Iowa (2-0) at Arizona (2-0)

Who Will Win?

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IOWA
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By BRETT HUSTON, STATS Senior Writer Sep 14, 3:37 pm EDT Kickoff: 10:30 pm EDT Sat Sep 18, 2010

Iowa has found the perfect offensive balance in its first two wins, while Arizona’s Nick Foles has helped his resurgent program excel through the air.

Moving the ball might get a lot more difficult this week.

Each team’s defense has thrived in the early going, a pattern they’ll hope to continue when the ninth-ranked Hawkeyes visit No. 24 Arizona on Saturday night in the week’s lone game between Top 25 opponents.

Iowa (2-0) rode the nation’s 11th-ranked defense to an 11-win season in 2009 that it capped with an Orange Bowl victory, swarming Georgia Tech’s previously unstoppable triple option.

Eight defensive starters, including Orange Bowl MVP Adrian Clayborn, returned, and the Hawkeyes have held their first two opponents to 216.0 yards per game and 14 total points.

But it’s been Iowa’s offense that’s surprised. Ninety-second in the nation a year ago with 330.8 ypg, the Hawkeyes have averaged 457.0 yards in two blowout victories.

“The offensive dream is to score every possession, regardless of how it happens,” said quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who’s thrown three TDs without an interception. “We just want to execute every play that is called.”

Iowa gained 275 yards on the ground - 156 from Adam Robinson - in last Saturday’s 35-7 win over rival Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have averaged 227.0 rushing yards and 230.0 passing through two weeks.

“They’re a tremendous team in virtually every facet you look at,” Arizona coach Mike Stoops said of Iowa, where he was an All-American safety in 1984. “They have so many (strengths), but their offensive and defensive lines are a great place to start, and that gives you a chance to do a lot of different things on both sides of the ball.”

Arizona (2-0) has the offense to challenge Clayborn and the Hawkeyes, though. The Wildcats have averaged 503.5 total yards and are 10th in the nation in passing (344.0 ypg), with Foles completing 83.1 percent of his attempts.

Foles, who permanently took over the starting job from Matt Scott midway through last season’s 27-17 loss in Iowa City, was already looking ahead after last Saturday’s 52-6 rout of The Citadel.

“I’ve definitely started thinking about that right now,” said Foles, who was 6 for 11 for 55 yards and a TD against the Hawkeyes in 2009. “We’ve got to start thinking about it right now. It’s a big showdown in Tucson.”

While Iowa’s defense gets more attention, Arizona’s was 21st in the nation during the 2009 season (315.8 ypg) before being gashed by Nebraska in a 33-0 Holiday Bowl loss.

The Wildcats seem to have taken that performance personally. They haven’t allowed a touchdown through two weeks, the first time they’ve kept teams out of the end zone in back-to-back games since 2000.

“I’m really pleased with that,” Stoops said. “Obviously we’re going to be playing a lot different teams in the next couple of weeks, so our stress level is going to get a lot higher. But we’re just proud of the way our kids have played and handled it up to this point.”

Any chance the Wildcats have of beating their first top 10 opponent since a 34-24 win over then-No. 2 Oregon in 2007 likely rest on their ability to stop the run. Arizona is 15-1 since 2008 when holding opponents under 120 rushing yards, and 3-9 otherwise.

Robinson had 18 carries for 101 yards and two scores against the Wildcats last season, but this time there’s a second threat lurking in the Hawkeyes’ backfield. Sophomore Jewel Hampton, who missed all of 2009 with a torn ACL and the opener after being suspended for public intoxication, had 20 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown against Iowa State.

Arizona tailback Nic Grigsby has five touchdowns through two weeks, but holes against Iowa’s stout defensive front should be easier to come by if Juron Criner can play. The junior receiver, who tied for the Pac-10 lead with nine TD receptions last season, left the victory over The Citadel with a shoulder stinger but is expected to start Saturday.

The Wildcats won the series’ last meeting in Tucson, 35-11, in 1998.

