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Wine Online: Hawkeyes Played Well on Frightful Day
There was real thunder and lightning Saturday at Kinnick
Sophomore linebacker was stout on defense and when he had a chance to be offensive.
Sophomore linebacker was stout on defense and when he had a chance to be offensive.
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Sept. 4, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The next time Iowa farmers want to end a drought, they might ask the Hawkeyes to play a football game. Our state hadn't had much rain in over a month and the corn and soy beans were stressed. Saturday the Hawkeyes opened their football season with Tennessee Tech, and then the rain came. Did it ever!

When lightning bolts started popping in the third quarter the game was stopped, the stadium was evacuated, and the game was delayed nearly for an hour and a half by foul weather. When it ended at 3:28 p.m. in a near-empty Kinnick Stadium, the weather was a bigger story than the game (which, incidentally, Iowa won 34-7).


You could say that lighting caused college football to start with bang on Saturday. Michigan's opener with Western Michigan was never finished after being stopped for a second time with 16:27 left to play. Notre Dame's game with South Florida was also stopped twice, and when it finally finished so were the Fighting Irish, upset by their underdog visitors.

Sometimes weather makes no sense. While it gave Notre Dame all kinds of problems at South Bend, just down the road at West Lafayette Purdue and Middle Tennessee were playing in the sunshine. Also, Indiana and Ball State experienced no problems in Muncie.

This was thought to be the first time a Hawkeye game was delayed by weather, but it is not the first time weather stopped a football game in Iowa City. In 1977, City High and West High were playing for The Boot when a lighting storm blew in and play was suspended. By the next day the weather cleared and the game was completed, with City High winning at Franks Bates Field. The opening kickoff was Sept. 30, so the game began in September and ended in October.

So much for the weather, let's talk football and the opening game. What can we make of an Iowa team that -- with a dozen new starters - looks much different than it did a year ago?





Next up is a rivalry game at Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have won the last three games in this series but have lost four of the last six played at Ames. Those are some numbers you'll be hearing this week, but they won't mean much after the opening kickoff this Saturday.


It took a while for the offense to find its rhythm, but then Iowa scored on five straight possessions. James Vandenberg had a solid debut as Iowa's No. 1 quarterback, throwing for two touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes. Reserves played the last 18 minutes, but the offense still averaged 6.7 yards a play and had a nice mix of running (148 yards) and passing (246). A veteran offensive line gave up no sacks. The only downer was a season ending injury to promising freshman tailback Mika'il McCall.

Iowa's No. 1 defense shut out a Tech offense that returned all 11 starters and runs no-huddle attack it calls "the fastest 60 minutes in football." It put good pressure on the Tech quarterback and gave up only two runs of more than 10 yards.

The Hawkeyes entertained the sell-out crowd with big plays, including Vandenberg's 88-yard TD pass to Marvin McNutt and Shaun Prater's 89-yard TD return of an intercepted pass. James Morris had a 52-yard interception return that set up a field goal, and also had a hand in 10 tackles.

Perhaps because of big plays, some stats on this game are skewed. Tech ran 14 more plays and had a possession-time advantage of nearly seven minutes. Iowa scored 24 points in the second quarter but had the ball less than six minutes.

Except for a couple of breakdowns on kickoff coverage, the special teams performed well. Mike Meyer made both of his field goal attempts, one from 39 yards. New punter Eric Guthrie had three boots for a 39-yard average, a good number on a lousy day.

Next up is a rivalry game at Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have won the last three games in this series but have lost four of the last six played at Ames. Those are some numbers you'll be hearing this week, but they won't mean much after the opening kickoff this Saturday.

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