Sunday, October 11, 2015

Iowa Hawkeyes win on Homecoming 29-20 over Illinois to improve to 6-0 in 2015

Honorary team captain Colin Cole, a former DT on Iowa's 2002 B1G championship team (8-0), 
with Iowa game captains #27 Jordan Lomax, #63 Austin Blythe, #16 C.J. Beathard and #95 Drew Ott, 
who suffered a season ending injury on Saturday, during Iowa's 29-20 Homecoming win 
over the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Iowa City, IA -- The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-0, 2-0 B1G West) for the first time, since the beginning of division play, in the Big Ten, in 2011, sit on top of their division at 2-0. The #22 ranked Hawkeyes have paid a price on the injury front though heading into the second half of the 2015 season, as senior defensive end Drew Ott is done, after an ACL injury impacted the four year starter, in the second half, of today's 28-20 win on Homecoming over the Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2, 1-1 B1G West).

Iowa senior DE #95 entering his final game, as a Hawkeye, after suffering
a season ending ACL injury in the 29-20 win on Homecoming at Kinnick
Stadium. The senior DE from Nebraska helped the Hawkeyes with one of three
sacks and two of five tackles for loss in the win over the Fighting Illini.
The Hawkeyes are 2-0 in the Big Ten for the sixth time under Kirk Ferentz (2002, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015). For the second straight year, in year two of the West division, the Hawkeyes are undefeated in conference play. The Hawkeyes control their own destiny, with six B1G conference games remaining, with a road game @ Northwestern (5-1, 1-1 B1G West) next Saturday.

The Big Ten will not see a repeat of the 1995 season, when Northwestern went 8-0. Or a repeat of the 1995 season, when Iowa lost back to back games against Illinois and @ Northwestern, after Iowa defeated the Fighting Illini on Homecoming at Kinnick; while #18 Michigan (5-1, 2-0 B1G East) blanked #13 Northwestern 38-0 for their Homecoming victory in Ann Arbor.

Iowa junior QB #16 C.J. Beathard is making a huge difference using his feet
and through the air, as Iowa's signal caller in 2005. Numbers include
116-of-199 (58.3) passing for 1,484 yards, 10 touchdowns,
and three interceptions, and 221 yards rushing with three rushing touchdowns.
 The last Iowa quarterback to win his first seven career starts was Matt Sherman,
who won seven from 1994-95. Beathard will seek to top Sherman next week.
In 1985, another QB wore
#16, as Chuck Long lead
the Black and Gold at
Iowa. Long was another 
Iowa QB to make plays 
with both his arm and legs.
The decision of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz to replace #1 signal caller Jake Rudock with C.J. Beathard, in January, for 2015 season has worked out well for the Hawkeyes. Beathard is now 7-0 as a starting quarterback for the Hawkeyes. Rudock graduated at Iowa in the Spring. He is now leading the Michigan Wolverines now as their #1 signal caller.

More and more Hawkeye fans in Iowa City want to see a repeat of the 1985 game, in a battle of #1 vs. #2 in the nation. For it to take place, the Hawkeyes and Wolverines will have to win their respective divisions. There are six B1G conference games remaining. Next week:

  • Iowa @ Northwestern, as the Wildcats host Homecoming and look to get back into the B1G West race head to head with the B1G West leading Hawkeyes
  • Michigan State @ Michigan in the Big House for a huge game in the early Jim Harbaugh era for the Wolverines, as former Iowa QB Chuck Long ('85 team) says the Wolverines are back tonight on the Big Ten Network, as he provided color for the MSU @ Rutgers game
Former Iowa QB, now Michigan QB #15 Jake Rudock leading Wolverines
offense. The Wolverines won 38-0 for their third straight shutout in '15.
Rudock is now 3-0 against Northwestern, after two wins a Hawkeyes QB.
Northwestern will host Iowa next Saturday for their Homecoming game.
Iowa is bowl eligible for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons under head coach Ferentz. The Hawkeyes are 6-0 for the first time since 2009, the second time under Ferentz, and the seventh time in school history, with the win over the Fighting Illini on Homecoming, as Ferentz moves to 13-4.
Dean of Big Ten coaches, Kirk Ferentz
during the 2015 Homecoming game.

