IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Chad Greenway took a big step toward
proving at least one critic wrong.
Iowa's junior linebacker was dubbed by at least one preseason
magazine as overrated, unworthy of others' predictions that he was
a lock to be all-Big Ten at the end of the season.
Greenway looked every bit the all-star Saturday, returning one
of his two interceptions for a touchdown and blocking a punt that
led to another score in Iowa's 39-7 opening victory over Kent State
His performance was part of a dominating defensive effort by the Hawkeyes (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 AP), which held Kent State to 110 total yards,
minus-13 yards rushing and forced four turnovers.
"It was a lot of fun out there today," said Greenway, who made
10 tackles and shrugged off the magazine's remarks. "It was nice
to get my first and second pick, and to score was very nice, too.
We want to hold (opponents) down as much as we can, especially
against a team like Kent State so we can get rolling a little bit
for the rest of the season."
From the start, Iowa made sure the Golden Flashes never got on
track offensively. Kent State crossed midfield for the first time
late in the third quarter. Antwan Smith, playing in place of
suspended starting quarterback Josh Cribbs, had little time to find
receivers and was forced to begin nearly all possessions deep in
Smith was 18-of-32 for 96 yards, splitting time with freshman
Tommy Sitko, who was knocked out of the game in the second quarter
with a knee injury.
Kent State's only score came in the second quarter when
linebacker Jack Williams picked off Drew Tate's pass in the end
zone and ran 100 yards for the score, the longest interception
return in school history.
"Offensively we could never get in sync," said Doug Martin,
who made his coaching debut for Kent State. "We knew we were going
to have trouble moving the ball against probably the best defense
in the Big Ten."
Iowa's offense was effective, but not spectacular.
Tate, making his first career start, threw two touchdowns,
rushed for 39 yards on four carries and led Iowa to a 23-7 halftime
lead. But he left the game before Iowa's first possession of the
second half because of dehydration.
Albert Young, a redshirt freshman, rushed for 82 yards and a
touchdown on 22 carries, but did not play much in the second half
when the game was out of reach. The Hawkeyes had 420 total yards,
including 223 on the ground.
The Hawkeyes scored on their opening drive, marching 45 yards in
nine plays. The key play was Tate's 35-yard toss over the middle to
Ed Hinkel, who eluded several tacklers before being brought down at
the 18-yard line. But the drive stalled, setting up a 20-yard field
goal by Kyle Schlicher to put Iowa up 3-0.
One possession later, the Hawkeyes marched 66 yards in 14 plays,
capped by Tate's 9-yard screen pass to Matt Melloy.
Kent State tried some trickery on its next possession. But a
fake punt failed when Sitko overthrew his target, giving Iowa the
ball near midfield. Iowa scored 10 plays later when Young dived
into the end zone from a yard out, putting the Hawkeyes up 17-0
with 10:23 left in the half.
"We took some chances on special teams," said Martin, who
called an onside kick to open the game that backfired, setting up
Iowa's first drive. "When you play teams like Iowa, you're not
going to win playing conservatively."
Late in the second quarter with Kent State deep in their own
zone, Sitko threw a pass that bounced off the hands of receiver
Brian Bell and was caught by Greenway, who returned it 24 yards,
setting up Tate's second TD pass to Melloy.
Despite the lopsided score, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz targeted
several areas for improvement.
"We have work to do on the offensive line and we expected
that," said Ferentz. "We don't have a veteran group out there. I
think we'll see a lot of things we can correct out there."
Cribbs was suspended after being arrested for marijuana
possession in January. He was sentenced to five years probation
after pleading guilty in June and was reinstated to the team with a