Wine Online: A Nice Win...and the Ethanol Trophy? - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
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Wine Online: A Nice Win...and the Ethanol Trophy?
Former UI staffer George Wine talks Iowa against Eastern Illinois, Nebraska
Iowa's defense was more than solid in the Hawkeyes 37-7 victory over Eastern Illinois Saturday at Kinnick.

Iowa's defense was more than solid in the Hawkeyes 37-7 victory over Eastern Illinois Saturday at Kinnick.
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Sept. 5, 2010




IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Plenty of good news came out of Iowa's football opener against Eastern Illinois. The best news was that Ricky Stanzi did not sustain a serious injury when he slipped awkwardly on the turf. It was a scary moment as the senior quarterback limped to the sideline.

But Stanzi later returned to action and when his day was done there was this good news: He threw no interceptions -- his Achilles heel last season -- while completing 18 of 23 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown.


Other positive developments that came out of a 37-7 victory against an overmatched opponent:

Adam Robinson picked up where he left off a year ago by rushing for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Only one game into his sophomore season, Robinson is now 57 yards shy of 1,000 for his career. He saw heavy duty Saturday, but he'll get relief this week with the return of Jewel Hampton, who sat out a one-game suspension.

Iowa's offense quickly made this a one-sided contest by scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions. The Hawkeyes were also efficient on third downs, converting 7 of 11.

Iowa's defense yielded only 157 yards, of which more than half (86) came on the visitors' only scoring drive of the game. That was triggered by a fake punt and was the only time they crossed midfield.

Contributions from Iowa's special teams included a blocked punt by Paki O'Meara, who picked up the ball and ran it into the end zone for Iowa`s third touchdown. Kickoffs by freshman Michael Meyer and coverage from his teammates consistently put Eastern Illinois in bad field position. Ryan Donahoe punted only once, but that was a 43-yarder caught by Micah Hyde and downed at the five-yard line.

On the negative side, the Hawkeyes frittered away two scoring opportunities with fumbles, one at the goal yard line. Meanwhile Iowa's defense, though solid all day, never forced a turnover. Also, the Hawkeyes were fooled badly by a fake punt, which will surely draw attention from future opponents.

Iowa State, at Kinnick Stadium for a game this Saturday, might be the first to try tricking the Hawkeyes again. The Cyclones looked good in beating Northern Illinois 27-10 last week. This contest will undoubtedly provide more suspense than we saw in Iowa's opening game.





The proximity of Iowa City and Lincoln does provide potential for a spirited football rivalry. It also helps that the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers are currently in the Top Ten and have been generally strong for decades.

A traditional season-ending football game should have a a traveling trophy, and it is only matter of time before someone provides a fitting prize that will go to the winner. Iowa and Nebraska are both agricultural states noted for producing corn. Maybe we'll call it The Ethanol Trophy.



THE ETHANOL TROPHY?

The two divisions for Big Ten football were announced the other day, and surprisingly there were few surprises and disappointments. Reaction from the Hawkeye camp was generally favorable.

Commissioner Jim Delany had made it clear that geography would have a low priority in splitting the 12-team conference in two, so it shouldn't have been surprising that the Hawkeyes are not in the same division as Wisconsin and Illinois, two schools that are closest to Iowa City geographically.

It is disappointing that each season will no longer include a game between Iowa and Wisconsin, who have a long rivalry that includes the Heartland Trophy. Their football teams have played 85 times over the years and the rivalry is about as close as you can get. Iowa leads it, 42-41-2. It is surprising that Purdue, not Wisconsin, is Iowa's guaranteed "crossover" game. On the other hand, it may come as good news to Hawkeye fans that their favorite team will play at West Lafayette every other year. It is much easier these days to secure tickets at Purdue than at Wisconsin.

Nebraska, the Big Ten's newest member, will be Iowa's season-ending game under the new divisional format. That revelation seemed to please the Hawkeye faithful and members of the news media, who called it "perfect" and "natural."

Really? If this is such a perfect and natural season-ending football game why have the two schools met only seven times in the last 65 years? The border-state universities are separated by only five hours of interstate highway, yet they have competed against one another sporadically.

The proximity of Iowa City and Lincoln does provide potential for a spirited football rivalry. It also helps that the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers are currently in the Top Ten and have been generally strong for decades.

A traditional season-ending football game should have a a traveling trophy, and it is only matter of time before someone provides a fitting prize that will go to the winner. Iowa and Nebraska are both agricultural states noted for producing corn. Maybe we'll call it The Ethanol Trophy.

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