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Wine Online: Hero Here, Hero There, Heroes Everywhere
Lots of good in Hawkeyes' dominating with at Indiana
Don't look now...Jewel's sock is at his ankles!  However, with three touchdowns in his first trip home, maybe the Hawkeyes' talented freshman is going to start a new fashion trend?
Don't look now...Jewel's sock is at his ankles! However, with three touchdowns in his first trip home, maybe the Hawkeyes' talented freshman is going to start a new fashion trend?
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Oct. 12, 2008

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Who was the hero of Iowa's 45-9 thumping of Indiana?

    Was it the defense, which for the second game in a row allowed a Big Ten opponent only one touchdown?

    Was it the offensive line, which dominated so thoroughly that Iowa had a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession?


    Was it Ryan Donahue, whose punts consistently gave Iowa favorable field position in the first half, when the game was undecided?

    Was it Daniel Murray, whose eight kickoffs were mostly not returnable. On one that was, he made an open field tackle that saved a touchdown.

    Was it Shonn Greene, who rushed for more than 100 yards for the seventh game in a row? Or was it Jewel Hampton, the first-year freshman who stepped in when Greene hurt an ankle and ran for 114 yards?





    For the past month Kirk Ferentz has told us his team was making improvement. Some raised an eyebrow at that assessment, but it turns out the head coach knew what he was talking about. Improvement was there, we just didn't see it on the scoreboard.

    "This group of players is as enjoyable as any I've ever been around," says Ferentz, in his 10th year as boss of the Hawkeyes. His team is enjoyable to watch too, especially when it puts together a performance like Saturday's.



    Was it Ricki Stanzi, who threw two touchdown passes and perhaps more importantly did not throw an interception or lose a fumble?

    They should all take a bow, because this was a genuine team effort. It was Iowa's best all-around football performance of the year -- by far. The defense was stifling, the running game was crushing, the passing game complementary, and the special teams were exceptional.

    After losing three straight games that could have easily gone the other way, the Hawkeyes needed a performance like this, and the reward that came with it.

    For the past month Kirk Ferentz has told us his team was making improvement. Some raised an eyebrow at that assessment, but it turns out the head coach knew what he was talking about. Improvement was there, we just didn't see it on the scoreboard.

    "This group of players is as enjoyable as any I've ever been around," says Ferentz, in his 10th year as boss of the Hawkeyes. His team is enjoyable to watch too, especially when it puts together a performance like Saturday's.

    A note of caution here -- we should not get too carried away by a victory at Indiana, which clearly is not one of the Big Ten's best teams. Also, the Hoosiers were without Kellen Lewis, one of the league's best quarterbacks, in the second half.

    What Iowa must do now is use this resounding triumph as a springboard to a successful season. Still ahead are Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota. Each is a big challenge.

    To become bowl eligible, the Hawkeyes must beat two of them. To ensure a post-season bid, they need to beat three.

    After two weeks on the road, Iowa is at home this week to face Wisconsin, a Top Ten team early in the season. But the Badgers have fallen on hard times following three straight losses, two at home.

    Surprisingly -- perhaps shockingly -- they find themselves at the bottom of the Big Ten standings with an 0-3 record. Coach Bret Bielema, who played for the Hawkeyes in the early 1990s, and his players find themselves in a desperate position.

    This week Iowa feels good about itself. Wisconsin is hurting. Will the same be true late Saturday afternoon?


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