Thoughts on College Football's Opening Weekend

IOWA CITY -- What they did and said in the first weekend of collegiate football ...

  • After running for 167 yards and one touchdown in 22 carries in Iowa's 21-3 victory over Miami of Ohio, Hawkeye tailback Fred Russell said, "At times, I was frustrated because of the scheme Miami had. Another thing was that I wasn't used to having contact for eight months. It took me until the second quarter to start having fun. Once I start smiling is when I'm having fun." Keep smiling, Fred.

  • They call it deee-fense. Iowa held Miami without a touchdown for the first time in 93 games. The last time the RedHawks were kept out of the end zone was in a 21-0 loss at Ball State on Nov. 6, 1993.

  • Would anyone agree with me that Miami quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 27 of 42 passes for 250 yards and became the school's career passing yardage leader despite being intercepted four times and sacked four times, is overrated? Heisman Trophy? Forget it.

  • Sorry, I just can't accept it that Iowa drew only 54,128 for its season opener. That's more than 16,000 empty seats at Kinnick Stadium for a team that tied Ohio State for the Big Ten title and finished with a school-record 11 victories overall in 2002. It's totally embarrassing to a guy who recalls when Hawkeye games were always sold out—and not that long ago, either. Don't blame it on TV, don't blame it on the fact this state has too many old people. Inflated ticket prices? Now, you might have something.

  • "We fully expected to win this football game, and we were surprised we didn't win the football game," said Miami coach Terry Hoeppner. Something tells me he was trying to get his team ready for the next game at Northwestern.

  • Roethlisberger was held without a touchdown pass for only the third time in 25 career games.

  • Iowa's next game is against Buffalo at 11:10 a.m. Saturday in Kinnick Stadium. I'll bet you can't wait.

  • Jerry Burns, 76, who served as Iowa's honorary captain for the Miami game, looked good. Burns had the misfortune of being the first guy to coach the Hawkeyes following the Forest Evashevski era. Burns was in charge of the Iowa program from 1961-65, and his only winning season was 5-4 in 1961. He began the horrible 19-year streak of non-winning football at the school. I covered a couple of his games in his 1-9 final year—including a 28-20 loss to North Carolina State in the season wrapup. That, folks, was a very ugly time in Iowa football history. Thank goodness Burns had much better success in the NFL after he left Iowa.

  • If the Buffalo coach says he fully expects to beat Iowa, I'm going to suggest a urine test.

  • Is Maurice Clarett suing anyone yet?

  • Well, at least Frank Solich kept his job for another week.

  • But I'm not so sure about that guy at Maryland.

  • Oh, OK, so I picked Iowa State to slip past Northern Iowa, 49-3. Hey, the Cyclones won, didn't they? But, yes, Dan McCarney knows there's lots of work to do.

  • I see more than 48,000 people were able to pull themselves away from their TV sets to drive to Ames for the Iowa State-UNI game. There's no excuse if that doesn't continue to sell out the rest of the season at Jack Trice Stadium. With the home schedule the Cyclones have, people should be storming the gates to get in.

  • I see Northwestern beat Kansas. Man, I'll bet that was a thriller.

    Ron Maly
    Vol. 3, No. 42
    Aug. 31, 2003

    [Ron Maly answers his e-mail at malyr@juno.com ]


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