-Hawk trophy this coming Saturday, September 12 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA at approximately 11 AM.

 


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