IOWA CITY — Not the prettiest gave for the Hawkeyes, but, as they say, a win is a win. I’m have more in-depth analysis in my game replay on Monday. Until then, here are my grades for Iowa’s 17-5 win:
It was Ricky Stanzi’s first start, and it showed. He missed open receivers and made some poor decisions that led to a pair of interceptions. He did continue to show good pocket presence, but he was rattled. Christensen was solid when he came on late.
Running backs (A)
Shonn Greene was a bull, always falling forward, always fighting for extra yardage. He showed he is capable of carrying the load against a physical defense with his 20-carry performance. He didn’t seem to tire as the game went on. Iowa is going to be able to ride him this season.
Receivers/Tight Ends (A)
On Greene’s long runs, there was excellent blocking downfield by the receivers and tight ends, particularly Brandon Myers and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. And sophomore tight end Allen Reisner is really catching on. He had receptions of 37 and 28 yards, Iowa’s two longest passing plays.
Offensive line (A)
Facing its first true test, Iowa’s offensive line looked good, paving the way for Shonn Greene to go over 100 yards for the third straight week. Iowa’s quarterbacks were sacked only once, and the Hawkeyes nearly pulled off a bubble screen, which is a hard play for the line to execute.
Defensive line (A)
The Iowa defensive front is as good as advertised. Saturday, the unit didn’t get a sack but put constant pressure on Iowa State’s platooning QBs, Austen Arnaud and Phillip Bates, who were held to 12 yards rushing between them. They Cyclones managed only 73 yards on the ground.
A.J. Edds had 10 tackles, including one for a loss, and he nearly came up with his third interception of the season. Pat Angerer played well in his first career start, and Jeremiha Hunter continued to be a steady presence on the weak side. The front seven is formidable.
Defensive backs (B)
Brett Greenwood, Amari Spievey and Tyler Sash all had interceptions — the first of Spievey and Sash’s careers — but the Iowa secondary had some holes in it Saturday as Cyclone receivers found space, and Bates and Arnaud found them for 252 yards. There is room for improvement.
Special Teams (B)
The positives: Of course, Andy Brodell’s 81-yard punt return for the game-sealing score, a 64-yard punt from Ryan Donahue, a 26-yard field goal from Trent Mossbrucker and three missed ISU field goals. But there also was a shanked, 25-yard punt and a missed field goal.
Again this week, Kirk Ferentz and his staff handled the quarterback situation beautifully. They pulled Stanzi when he was struggling and sent Christensen on the field, giving him a chance to lead the Hawkeyes to a win. That, and Iowa came to this one ready to play.