Shonn Greene, a 5'11", 215 pound junior from Sicklerville, NJ, is one of biggest reasons why the Hawkeyes are going to the Outback Bowl this season. Nobody predicted how good he was going to be for the Iowa offense that has been having troubles the last two seasons.
In the beginning of his career with Iowa, Greene was in the shadow of Albert Young for the first two seasons at Iowa. He only gained a combined 378 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons. Then he fell into problems with his grades and lost his scholarship after his sophomore season and forcing him to enroll at Kirkwood Community College for a single year.
Then at the beginning of this season, he became eligible to play for the Hawkeyes. This put a big question mark on him due to not playing football for over a year. He ended up winning the starting job by the time Iowa played their first game against Maine.
By the end of the season he rushed for 1,729 yards and holds the single season rushing record at Iowa as well as leading the Big Ten in rushing yards. He is the only running back in the country to rush for 100+ yards in every game of the season. Greene ranks second in the nation with an average of a little more than 144 yards per game.
Greene also has rushed for 17 touchdowns this season while tying the single season record for most touchdowns in a single season with Tavian Banks. He has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season except for the Michigan State game.
His best game performance came against Wisconsin as he scored four times while rushing for 217 yards. This is the sixth-best, single-game rushing performance in Iowa history. The only other time Greene rushed for more than 200 yards was against Purdue were he had 211 yards.
Shonn Greene has one more team to face this year. That is the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback bowl on Jan. 1. He is going up against the 12th-best defense in the nation and the 36th-best rushing defense in the nation. Greene has faced tougher defenses during the regular season so this one shouldn’t stop him from going over 100+ yards rushing in the game.
The Gamecocks are not going to just focus on Greene knowing Iowa’s wide receivers corps and quarterback Ricky Stanzi can be as dangerous as Greene can be. I will bet South Carolina will be trying to due the same type of defense that Minnesota did against Iowa during Iowa’s last game of the season. My best guess is that Greene will get between 125 to 175 yards rushing with one or two touchdowns against South Carolina.
Iowa chances of winning the Outback game is if Greene can put up decent numbers and if Iowa’s “Bend but don’t break” defense can contain Steve Spurrier’s passing offense. Final score is Iowa 34-13.
Greene has won several awards this year. He became Iowa’s first consensus All-American running back since Nile Kinnick in 1939 and won Iowa’s first Doak Walker Award for being the best running back in the country.
Other awards Greene has won are Walter Camp All-American First Team, Big Ten Offensive Player of the year (coaches and Media), Sporting News’ 2008 Big Ten Offensive MVP, First Team All-Big Ten selection (coaches and Media), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) First Team All-American, and Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football Big Ten Conference’s MVP.