Updated Sep 14, 3:37 pm EDT
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172 Comments

  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    ELM 4 hours ago Report Abuse
    As a Penn State fan I was actually rooting for Iowa, even though they broke my heart twice in the last 2 years. I was shocked that they lost to Arizona, even though the Wildcats looked very good....
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    mark 5 hours ago Report Abuse
    I was shocked by Iowas performance on its final possession. Just the opposite of what Hawkeye faithful are accustomed to. Most of Iowas victory's come from final drives and plays. The offensive line is not as big as in the past and will probably be outweighed by the rest. 4 sacks in a row is inexcusable. Iowa may have the best defensive line in the nation, but the backfield was exposed and burned badly. The media hype on the time zones and the weather were understandably ignored by the players and coaches. No factor what so ever. In the end it boiled down to Arizona wanting the game more than Iowa. The Hawkeyes had nothing to prove to any body, Arizona wanted the next level badly and made that big step.I also predict a 3rd place finish for the Wildcats. Only this year, they will perform much better in their Bowl game. One more note, Bobby Stoops is an embarrassment to the program, reminded me of the dim witted Bobby Knight Basketball drill Sargent( certainly not a real Coach). He really needs to tone it down and try to be a more class act. The big question remains for the season. Will Arizona continue to victory with a weak running game? Or will opponents grind over them? Something Iowa didn't do with a respectable ground attack .
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    STEVEN 10 hours ago Report Abuse
    Thanks, Abcforme! Good post.
  • 3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 3 users disliked this comment
    steve 21 hours ago Report Abuse
    there was alot of trash talking on here before the game, mostly by iowa fans, how they were going
    to dominate u of a, not a big deal, we don't get a lot of respect, foles has'ent got much either, hopefuly
    that will change, east coast bias dominates the media world, i'am not going to trash talk on here because
    it's only one game we have a long way to go, iowa has a great program ,u of a is trying to duplicate,
    hopefuly u of a wont let this get to there head, there is cal next week and it gets harder from there, stay
    strong cats and keep your heads up.
    a cat fan
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    Roderick Richardson 21 hours ago Report Abuse
    Here is what needs to happen now: Arizona fans cheer for Iowa any chance you get, Iowa winning the Big Ten looks good for Arizona.

    Iowa couldn't play their game offensively, had they got their running game going it would have been a different story.
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    Ryan 21 hours ago Report Abuse
    congrats to the cats for finally winning on the big stage. They will finish 3rd in the PAC 10 this year. Mike Stoops is an embarrassment and an idiot on the sidelines. Too bad he is a former Hawkeye
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    Pig 21 hours ago Report Abuse
    I switched to this game after getting tired of watching UW getting ripped by Nebraska. I must say that Arizona really showed a lot of heart even after blowing a big lead - many teams would have just packed it in after a disaster like that. I think Arizona could actually end up in a pretty good bowl this season.

    Iowa has nothing to be ashamed of either. After being down big, they fought back and made the adjustments they needed to eventually tie the game. Unfortunately for them, the Hawks came up short. Out of the mid-western teams, Iowa and Nebraska have the most gracious and classy fans - good luck to both teams in their season.

    Go PAC-10!
  • 3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    Hector 22 hours ago Report Abuse
    It's been awhile, but the RANKED CATS are back and here to stay! Word of advice for Iowa and Big 10 schools, if you want an easy win over an Arizona team, better make sure your trip is to Tempe Normal. GO CATS, GO PAC-10, & BEAR DOWN FOLKS!
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    Alan S 22 hours ago Report Abuse
    Big Arizona fan here. Really excited about the Cats win. But I have to mention the loyalty of the Iowa fans. There were an estimated 8,000 Iowa fans at the game last night. That's pretty cool that so many fans made the 1,500 mile trip all the way out to Tucson to see this game. Hopefully the Cats can garner that kind of support in the upcoming seasons. Kudos to you, Iowans. Keep supporting your team and thanks for coming down and playing a good game.
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    abcforme 23 hours ago Report Abuse
    Steven,

    Don't get to fired up over my fellow Wildcat fans and their stupid behavior. The over rated chant is ridiculous, but when you have not won games in so long, the students at Arizona get a bit overzealous. As for the person demeaning Iowa, that is really stupid. We want Iowa to win out and be a great team because it makes Arizona's victory look that much better.

    I am just disappointed that Arizona let Iowa back in the game. It was a great "statement" victory for the program, but what could have been a dominating blow out of a top team turned into a thrilling finish because of stupid (and questionable) penalties and a muffed punt. Arizona was the much better team last night and they are finally learning how to win.

