Keys for an Iowa victory
Who to watch when the Hawkeyes are on offense:
Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, No. 12, junior — For some strange reason, Stanzi has had a hard time finding a rhythm under center. In Iowa's first two games, the junior went a combined 18-for-37 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns during the opening 30 minutes. After halftime, though, he's gone 22-for-32, wracking up 259 yards.
Wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, No. 15, junior — After leading the Iowa receiving corps in 2008 with 44 catches for 639 yards and three touchdowns. Now, he's listed as a back-up but has still tallied 61 yards on four receptions and found the end zone once. He's also been crucial in third-down situations.
Running back Adam Robinson, No. 32, freshman — With sophomore Jewel Hampton out for the entire season, head coach Kirk Ferentz has sifted through running backs like a 19th-century California prospector. Fortunately, Robinson has been an adept replacement (132 yards on 27 carries).
Who to watch when the Hawkeyes are on defense:
Defensive back, Tyler Sash, No. 9, sophomore — In only his second year as a starter, Sash has accomplished a lot during the Hawkeyes first two games. The sophomore from Oskaloose, Iowa, has posted 20 total tackles — 11 solo and nine assisted. He also tied a school record for interceptions in a game with three against Iowa State last weekend.
Linebacker, Jeremiha Hunter, No. 42, junior — Hunter was integral to Iowa's 17-16 win over Football Championship Series team Northern Iowa two weeks ago, blocking the Panthers' last-second field goal attempt. He also has a recovered fumble to his name.
Linebacker, A.J. Edds, No. 49, senior — The Hawkeyes call him Dr. Edds, but the management major and academic all-Big Ten honoree knows a thing or two about football as well. Edds had two sacks for 15 total yards lost, recovered two fumbles, and notched a safety in 2008.
Keys on offense:
1. Intermix the passing and running game. Stanzi needs to be in control, especially since Iowa's running backs are greener than the new Kinnick Stadium field turf.
2. Don't hog the pigskin. The Iowa receivers may boast more talent than experience, but they are sure-handed wide outs.
3. Light up the board early and often. The notion goes without saying, but the Iowa offense moved at a worm's pace during the open half against Iowa State.
Keys on defense:
1. Continue to guard against the pass. When the Hawkeyes went to Ames, Iowa, to face their intra-state rival, Sash and fellow safety Brett Greenwood went duck hunting, reeling in five interceptions.
2. Force open the floodgates. The Hawkeyes don't blitz very often and with only two sacks and eight tackles for loss, it's apparent.
3. Create turnovers. Arizona better get a grip because Iowa has recorded three forced fumbles so far.