at Iowa 34 ... Tennessee Tech 7
Iowa RB Marcus Coker
Iowa RB Marcus Coker
Posted Aug 26, 2011

Week 1 CFN Fearless Prediction - Tennessee Tech at Iowa

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 1 - Tenn. Tech at Iowa

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Sept. 3 at Iowa 34 … Tennessee Tech 7
CFN Analysis: Tennessee Tech is nothing more than a tune-up game, but there wasn't much to take from the layup win considering the problems with the rain. James Vandenberg was fine, completing 13-of-23 passes, but the running game was average and the defense struggled against Dontey Gay, who ran for 108 yards and a score. Marvin McNut was terrific, catching six passes for 140 yards and two scores, but No. 2 man Keenan Davis only made two catches for 30 yards. Again, the conditions were lousy, so there's no need to get too hung up on any problems going into the rivalry date with Iowa State.

(AP) IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Tennessee Tech had enough to deal with playing a Big Ten opponent on the road in its opener.

Then the skies opened up, making a bad day even worse for the Golden Eagles.

James Vandenberg threw for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Marvin McNutt and Iowa opened its season by pounding Tennessee Tech 34-7 Saturday in the schools' season opener.

McNutt had 140 yards receiving for the Hawkeyes, who won their 11th straight home opener despite an 84-minute delay because of lightning.

"If you're not going to win a game like this, it's fantastic to come and play a team that does it the right way," Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown said. "They're not very complicated. They just don't make mistakes."

Iowa overwhelmed the Golden Eagles of the FCS with 24 points in the second quarter. McNutt took a Vandenberg pass 88 yards for a touchdown, and Shaun Prater returned an interception 89 yards for a TD late in the first half to put the Hawkeyes ahead 27-0.

Vandenberg's 19-yard TD pass to McNutt gave Iowa a 34-0 lead with 6:19 left in the third quarter. The game was delayed shortly thereafter and the stadium was cleared.

Dontey Gay rushed for 108 yards for Tennessee Tech, including a 1-yard TD run with 5:02 left.

The game kicked off in a driving rain, which led to three first-quarter fumbles.

The clouds parted to start the second, allowing the Hawkeyes to impose their will on the overmatched Golden Eagles.

Wide receiver Keenan Davis, whom the Hawkeyes are counting on to take pressure off of McNutt, leapt over Tennessee Tech's Richmond Tooley, tipped the ball and caught it at the 1-yard line. Vandenberg's plunge put Iowa up 10-0 early in the second quarter.

Vandenberg then floated a pass to McNutt in coverage, and McNutt sprinted past the Golden Eagles' secondary for the sixth-longest TD reception in school history, making it 17-0 just three minutes later.

Tech quarterback Tre Lamb, whose interception to Iowa linebacker James Morris set up Mike Meyer's 20-yard field goal, tried to force the ball to the sidelines late in the first half. Prater, an All-Big Ten pick in 2010, was waiting for it, and he saw little resistance on an 89-yard TD return that gave the Hawkeyes a 27-0 lead with 10 seconds left in the second quarter.

Lamb finished 14-of-24 passing for 128 yards and those two costly picks.

"The second one was a beautiful play by their corner," Brown said. "Tre laid it up there thinking our guy could get it."

Vandenberg, a junior in his first start since taking over for Ricky Stanzi, was 13-of-21 passing, including a few drops from his receivers.

The rain returned right around the time Vandenberg and McNutt hooked up for their second touchdown. It brought some hail and the threat of lightning with it, and Kinnick Stadium was cleared as officials and players waited out the weather.

"We hadn't had one drop of rain in preseason, and I just dumb enough to never work with a wet football. Well, we don't have to worry about it the rest of the year. We got plenty of wet football work (Saturday)," Brown said.

About the only hiccup for Iowa besides the conditions came from its running backs -- a source of considerable consternation for the Hawkeyes of late.

Marcus Coker, last seen ripping apart Missouri's defense for 219 yards and two TDs in the Insight Bowl, fumbled the ball away on Iowa's opening possession. He put it on the ground again in the first quarter and was subbed out for freshman Mika'il McCall -- whose debut was impressive but brief.