    Good luck the rest of the year.
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    STEVEN Sun Sep 19, 2010 02:22 pm PDT Report Abuse
    I laughed when I read what Jonathan C wrote above. He said Iowa is a pushover. Prior to the Arizona game, Iowa had won 17 of its previous 19 games. So that's a pushover? Please.... Arizona played well and deserved to win last night, no question. But I thought it was tacky that the Arizona fans were chanting "Overrated, Overrated" at the end of the game. Just a few short months ago, Arizona lost their bowl game to Nebraska 33-0. Arizona did not score a single point in their bowl game, and the whole bowl season last year was a catastrophe for the Pac Ten. By contrast, Iowa won their bowl game (the Orange Bowl, a BCS bowl game) by ten points, 24-14 over Georgia Tech. I rest my case.
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    abcforme Sun Sep 19, 2010 02:00 pm PDT Report Abuse
    Iowa fans, that was very impressive the way your team hung in there and capitalized when Arizona tried to hand your team the game. Unfortunately for you though, the better team won last night and the better team deserved to win last night. Good luck the rest of the year.
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    J B Sun Sep 19, 2010 01:18 pm PDT Report Abuse
    I am basically a Big 10 guy but it is hard too root against the Arizonas of this world. So, I watched it from the outside looking in...
    ...sort of speak.
    Turned out to be a good game.
    And at the end, I was rooting for a Cinderella Story, only not to be...
    But give the Iowa credit for traveling out West in September.
    Teams like that are build to play in December.
    So, again just as an observer but same teams in the snow I would take the Buckeye's -9 to anyone who is listening.
    Oh, and I have worn a Jock Strap!
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    David R Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:53 pm PDT Report Abuse
    As a U of A alum, I must admit that Mike Stoops' behavior during our ball games (especially big ones on TV!) is an embarrassment. Why can't he show some class and calm his act down? Let the players "do the talking" through their play on the field. I thought this was going to be a good season for the U of A, but just about everyone in the PAC 10 looks tough this year. Going to be some great games and a few unexpected blow-outs!
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Enrique Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:42 pm PDT Report Abuse
    I'm an AZ fan living in St. Louis. I made the trip to Iowa last year were Foles made his début. I remember joking with some U of I fans about meeting again in Pasadena, which almost happened. Once again I think it would be a great rematch, with a little more expectation. As for the game, it looked like 3 big, “LUCKY,” plays for the U of A in the first half and 2 for U of I in the 2nd half. Other than that it was a closely fought contest. U of A’s defense did shine in those final minutes.
  • 1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    jspangs Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:52 am PDT Report Abuse
    I love when people talk shi* but don't know what they are talking about, Andrew. Ohio State schedules a home, away game with a big school every two years. They played Miami at home this year and at Miami next year. The same as they did with USC (0-2), Washington (2-0), Texas (1-1), NC state (2-0) and not to mention there next nine seasons they have Miami, two games with Cal, two games with Virginia Tech, two games with Oklahoma, and two games with Tennessee, So do tell me how Ohio State does not play any good Non-Conference teams?
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    Gary Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:50 am PDT Report Abuse
    I'm a Hawkeye fan living in SC for last 30 years and still root for the Hawks. The first half was terrible.....Iowa helped Arizona dig the hole the Hawks were finding themselves in. They came back and took the momentum from Arizona in the 4th quarter and had a chance to go ahead, but again, forgot to do the little things and ended up missing a PAT after a great defensive play by Binns. Another let down due to poor fundamentals. All they had to do was continue playing like they had, but they let Arizona drive down the field and score.......which I think is nothing more than an act of a team's will to win........are we going to play like we need to, to win or are we going to let the other team's will to win overpower us. Iowa made their choice and didn't play like they could. Don't get me wrong, Arizona is a good team, but who wanted to win more. The last series of offensive plays, I could not figure out. Why is a very mobile quaterback, Stanzi, up under center instead of in the shotgun? Why didn't they move the pocket to help stave off Arizona's pass rush who they knew were going to be coming hard and had succeeded earlier in the game of rushing Stanzi? Here he is, stuck in the pocket with Arizona squeezing him back into the defense and getting sacked four times in a row.....pathetic. They had 4 1/2 - 5 minutes to march down the field and they did absolutely nothing. It's not like Stanzi and this offense are a bunch of freshman/sophomores with no two-minute offense experience. It seemed to me that they weren't playing with any intelligence......had decided they couldn't win and gave up on that last series of plays. This was their signature last year and I'm not saying that's the way to play to have a succesful year, but there are games where you play poorly and if you're a good team, you can pull it out during that last series, but you can't give up before you give yourself a chance to win. Keep yourself in the game and eventually, good things will happen. Maybe they just ran out of gas, but if you expend that much energy and effort to win, why not complete the job and win the game. Just disappointing to come back that far and not finish. Hopefully, Iowa has learned a good lesson and can apply it to their Big Ten play for the rest of the season.....if not, they will have several more times to learn it and end up with a winning season, but not a great season. It's their choice.
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    What's Next Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:16 am PDT Report Abuse
    The following is a Public Service Message from the State of Iowa:
    The HawkEye Suicide Prevention Hotline is now open. Hopefully it is adequately staffed and professional councelor's are available upon request. Due to the numerous amount of calls, a longer than average wait time can be expected.
    Without calling the hotline, other measures can be taken now that the idea of a National Championship has gone by the wayside.
    Suggestions for replacement converstation topics at the local Hy-Vee Coffee Bar are as follows:
    The Price of Corn
    The Price of Beans
    Deer Hunting
    Turkey Hunting
    Hog Confinement Waste Management
    The Price of Corn
    The Price of Beans
    Deer Hunting
    Turkey Hunting
    Hog Confinment Waste Management
    The Price of C........
    Oh well, you get the idea.....
    Call now @ 1-800-Hawks Lose for further assitance

