12:00 PM ET, September 3, 2005
Kinnick Stadium, IOWA CITY, IA
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Everything went Iowa's way Saturday.
Quarterback Drew Tate was sharp, the running game clicked and the young defensive front held its own as No. 11 Iowa rolled past a depleted Ball State 56-0 to extend the Hawkeyes' home winning streak to 19 games, the third-longest in the nation.
"Based on the way things went today, I don't have an awful lot to complain about," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Offensively, we haven't looked that sharp since we got started here in August. I think they were really focused on what they were doing and played a pretty clean game."
In limited action, Tate was 9-for-10 for 99 yards and two touchdowns. His first, a 7-yard toss to Clinton Solomon, gave Iowa (1-0) a 28-0 first-quarter lead.
On Iowa's next possession Tate connected on a 33-yard TD to Herb Grigsby, who was wide open after a Ball State defender slipped just before the catch, putting Iowa up 35-0 with more than 12 minutes left in the first half.
Four Iowa running backs scored touchdowns, and the Hawkeyes rushed for 241 yards overall, a major improvement for a team that fielded one of the nation's worst rushing attacks a year ago.
Junior Albert Young, who missed most of his first two seasons with knee injuries, gained 61 yards on five carries, including a nifty 32-yard burst to set up Iowa's second score.
Freshman Shonn Greene led the team with 116 yards rushing on 18 carries and Sam Brownlee added two touchdowns.
"We got the running game started, and we haven't had that in a while," said Young, who scored on a 2-yard dive in the first quarter. "I think it's going to be great because we have a nice rotation going out there."
The Cardinals (0-1) were overwhelmed in every facet of the game, a fact made worse by 13 player suspensions handed down by the university Friday. Seven of the players disciplined were expected to start, including the team's top rusher, Charles Wynn, its best offensive lineman, three defensive linemen and two from the secondary.
The punishments stem from an ongoing investigation into NCAA rule violations alleging the players misused a book loan program to obtain textbooks they didn't need or received improperly obtained books from other players.
But coach Brady Hoke refused to blame the sanctions for his team's performance on the field.
"We didn't change anything," said Hoke, adding he is uncertain when the players will be reinstated. "I'm not going to talk about it. It's not my job. It's about this game today."
Iowa's defense, anchored by four underclassmen on the front line, held the Cardinals to 22 yards total offense in the first half and helped Iowa notch its first opening game shutout since 2001.
The Cardinals' best scoring chance came late in the first quarter when Martin Dunbar recovered a Tate fumble at the Iowa 36. But Iowa's defense stymied the Cardinals, then did its part to pad the lead.
Ball State set up as if to go for it on fourth down, but quarterback Joey Lynch stepped back and delivered a quick kick that was scooped up by Hawkeye cornerback Jovan Johnson at the Iowa 10.
Johnson slipped a pair of defenders, crossed the field behind a wave of blockers and raced down the opposite sideline untouched for the score, his first career touchdown and the fourth-longest punt return in school history.
"My first instinct was to cut back," said Johnson. "I saw [safety] Marcus Paschal direct traffic, and after I got past the first guy, I knew I had a wall set up and had the end zone."
After that, Ball State never got any closer to the end zone. The Cardinals, starting four freshmen on the offensive line, were held to seven first downs and 144 yards total offense.
Lynch, replaced by backup Warren Suess midway through the third quarter, was 6-of-10 passing for 37 yards and was sacked three times. Suess was 5-for-12 for 56 yards against Iowa's third-string defense.
The game was played before the biggest crowd ever to attend a game in Kinnick Stadium. With the new renovations to the 76-year-old stadium, including a new grandstand in the south end zone, Iowa set a new attendance record of 70,585.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Marcus Schnoor scored the first of Iowa's eight TDs. The Hawkeyes scored 49 of their 56 points in first half, allowing the starters to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines.
Gameball goes to... Iowa's running game gained 233 yards. Four Iowa runners scored touchdowns. Freshman Shonn Greene led the team with 116 yards rushing.
Stat of the game... 144:: The number of total yards Ball State managed off Iowa's defense.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-17||6-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-2|
|TD||10:59||MARCUS SCHNOOR 1 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||7:09||ALBERT YOUNG 2 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||2:30||JOVON JOHNSON 90 YD PUNT RETURN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)||0||21|
|TD||0:42||CLINTON SOLOMON 7 YD PASS FROM DREW TATE (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 20 yards.
|TD||12:33||HERB GRIGSBY 33 YD PASS FROM DREW TATE (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||8:10||SAM BROWNLEE 11 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||1:46||SAM BROWNLEE 1 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||14:19||SHONN GREENE 6 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.