The win today gives Ferentz 121 wins as a member of the Big Ten Conference, The ninth most in conference history. Ferentz is one win shy of tying Lloyd Carr for eighth all-time (122). Ferentz has 70 Big Ten wins, tied for the ninth most in conference history (John Cooper). A victory @ Northwestern will move Ferentz up the all-time conference list, as the current dean of the Big Ten coaches.

The Hawkeyes are one of three final undefeated Big Ten teams in 2015, joining the past two Big Ten champions, Ohio State and Michigan State. In the East, there are four undefeated team in Big Ten play, with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State all 2-0, but it is early, with six B1G games remaining.

Iowa senior RB #33 Jordan Canzeri is off to a monster senior season, as he
runs the ball against the Illinois Fighting Illini. It was another career day with
two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving for his 9th and 10th of season!
In the win over Illinois, Iowa’s 51 rushing attempts ties for the 10th most in the Ferentz era. The Hawkeyes outgained the Illini 278-46 on the ground. Iowa last rushed 51 times in 2014 against Purdue, which was Beathard's first career start as a Hawkeye QB.

Iowa senior RB Jordan Canzeri running untouched for a 75 yard TD run in the
third quarter to put the Hawkeyes up 23-13 against the Fighting Illini.
Senior RB Jordan Canzeri’s 75-yard touchdown run was the longest touchdown run by a Hawkeye since Shonn Greene’s 75-yard TD in 2008 against Purdue. It is the longest rush by a Hawkeye since Adam Robinson’s 75-yard rush in 2010 against Iowa State, the last season Iowa was ranked and won a bowl game.

Iowa's offensive line has been stung by injuries in 2015, but senior RB #33
Jordan Canzeri is providing outstanding leadership by example on the field.
Senior C #63 Austin Blythe has been anchoring the O-Line very well in '15.
Canzeri recorded career highs in rushing yards (256) and attempts (43). The 43 carries is a Iowa school record, and the rushing yards ranks third all-time. It is the second week in a row he set a career high in attempts (26 vs. Wisconsin). His previous career-best rushing performance was 165 yards against Purdue in 2013. He has four 100-yard rushing games this season, six in his career.

Iowa junior TE #46 George Kittle is leading Hawkeye TEs in scoring in 2015,
including a TD  in each of the last games. He is playing a big role in the passing game,
with the injuries to two key seniors, WRTevaun Smith and TE Jake Duzey.
Junior Iowa TE George Kittle caught a 21-yard touchdown for the first score of the game. Kittle has three career touchdown receptions, one in each of the last three weeks. Kittle's senior cousin, TE Henry Krieger Coble, matched his career high with five receptions against the Fighting Illini.

TJ Neal brings down the ballcarrier.
Senior TE #80 Henry Kreiger Coble with one of his five catches vs. Illinois.
True freshman WR Jerminic Smith entered the game with no career catches. He caught four passes for 118 yards, becoming the first true freshman in the Kirk Ferentz era to record 100 yards receiving in a single game. Four times since 1997 an Iowa redshirt freshman had 100 yards receiving in a single game (listed by most recent):
Iowa has missed two key seniors in the passing game lately. Senior wide receiver Tevaun Smith has missed the past two B1G games due to a bruised knee, while senior TE Jake Duzey has missed most of the first half, due to injuring his knee during spring practice and having surgery.

Iowa true freshman #9 Jerminic Smith brings explosiveness to the Hawkeyes
passing game, as finally connects with C.J. Beathard, after making his
second career start, against the Illinois Fighting Illini.
WR Jerminic Smith’s 118 receiving yards is the most by a Hawkeye since TE Duzey in 2013 (138 vs. Ohio State). It is the highest receiving yards total by a wide receiver since WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had 119 receiving yards against Northwestern in 2007. 

By the way, the 2007 season was the last time Iowa opened the Big Ten season @ Wisconsin, and later hit the road @ Northwestern. The Hawkeyes last win 28-17 in Evanston was in 2007. Back then, the Hawkeyes were lead by first year starter Jake Christensen at quarterback.