    Bahahahahahaha
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    Raul Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:14 am PDT Report Abuse
    who agrees? I think when a kid in school beat up the best fighter, he then got labled the best fighter. So why when an unranked or even lower ranking school beats a higher ranked school we dont take their place? ie. UCLA over #23 and AZ over #9
  • 7 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    Fuelectric Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:28 am PDT Report Abuse
    Bob Davie, after listening to this game has convinced me that he isn't good at anything regarding football.....coaching....nor commenting on it......this whole game he was just talking about how great Iowa was and even was complaining about a few good solid calls that went against Iowa...a pass interference call comes to mind. The previous week, when I was watching South Carolina vs Georgia, he said SC was "outphysicalling" Georgia. The guy that hired Davie should be fired, as well as Davie.....
  • 4 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    westcoast Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:12 am PDT Report Abuse
    As a former resident of Iowa (high school), I attended many games in the 70's when Iowa was routinely ranked as one of the 10 worst teams in the country. What I was most impressed with as a California boy, was how the fans still packed the stadium and cheered their guts out even though their beloved Hawkeyes were likely to get thumped every time. Once or twice a year they would win at home, and those fans celebrated like they won the national championship. Rushing the field, tearing down the goal posts, partying all night (well, alright they were going to do that anyway!)

    Iowa as a state doesn't have much to offer and the weather is as bad as can be much of the time. So those fans with no pro sports, little recreational opportunity outside of fishing and hunting, are will to take their party to anywhere especially if the weather is warm there.

    Great if you are a Iowa football player to have that support.
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    westcoast Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:01 am PDT Report Abuse
    Great win for Zona. Iowa is a solid team year in and year out. Never spectacular, but solid, like most of the Big 11 heavyweights. That league is always a bit over rated in my opinion. Their teams are good, not great for the most part.

    Pac 10 looking pretty solid now with Stanford, Oregon, O State, SC and Zona. UCLA ripped #23 Houston, and A State barely lost to Wisconsin (who looks very over rated).

    I respect this heartland conference, but they are not scary, and overall the Pac is better.
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    JonathanC Sun Sep 19, 2010 09:59 am PDT Report Abuse
    Iowa is a pushover and this proved it. Sorry Hawkeye fans, you were sacked SIX times - and FOUR IN A ROW! The Iowa offensive line was absolutely, positively, 100% dominated by the Arizona defense. It wasn't even close. Iowa might play for a bowl this year, but they won't be in the top 25.
    Comment hidden due to low rating. Show Comment
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    clever1 Sun Sep 19, 2010 09:59 am PDT Report Abuse
    A pity to see 12,000 Iowa fans travel over 1000 miles to get burned.

    Its a darn shame......thats what it is.
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    party'sover Sun Sep 19, 2010 09:58 am PDT Report Abuse
    Rock & Roll !!

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