12:00 PM ET, September 4, 2004
Kinnick Stadium, IOWA CITY, IA
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 on Saturday.
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 Iowa territory.
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 one-game punishment.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||2-12||11-20|
|4th Down Conversions||0-3||0-1|
|FG||11:27||KYLE SCHLICHER 20 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 45 yards.
|TD||1:35||MATT MELLOY 9 YD PASS FROM DREW TATE (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||10:23||ALBERT YOUNG 1 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 46 yards.
|TD||9:09||MATT MELLOY 4 YD PASS FROM DREW TATE (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 17 yards.
|TD||3:02||JACK WILLIAMS 99 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (TRAVIS MAYLE KICK)||7||23|
|FG||7:55||KYLE SCHLICHER 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yards.
|TD||2:58||AARON MICKENS 4 YD RUN (KYLE SCHLICHER KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||8:52||CHAD GREENWAY 30 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (MISSED KICK)||7||39|