The first play on offense for Iowa in 2003 resulted in Nathan Chandler being sacked. Iowa was only sacked 12 times during the entire 2002 campaign, but just one sack in the game for a line that saw four of five players make their first career start is not too shabby.
Robert Gallery is the only Iowa offensive lineman that had ever started a game for Iowa prior to Saturday's contest against Miami. On the whole, the Iowa offense saw eight players make their first ever start at the D1 level.
Now, here is a question for you: who's man got the sack? None other than the Mountain, Robert Gallery. But he was fantastic on the day, and Fred Russell literally ran right up his back on his touchdown run.
Speaking of Russell, he ripped off a career best 66-yard run in the third quarter. Prior to the snap, Chandler came to the line, saw something and changed the play at the line of scrimmage with an audible. Good work by Nathan and Iowa fans need to be patient with his development here in the pre-Big Ten portion of the schedule.
Oh by the way, in his Iowa debut last year against weak sister Akron, Brad Banks was 5 of 8 for 125 yards and two TD passes. Chandler was 12 of 19 for 130 yards and two TD passes.
The team that Banks faced in his debut was nowhere near the team that Chandler faced in his first game as a starter, not even close. Remember, Iowa hung a school-record 37 points on Akron in the first quarter and it was 51-0 at the break.
Look for Iowa to work on the passing game some next week and stretch the field a bit more as the woeful Buffalo Bulls come to town. Look for them to blitz Chandler early and often, as well, something Nathan should be ready to see each week until he proves he can punish teams for doing that.
DON'T TREAD ON ME
Iowa allowed just 54 net yards rushing on Saturday. In last season's opener against Akron, the Hawkeyes allowed 67 yards.
This follows the recent stingy trend that Iowa has put up against the run.
Iowa allowed just two teams to top the 100-yard mark in a game last season (Indiana and USC). Iowa has yielded more than 100 yards on the ground just eight times in their last 26 games.
Chad Greenway was bringing the wood on Saturday, as were several of his Iowa teammates. Greenway blew up a Miami running back that was coming underneath in the first half and broke up a pass play. Then on Jovon Johnson's INT late in the first half that set up Iowa's second TD of the game, he laid out the intended Miami receiver who was pursuing Johnson after Jovon had picked off the pass. It was quite a hit. If you taped the game, be sure to watch that one in slow motion, as Greenway went head hunting the second the pass was picked off.
Also, Johnson needs to have a few words with Abdul Hodge, as he would have scored a touchdown on that INT were it not for Hodge slamming into him at the five yard line.
BY THE NUMBERS
Iowa lost the time of possession battle to Miami (26:26 to 33:34) and Miami had 71 plays to Iowa's 59, but the Hawkeyes still held the Redhawks to just three points. That is ‘bend don't break' defense and then some. Last year in Oxford, with both teams in their second game of the season, Iowa had the ball for 33:25 to Miami's 26:35, nearly a perfect inversion. Iowa ran 67 offensive plays to Miami's 68. The Hawkeyes gave up 22 points last year.
With the win, Iowa is a perfect 3-0 against Miami and is 12-1 all time versus teams from the MAC. Memo to Bob Bowlsby: Do not schedule Miami anytime soon and do not agree to go back to Oxford. There is just too much to lose as this is a solid program. They are certainly a program that is at worst on par with Northwestern as of right now, and well ahead of Indiana. If Miami were in the Big Ten this year, they would finish ahead of both of those programs and probably Michigan State. We look for Miami to win at least eight games this season.
Iowa scored on its first possession in 10 of 13 games in 2002, but went three and out on their first possession against Miami. Iowa opponents scored on their first drives just twice last season (Michigan State and USC), and Miami netted three points on its first drive of the game on Saturday….Iowa has started on offense in 42 of its last 43 games.
Fred Russell is now 16th in Iowa's career rushing records with 253 carries for 1,572 yards. Against Miami, Russell rushed 22 times for 167 yards, his ninth career game of 100 yards or more. Russell rushed for 100 yards or more in eight games in 2002. His 58-yard run in the fourth quarter in the second half was the second longest of his career.
Miami did not score a touchdown in the game and it marked the first time in 93 games that the Redhawks didn't find the end zone. The last time that happened was a 21-0 loss to Ball State on Nov. 6, 1993.
For the fourth straight season, had a senior start the opening game at quarterback. This includes Nathan Chandler in 2003, Brad Banks in 2002, Kyle McCann in 2001 and Scott Mullen in 2000.
Chandler does not have to be Brad Banks for this Iowa team to make it back to a third straight bowl game and upper division finish in the Big Ten.
Take a look at these stats and guess which Big Ten team from 2002 I am speaking of:
Scoring Offense: 9th
Pass Offense: 10th
Rushing Offense: 6th
Total Offense: 11th
First Downs: 11th
3rd Down Conversions: 10th
Sacks Against: 9th
No, Nathan Chandler does not have to be Brad Banks to be successful. He just needs to be like Craig Krenzel of the defending National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes, as those statistics belong to OSU's offense in Big Ten play from one year ago.
Limiting turnovers is always a key. Iowa was one of the best teams in the nation last year with regards to turnover margin (+15). The Hawkeyes were +3 on Saturday, and Chandler did not throw any INT's.
Keep doing that, and the defense and special teams will find a way to win, which is exactly what Ohio State did last season.
Former Michigan cach Bo Schembechler, and several other coaches for that matter, have always said that a team makes the biggest improvements from week one to week two. Iowa likely won't have to improve too much to wipe out Buffalo, but this next game is the perfect tune up opportunity before traveling to Ames in two weeks.