For only the second time in the history of both schools, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Ball State Cardinals faced off for an early afternoon game at the drenched Kinnick Stadium. After Iowa's heartbreaking loss to Arizona last week in the desert, this game was the final chance for the Hawkeyes to get their last kinks worked out before starting Big Ten play next week against Penn State.
Coming in to Saturday, there were many question marks for Iowa that needed to be addressed. A deep set of runningbacks in the backfield had very quickly been reduced to one- sophomore Adam Robinson. The skeptics were quick to question how Robinson would hold up being the lead man on the ground and whether he would hold up the entire season or if Iowa would need to burn a redshirt and get true freshmen Marcus Coker some much needed snaps before focusing on a Big Ten title run.
The Hawkeyes special teams squad left much uncertainty as well, having allowed a kick return for a touchdown and a blocked punt against Arizona. This only adds to the fact that Big Ten have allowed at least one touchdown against their opponents in all three weeks of the young 2010 season.
Iowa started off slow on Saturday after looking promising on their opening drive as quarterback Ricky Stanzi was quick to find his favorite targets of tight end Allen Reisner and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. An offsides penalty on fourth-down forced the Hawkeyes to punt.
After holding Ball State to a three-and-out on the preceding posession, the Hawkeyes took over the ball four minutes into the fourth quarter and moved the ball down the field with ease, relying mostly on runningback Adam Robinson on the ground and tight end Allen Reisner through the air. Halfway through the first quarter, Adam Robinson found the endzone carrying the ball on 1st-and-goal, scoring the first points of the day for Iowa.
Sophomore cornerback, Micah Hyde redeemed himself from mistakes early in the season, intercepting Ball State quarterback Kelly Page shortly after, which led to an Iowa punt.
Ball state struggled through the first half on both sides of the ball, allowing Iowa to score another two times before half time. With five minutes left in the second quarter, Ricky Stanzi found wide receiver Keenan Davis in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Hawkeyes scored again less than three minutes later when Stanzi found his favorite target in Derrell Johnson-Koulianos in the endzone for another touchdown, making the score 21-0 at halftime.
The struggles on both sides of the ball continued in the third quarter for Ball State, as they were unable to sustain a drive or stop the seemingly wide-open offense of the Hawkeyes.
Less than five minutes into the third quarter, Iowa runningback Adam Robinson scored another touchdown on the ground, widening their lead to 28-0. At that point, Robinson had already carried the ball 22 times and accumulated 190 total yards.
Iowa's defense came on strong as tackle Mike Daniels and Christian Ballard made big plays for arguably the top defensive squad in the country; they sacked Ball State quarterback Kelly Page and stopped Ball State's rushing attack from gaining positive yards or putting together a drive of any sort.
As Iowa's offense continued to roll, quarterback Ricky Stanzi passed to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for another touchdown late in the third quarter- continuing to add to an already substantial lead.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz pulled quarterback Ricky Stanzi to start the fourth quarter, allowing backup James Vandenberg to get some much needed snaps and knock off the rust. Vandenberg had a flash of brilliance shortly after when he threw for a touchdown to receiver Colin Sandemann.
The Hawkeyes also burned two red-shirts in the fourth quarter when true-freshmen runningbacks Marcus Coker and Brad Rogers were called to play and were able to move the ball down the field well, putting Iowa's runningback worries to rest.
The Hawkeyes scored for the final time in the game when freshmen kicker Michael Meyer kicked a field goal with just less than six minutes left- making the final score 45-0
Iowa dominated on both sides of the ball, holding the Ball State cardinals to 112 total yards and only eight first-downs on the day. On offense, the Hawkeyes accumulated a total of 562 yards and scoring with ease.
With many uncertainties, the Hawkeyes proved to critics that they are for real and that last week's loss to Arizona was just a bump in the road against a tough team.
With the National Championship hype and pressure of their shoulders, the Hawkeyes were able to address their major concerns before opening up Big Ten play against Penn State next week and focusing on a Big Ten title run and a possible Rose Bowl berth.
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