I wasn’t real excited when Iowa found out it would go to the Insight Bowl and play Oklahoma.
The Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls and even though they lost their top receiver and running back, I knew they would be a tough match for the Hawkeyes.
Vegas thought the same thing and favored Oklahoma by 14.
The Hawks were underdogs last year by 12 when they played Missouri but Marcus Coker was eligible to play.
When I found out he was suspended for the game…
I’m also not a big fan of football games starting at 9 p.m.!
I thought Iowa’s running back by committee did a decent job, but when it came to short yardage plays, Marcus would have helped.
Would he have made a difference?
I don’t know, but the in the first half, the Hawkeye offense could have used any help it could get. And Marcus is a good blocker and could have helped picking up blitzes as James Vandenberg was sacked three times.
At halftime Iowa had 11 first downs to Oklahoma’s six. Iowa ran 43 plays for 134 yards while Oklahoma ran 27 plays for 89 yards and the Hawks had the ball for 18:33, the Sooners 11:27.
The score was 14-0 in favor of Oklahoma.
It didn’t help that James Vandenberg threw an interception on Iowa’s second drive that was returned to the Hawks’ 10-yard-line. James was flagged for a late hit on the tackle and the Sooners had a first and goal and the Iowa 5. They scored two plays later.
The final score, 31-14, was a little misleading as the Sooners scored a 21-yard touchdown run with a little over a minute left.
The Iowa defense gave Norm Parker a decent sendoff, holding the high-powered Oklahoma offense to 275 total yards.
That included 114 yards rushing and 3.1 average yards per rush.
The Sooners had only 16 first downs and were 4-12 on third down conversions.
Mike Daniels led the way with three tackles for a loss and Broderick Binns caught a tipped pass for his first interception.
Tyler Nielsen and Christian Kirksey had 15 tackles between them.
James Vandenberg started slow, going 9-20 in the first half, including one interception.
He seemed to get in a groove in the second half, finishing 23-44 for 216 yards and two touchdown passes.
James, in his first season as a starter, had 25 touchdown passes and seven picks. He completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 3,022 yards. The 3,022 yards is the fourth best in school history. The only two quarterbacks that threw more were named Chuck as in Chuck Hartlieb and Chuck Long.
Rick Stanzi, in his third year as a starter, threw 25 touchdown passes, six interceptions and completed 64 percent of his passes.
For the season, Rick threw for 3,004 yards.
Jordan Canzeri, making his first start as a true freshman, ran for 58 yards and caught six passes for 28 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma did a good job of holding record-setting receiver Marvin McNutt to four catches for 46 yards.
Keenan Davis had five receptions for 76 yards but he and the other receivers had too many drops
You have to give credit to the Sooner defensive backs, who were making great hits when Iowa came close to catching the ball.
Iowa went into the game with 31 dropped passes…
C.J. Fiedorowicz continued to make big catches, with a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter; Iowa’s first points of the game. C.J. had a career-high four catches.
Marcus Zusevics was sick before the game and was replaced at right tackle by Brett Van Sloten. Before the season, offensive line coach Reece Morgan said Brett had to have a good season for Iowa to do well.
Eric Guthrie had a good day with six punts for a 44.3 average.
Mike Meyers was 2-2 on extra points and the Hawks didn’t attempt a field goal.
Mike has struggled all year on kickoffs. Last season he had 15 touchbacks… this year only four. Marshall Koehn, a freshman kicker from Solon, will get a shot next year for kickoffs.
The kickoff coverage gave up some big plays once again. Oklahoma averaged over 36 yards on three returns.
Iowa finished the season with a 7-6 record. Not great, but big wins over Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Michigan and Purdue. All of those teams went to bowls.
The Hawkeye women
opened Big Ten play at Carver Hawkeye Arena Friday and took out Northwestern big time, 85-55.
The Hawks had four players in double figures led by Jaime Printy with 20 and eight assists.
Melissa Dixon came off the bench with 10 and Iowa out-rebounded the taller Wildcats, 45-35.
Another key stat was Iowa with 24 assists and only 11 turnovers.
The Iowa wrestlers
took care of business, winning their 22nd Midlands title with 152 points. Northwestern finished second with 105.5.
The Hawks had five in the finals, but Matt McDonough (125) won the only championship by a pin.
Tony Ramos (133) lost 6-4 in overtime to finish second.
Montell Marion (141) and Ethen Lofthouse (174) also lost decisions to finish second.
Redshirt freshman Bobby Telford (Hwt.) lost a tough 3-2 decision in overtime and placed second.
How about the men’s basketball team stealing a 72-65 victory at 11th-ranked Wisconsin Saturday?
That’s the first win for Iowa at the Badgers since 2000.
Bryce Cartwright is back. The 6-1 senior has been struggling with injuries but his 17 points off the bench were huge in Iowa’s ninth win of the season.
Bryce played 31 minutes, led the team with five assists and only had one turnover.
Aaron White also came off the bench, leading the Hawks with 18 points.
How about this line… 5-7 from the floor, 2-2 from 3-point range, 4-4 from the free throw line, four rebounds, one assist, one block and only one turnover… he only played 20 minutes.
Melsahn Basabe played well down low with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Mel did commit a stupid technical late in the game which gave the Badgers four straight free throws and a basket but the Hawks wouldn’t fold.
Devyn Marble made some clutch shots down the stretch and Matt Gatens had a team-high 12 rebounds.
It’s only one win, but it has to give Iowa confidence that they can play with anyone.
2011 ends with a bang… 2012 should be a fun ride.