Well, at least we didn’t have to see a repeat of last year’s season opener with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Today, the no. 9 ranked Hawkeyes beat the visiting Eastern Illinois Panthers 37-7 .
And we were able to see the good Ricky Stanzi. In the Hawkeye’s opening possession of the game, the team scored with 12:20 on the clock. Stanzi gave the ball to running back Adam Robinson, who scored the first of his three touchdowns for the day.
For the day, Stanzi was 18 for 23 with 229 yards and one touchdown. He briefly went down with a potential injury in the second half. I couldn’t hear it on television, but I imagine there was collective sigh of panic among the 70,000 fans at Kinnick when Stanzi exited the field limping. He missed a few plays, brushed himself off and entered the game soon afterwards.
During his absence, backup quarterback James Vandenberg did a nice job filling in. With Vandenberg temporarily in command, he continued to use workhorse Robinson who scored a touchdown with an 8-yard run.
The Panther’s sole score of the game came in the second quarter when they converted a fake punt from their own 20. This set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from the team’s rookie quarterback Brandon Large to tight end Von Wise. The score went to 21-7 Iowa.
Large went 13 of 20 for passing and one touchdown today.
Iowa’s defense was too tough for the visiting team. Hawkeye defensive tackle Karl Klug and linebacker Tyler Nielsen each had six tackles for the day and the Panthers only had 157 yards vs. the Hawkeye’s 435 yards.
Overall, it was a good day for the Hawkeyes. Adam Robinson was the MVP of the game with three touchdowns, 24 attempts and 111 yards. It was the third 100-plus yard game for the sophmore.
Under Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, today was Iowa’s 10th consecutive win on the first game of the season. Earlier this week, the university extended Ferentz’s contract to 2020.
Next week, the Hawkeyes will host instate rival Iowa State in a 2:30 p.m. central game, televised on ABC.
Guess I’ll have to continue wearing my new Iowa shirt until a loss. I’m glad it wasn’t a jinx.
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Written by Debbie Baratz