Today's game could not have gone much better for the Hawkeyes. A 30-point victory, plenty of time for the starters to iron out some things, but still some good action for the second-teamers, no injuries, few very penalties, and an overall pretty clean game. Sure, there was a collective moment of panic when Ricky Stanzi came up limping after a short run on a roll out in which nobody was open. But he bounced back and re-entered the game the next series. And yeah, there was that fake punt that caught Iowa off guard. But really, it was exactly the type of game that Iowa wants for week one.
Adam Robinson: Robinson had a heck of a game. He carried a heavy
load taking all the carries with the first-team offense. Robinson finished the game with 24 carries for 109 yards and 3 TDs. He also had 3 catches for 43 yards. What impressed me most was his ability to get yards after contact. He was breaking tackles left and right and threw in a couple of nice spin moves today. He also did well picking up blitzing Panthers a few times. And what is even more exciting is that next week Jewel Hampton is back. These two are going to be an excellent 1-2 punch.
Paki O'Meara: Paki was a standout on special teams and did a nice job when he got in to relieve Robinson in the 4th quarter at running back. Paki had one of the biggest plays of in the game when he blocked a punt, picked it up, and took it in for a touchdown. He also averaged 8.5 yards on 4 carries on the final drive of the game.
Tyler Nielsen: The defense as a whole played pretty well, but Nielsen stood out to me by making a couple of good plays. He had a team high 6 tackles including 1.5 TFLs. Also, from what I can remember, he was pretty good in pass coverage.
Special teams have a big impact
Kickoffs: Problem solved. True freshman and walk-on kicker Mike Meyer proved today to be the answer on kick offs. He averaged 65.5 yards on his 6 kickoffs and 4 made it into the endzone. If EIU's returners weren't so cavalier about taking the ball out of the endzone, Meyer would have had more than his 1 touchback. EIU's average starting position following a kickoff was the 19.5 yard line. That is very, very good.
Punts: One perfect 43-yard punt, caught mid-flight by Micah Hyde on the 5 yard line. Ryan Donahue is such an important part of this team.
That fake punt: Iowa got caught completely off guard and gave up a huge gain on a fake punt. That 36 yard play accounted for over half of EIU's rushing yards and led to the team's only points. Iowa is going to need to be more aware going forward.
Stanzi plays it safe
Stanzi had a really efficient day. He had that scary knee injury that turned out to be very minor, and he had a fumbled snap (not sure who's fault that was). Other than those couple of hiccups, he played very well. He was 18-23, 229 yards, 1 TD and no interceptions. For the most part he kept things simple. He only went deep once and over threw McNutt. I couldn't tell if was just an overthrow or if the wind caught it (it was windy inside Kinnick today). Otherwise, Stanzi spent most of the day checking down to his tight ends, running backs, and full backs. Reisner and Herman combined for 7 catches for 96 yards. Brett Morse has the only receiving touchdown for the Hawkeyes. DJK and McNutt were both pretty quiet. I think this was all by design. Iowa was just keeping it simple and throwing non-risky passes. No need to force it when the linebackers could not keep up with the tight ends.
The defensive line was fine
Adrian Clayborn didn't really put up big numbers today. I thought EIU schemed pretty well to take him out of the game. He did have 4 tackles and 0.5 TFLs, though, and drew at least one holding penalty and a chop block I think. He also opened things up for Karl Klug, who had 6 tackles. Other than that, Ballard had a nice knock down, and both Daniel and Daniels had a sack. The unit wasn't overly dominating, but played well for the most part.
This was a good warm up game. Sure, I'd like to see the offense come out firing and put up 50 points. I'd like the defense to blank a team and give us less than 100 yards. Really though, this game went according to plan and now it's on to Iowa State.