Bill Cubit is animated on the sidelines.
Unlike, 2007 leading Western Michigan, Illinois Bill Cubit didn't enjoy a
win, after a game at Kinnick Stadium vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Ironically in 2007, present Illinois head coach Bill Cubit won in Iowa City with his Western Michigan team by the score of 28-19. It wasn't the case on Saturday, with his interim role leading the Fighting Illini, they didn't go away easy against the Hawkeyes on Homecoming, but they didn't win.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn tried to pick up more yards after a catch.
Illinois true freshman RB #5 Ke'Shawn Vaughn put Illinois on the scoreboard in the first
quarter on a 4-yard run, preceded by a one-handed catch by Malik Turner earlier in the drive.
The Hawkeyes gave up their first rushing TD of the season against Illinois and
trailed 7-6, after the first quarter. The Hawkeyes lead 16-7 at the half.
The Fighting Illini failed to complete a fourth-quarter come back win and snapped its three-game winning streak in Big Ten games. Illinois moves to 3-2 on the season. They showed a lot of improvement over last season's 30-14 loss against Iowa in Champaign.

In the fourth quarter, the Fighting Illini completed seven-play, 85-yard touchdown drive to close the deficit to 23-20. The touchdown drive was the longest the Illini have produced this season.

Geronimo Allison - Illinois vs. Iowa - 2015
Iowa did give up explosive plays against an improving Fighting Illini team,
especially in the passing game, but the run defense gave up their first TD run.
The Hawkeyes faced Illinois senior WR #8 Geronimo Allison, who came
into the game as the Big Ten's leading receiver and showed why.
Iowa junior DT Jaleel Johnson, an Illinois native, had a career best six tackles, including one quarterback sack. Sophomore DT Nathan Bazata matches his career with four tackles, including one sack. Sophomore MLB Josey Jewell led Iowa with 12 tackles.

Iowa sophomore DT #99 Nathan Bazata recorded one of the three Iowa sacks. 
Iowa was plus-two in turnovers today and is plus-five on the season. Iowa has 12 takeaways this season, and turned them into 44 points. Junior CB Greg Mabin had an interception today, while MLB Jewell recovered a fumble, which was forced by redshirt freshman DE Parker Hesse, in for the injured Ott. Iowa’s 12 takeaways through six games is its highest total since recording 12 in 2013.

Iowa junior CB #13 Greg Mabin was happy to intercept this Illini pass from
WR Geronimo Allison, after a long day defending the talented receiver.
Iowa PK Marshall Koehn was perfect on three field goals (19, 34, 40). He is 8-for-9 on the season, including 4-for-4 on attempts 40 yards or longer. Koehn had 11 points today, raising his career total to 119, 24th all-time. He did overcome an early miscue, when he missed his second extra point, after the first touchdown of the game, to give Iowa a 6-0 lead.

The Hawkeyes gave up explosive plays against the Fighting Illini, including a 53 yard touchdown recepiton. Though the Hawkeyes are 6-0, there is a lot of work ahead, with a road trip against Northwestern ahead. The Hawkeyes have won back to back games against at home, and three of the last four, with each of the wins at Kinnick.

Iowa true freshman James Daniels has been playing at both guard spots this
season, but when starting sophomore RT Ike Boettger went out, Daniels
made the move outside. It was troubling at times, but Iowa found a way to
prevail in the second half, after the injury.
Northwestern won three straight over Iowa from 2008 to 2010, including a knockout loss, when Iowa was 9-0 in 2009 at Kinnick, after quarterback Ricky Stanzi was injured on a tackle in the end zone. The Wildcats also won the last game played in Evanston, with a 28-17 win, during the 2012 season.

The 1985 Iowa Hawkeyes opened the season 7-0. There seventh straight win was in Evanston against the Northwestern Wildcats 49-10. The Wildcats are up for the Hawkeyes in 2015, as the Hawkeyes seek to go 7-0 again. The Hawkeyes are an under the radar team nationally in 2015. They weren't thirty years ago in Evanston, as they arrived ranked #1 in Evanston ranked in 1985.

Iowa Kirk Ferentz after winning his 70th all-time Big Ten game against
the Fighting Illini. The Hawkeyes have a lot on the line heading into next week.

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