It's no contest: Fry figures that's enough after Iowa rips UNI, 66-0

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IOWA CITY -

Never again.

Bury it. Forget it. Don't schedule a mismatch like this again.

Ever.

Who says so? Iowa Coach Hayden Fry himself.

His 20th-ranked Hawkeyes demolished Northern Iowa, 66-0, in a steam bath at Kinnick Stadium Saturday in the most lopsided game for either school in 83 years.

"I feel very sorry for UNI," Fry said.

Fry enjoyed the fireworks by Iowa, but doesn't want to play the Panthers again.

"I really wouldn't," he said. "I told Coach Dunbar, I don't think it's fair."

Iowa was too big and strong for Mike Dunbar's team. "It just got out of hand," Fry said.

The Hawkeyes rolled up 658 yards, matching the fifth-best total in school history, and they made it look easy from start to finish.

It was the biggest mismatch for either club since 1914, when the Hawkeyes murdered UNI (then called Iowa Teachers College), 95-0.

The two schools did not play again for the next 81 years. Fry suggested a similar respite.

"Imagine how the players feel," he said after the onslaught. "Sixty-six to zip."

Iowa's players felt pretty darn good, even if it was a glorified scrimmage before 66,325 fans.

Tavian Banks, the new tailback with the dyed-blond hairdo, shredded the Panthers for a career-best 203 yards and three touchdowns while barely breaking a sweat.

He scored on a 63-yard burst on Iowa's first play from scrimmage, prancing untouched to the end zone as the Hawks faked a reverse. The game was 20 seconds old.

"I hadn't even turned around yet, it happened so fast," said Dunbar, who had a rough debut with the Panthers.

Banks also scored on a 40-yard run and a 6-yard pass from Matt Sherman.

"I think the real Heisman candidate showed up today, and that's Tavian," said Hawkeye wingback Tim Dwight.

"No," said Banks quickly. "I'm not going to worry about that."

Dwight has it backwards. Iowa is promoting him for the Heisman, not Banks, but Tavian stole the show with the seventh-best rushing performance in school history.

Dwight had a quiet day, for him. He caught two passes for 42 yards, returned two punts for 21 yards, and made two tackles in his debut as Iowa's nickel back on defense.

One of the grabs went for a 27-yard score, when he shed UNI cornerback Ty Talton and collected a soft pass from Sherman in the end zone.

"I think it was UNI's game plan to take me out of the offense," Dwight said.

Indeed it was. The Panthers sent two defenders after Dwight, usually Talton and a buddy, but that left openings for everone else in black and gold.

"We noticed that early," said Hawkeye receiver Damon

Gibson.

"If other people do what UNI did, man, it will open up a lot of things for us," Fry said.

Sherman collected three TD passes on flips to Dwight, Banks and Gibson, the latter a 65-yard tightrope job. Randy Reiners, the No.2 quarterback contributed a 26-yard TD pass to Richard Willock and a 27-yard beauty to Ricchard Carter.

Rob Thein scored on a 6-yard run and Henry Pollio, the

fourth-string fullback, tacked on a 2-yard touchdown late in the game.

"We got to do everything we wanted to do," said Fry, who

cleared his bench. "Overall, we were very pleased with

everything."

The quarterbacks passed for 279 yards and five touchdowns. The ballcarriers scampered for 395 yards and four scores. Zach Bromert kicked eight straight PATs and a 40-yard field goal, and the defense pitched a shutout.

That makes three shutouts in the last four games, counting the tail end of 1996.

"I'd like to say we're that good, but it's early," said Hawkeye cornerback Plez Atkins, who made the 10th

interception of his career.

The Panthers, trailing 10-0, were on the march in the second quarter when UNI quarterback Shane Fortney aimed an ill-advised pass into triple coverage in the end zone. Atkins made the interception, ending a 67-yard drive.

That was the beginning of the end. The Hawkeyes went 80 yards, with Banks getting the last 40.

Northern Iowa fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Iowa recovered and quickly scored again on Sherman's pass to Dwight.

The big kids from the Big Ten gave the perennial Gateway Conference champs a whupping on the pretty new grass at Kinnick.

"I don't want to downgrade UNI or anything like

that," said Banks, "but we're in the Big Ten and

they're Division I-AA."

This was the end of a two-game series. Iowa won, 34-13, in 1995. No further games are planned.

"It was good for us to get out and play and do things and take a few hits," said Fortney, who suffered four interceptions,

"but it wasn't good to get our asses kicked like that."

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