Three cool things:
1. A honest-to-thud Paki bomb happened in this one. Of course, you remember former Iowa running back Paki O’Meara. The former Cedar Rapids Washington prep was a backup for the Hawkeyes who worked his way into situational play.
In this one, he blocked a punt and returned it 42 yards for a score.
The last I heard, Paki was traveling the world and living a really bright life.
2. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi didn’t tear his ACL. That was a good thing, a really good thing in 2010.
3. This isn’t cool, but it’s an immediate observation that jumps out to me: That was one nutty running backs room.
Adam Robinson came through here and in most of 2010. Brandon Wegher was gone. Jewel Hampton served a suspension in this one, but ended up suffering a second torn ACL.
I haven’t crunched the numbers, but it feels like Iowa has had fewer and fewer careers spin off into the ether in the last few years. It wasn’t fun for anyone watching that disintegrate.
Quote: ”It wasn’t a 70-7 game,” said EIU Coach Bob Spoo, whose school received $400,000 for traveling to Iowa City.
Note: Adam Robinson had 109 yards and three TDs. It was his third 100-yard game as a Hawkeye. Robinson had six 100-yard games for Iowa in 2010. Akrum Wadley had five last season, for comparison sake.
Why No. 138?: Another FCS win. You’re not going to talk me off that. Coming off a wildly brilliant 2009 season, a nice splash game might’ve made sense here, but this also was the time when college football scheduling was much less fluid than it is now. (Not that it’s all that fluid now, but then, these types of games were scheduled six or seven years out, or more, and seemed to be set in cement.)
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2010
IOWA CITY — The only real adrenaline exploded on what looked like an innocent scramble in the first quarter.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi dropped back to pass, saw no one open and took off. The next thing to drop was your hearts into a deep, deep cavern somewhere in middle earth.
Stanzi tried to make a cut. His left knee did a bend only a protractor could measure and he limped off the field.
Less than five minutes into the season, the senior quarterback, a three-year starter and central nervous system of the No. 9 team in the country, limps off the field and it didn’t look good.
”I saw it; it looked awkward,” senior wide receiver Colin Sandeman said. “I was like, ‘Rick please get up, you’re faking it.’”
Always has to be some drama with Stanzi.
”I have no doubt that it’ll be fine,” Stanzi said. “I talked to the trainers. It’s all stable. Nothing to worry about. Just part of football.”
Stand down. It was only a drill. Or a tweak or something.
Stanzi returned and the Hawkeyes (1-0) used a 21-point first quarter to power past Eastern Illinois, 37-7, before 70,585 Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Stanzi completed his first eight passes and finished 18 of 23 for 229 yards, a touchdown and about a million heart attacks.
Always some drama with Stanzi.
”Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, not good,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It looked like he couldn’t decide whether to slide or not slide. Usually bad things happen with that.”
That was the only bad thing for the Hawkeyes, who play host to Iowa State (1-0) next week.
Sophomore running back Adam Robinson took advantage of fellow sophomore running back Jewel Hampton’s one-game suspension with 109 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Coincidentally, the three TDs were the most for an Iowa player since Brandon Wegher scored three against Indiana last season.
Of course, Wegher is on a leave of absence and out for this season. Robinson was the only go-to back Saturday, and he was all the Hawkeyes needed.
”I think we came together as a team,” said Robinson, who notched his third 100-yard game. “Our main goal was to come out and get rid of them early. I think we did a good job of that.”
The Hawkeyes scored on their first four possessions, including a blocked punt and 42-yard return by reserve running back Paki O’Meara. Robinson’s third TD with 8:39 left in the second quarter gave the Hawkeyes a 28-7 halftime lead over the Panthers (0-1), ranked No. 14 in FCS.
The Panthers landed their only punch in the second quarter. Tight end Cody Bruns took a fake punt 36 yards to Iowa’s 44. On the next play, quarterback Brandon Large hit wide receiver Chris Wright for a 37-yard gain after Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde bit on a play-fake.
Large found wide receiver Von Wise for an 11-yard score on the next play.
”It wasn’t a 70-7 game,” said EIU Coach Bob Spoo, whose school received $400,000 for traveling to Iowa City.
The Panthers missed three offensive linemen, a starting running back and had a first-year starter at QB. EIU is an FCS school and it’s not in the same class as the Northern Iowa team that let Iowa off the hook in last year’s opener when the Hawkeyes blocked two field goals to win 17-16.
It’s impossible to gauge what the Hawkeyes can be.
Stanzi executed a short passing game with precision. Iowa’s O-line, the biggest question mark for the ‘10 Hawkeyes, guided Iowa to 179 rushing yards, but also allowed two sacks. Iowa’s defense went to sleep for one drive, but it otherwise clamped EIU, holding the Panthers to 157 yards and six first downs while the Hawkeyes ran up 435 yards.
”They had a couple plays they got us on early, but we adjusted well,” senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn said. “We’ll look at the film and try to get better.”
So, consider the Stanzi knee — he never heard a pop, which is good — a drill. Good thing, too. Seems sophomore James Vandenberg needed a drill.
”My first thought was ‘where is my helmet?’” said Vandenberg, who completed 3 of 3 for 27 yards and led Iowa on a TD drive. “Everyone was yelling at me to get my helmet.”
Put the helmet down. Only a drill.