McCall, the son of former heavyweight boxing champion Oliver McCall, rushed for a team-high 61 yards on nine carries before breaking his ankle late in the first quarter. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after the game that McCall will miss the rest of the season.

Coker finished with 41 yards on 11 carries.

The Hawkeyes, who play at Iowa State next week, are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. Picked by many to contend for the Big Ten title in 2010, Iowa stumbled to an 8-5 finish and just 4-4 in league play.

The Hawkeyes have just 10 starters back on offense and defense. But that didn't matter against the Golden Eagles, who simply couldn't match up with them.

"Based on what we saw on tape and saw last year, they're going to go and have a good year," Ferentz said of Tennessee Tech.

Tennessee Tech (0-0) at Iowa (0-0) Sept. 3, 12:00, Big Ten Network
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Here's The Deal … There was a time when Iowa started out the season with nasty tests, and after losing to Nebraska in 1999 and Kansas State in 2000, that was enough with the challenges. Outside of a miracle two years ago against Northern Iowa, no one does Opening Day blowouts like Iowa. Try this for the last decade.

- 2010 Eastern Illinois 37-7
- 2009 Northern Iowa 17-16
- 2008 Maine 46-3
- 2007 Northern Illinois 16-3
- 2006 Montana 41-7
- 2005 Ball State 56-0
- 2004 Kent State 39-7
- 2003 Miami University 21-3
- 2002 Akron 57-21
- 2001 Kent State 51-0

Those games might look like the 1984 Orange Bowl compared to what this year's lid lifter might be.

Tennessee Tech is coming off a 5-6 season that started out with losses to Arkansas and TCU by a combined score of 106-10, and while Iowa isn't as good this year as the Hogs and Horned Frogs were last season, it should be able to come up with a great-looking opener before dealing with its annual rivalry date against Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have some major rebuilding to do on both sides of the ball, and this is the game to get it all figured out.

Why Tennessee Tech Might Win: The Golden Eagles should be able to come up with some big plays and a good passing day. They have a nice pass-catch combination in quarterback Tre Lamb, who missed time late last season with a broken thumb, and Tim Benford, who might be the best receiver in the game. The passing attack only averaged 169 yards per game last season, but it was efficient and effective in Ohio Valley Conference play. Iowa's secondary gave up a ton of yards last season and could give up 300 yards to TTU if it isn't sharp. The corners should be fine, but the safeties are a question mark. With so many new faces on the Iowa defensive line, Lamb should get time to work.

Why Iowa Might Win: Tennessee Tech isn't going to be able to put up the points needed to keep up the pace. The offense might have some potential pop, but the defense doesn't have the horses up front to hold up against the run. The TTU run defense allowed 216 rushing yards per game, and while ten of the 20 rushing touchdowns came in the first two games – with seven from TCU – there shouldn't be much luck against an Iowa ground game that should establish itself from the start. The Hawkeye offensive line that was such a big concern going into last year should be one of the team's biggest strengths, and it should be able to pound away with Marcus Coker sure to pick up where he left off in the Insight Bowl win over Missouri.

What To Watch Out For: With Ricky Stanzi gone, and with some changes in the Iowa receiving corps, the quarterback play has to be steady and now it's time for junior James Vandenberg to take over and shine. Mostly known for a tremendous performance against Ohio State a few years ago with the Big Ten season on the line, he only saw mop-up time last season completing 5-of-8 passes for 45 yards and a score with all the production coming early on. At 6-3 and 212 pounds he has good size and he's far more mobile than Stanzi, running for 32 yards. The 2007 Iowa High School Player of the Year has the prep résumé, throwing for 7,709 yards and 93 touchdowns, and he appears to have progressed over the offseason and should be ready to be the main man. He appears to be ready to take on the leadership role and he appears to be more than ready to handle the job.

What Will Happen: The Hawkeyes should be able to call their shot. It's not like head coach Kirk Ferentz will ever look to make a statement in a game like this, but with few considering Iowa to be among the favorites for the Big Ten title, this might be a chance to set the tone for the team's attitude. The offensive line will dominate as the Hawkeye offense scores at will..

CFN Prediction: Iowa 52 ... Tennessee Tech 16
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