Robinson rushes for three TDs as Iowa wins opener
Iowa City, IA (Sports Network) - Adam Robinson ran for 109 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, leading ninth-ranked Iowa in a 37-7 rout of Eastern Illinois to open each school's 2010 season.
Robinson received 24 carries for the Hawkeyes (1-0), who won their opener for the 10th time in Kirk Ferentz's 12th season. The sophomore, who set the school's freshman rushing record last season, added 43 yards on three receptions.
"It was definitely exciting to go out there and get ready and get the feet wet in the first game," Robinson said. "I think we came together well as a team. Our main goal was to just come out and get rid of them early. I think we did a good job of that."
Ricky Stanzi completed 18-of-23 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown in the easy victory, while Paki O'Meara blocked a punt and returned it for another score.
Iowa is looking to duplicate or exceed its excellent 2009 season, when it went 11-2 and earned a spot in the Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes got off to an excellent start on Saturday, outgaining Eastern Illinois by a 435-157 margin.
Brandon Large passed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-20 throws for Eastern Illinois (0-1), which is coming off an 8-4 season in the FCS' Ohio Valley Conference. Von Wise was the recipient of the scoring pass, though no receiver had more than 37 yards and no rusher more than 36 in the loss.
"We learned some things. One thing about it, this game is a tough, tough game," said Eastern Illinois head coach Bob Spoo. "You got to think and hit hard, and I think a couple of our guys learned that today. They now know what it is to play an aggressive football team, and we need to get that reputation."
Iowa scored early and often to turn the game into a rout.
On the game's opening drive, the Hawkeyes marched 65 yards in only six plays, highlighted by a 35-yard pass to Brad Herman that put Iowa on the Eastern Illinois two-yard line. Robinson ran into the end zone on the next play just 3:40 into the contest.
EIU was forced to punt from its own seven on its first possession, and Iowa got the ball back on its own 44. Robinson capped the ensuing eight-play drive with a four-yard score, and the Hawkeyes had a 14-0 advantage with five minutes left in the first quarter.
Iowa's defense got into the act on the ensuing drive. The Panthers set up for a punt from their own 38 on 4th-and-1, but O'Meara blocked it, recovered the ball inside the 10 and scampered into the end zone for a 21-point cushion.
"The first time they punted, I noticed the guy had slid out a little bit when I forced it to the side," O'Meara said. "So the second time I kind of went and jumped under him when he was cutting back upside. I'm supposed to force the punt on those...It was fun running around the end zone and having everyone run up and start celebrating with you."
Eastern Illinois finally cracked the scoreboard to start the second quarter with some trickery. Facing 4th-and-4 from its own 20, EIU called a fake punt, and Cody Bruns ran up the middle for a 36-yard gain. The next play went for a 37-yard pass completion from Large to Chris Wright, and Large hit Wise for an 11-yard score two plays later for a 21-7 contest.
Iowa, though, restored its three-touchdown lead right away, going 60 yards on eight plays in 3 1/2 minutes. The drive featured six rushing plays, the last four by Robinson, who ran right up the middle from six yards away for his third score of the day and a 28-7 halftime advantage.
In a low-scoring third quarter, the only points came on a safety when Large fumbled out of the end zone, giving Iowa a 30-7 lead heading to the fourth.
The Hawkeyes added a touchdown on Brett Morse's two-yard reception with 8 1/2 minutes left in the game, and Iowa cruised to the victory from there.
This was the first-ever meeting between the schools...Iowa is 89-31-2 in season openers all-time and has won 10 straight...Eastern Illinois recorded only six first downs, compared to 24 for Iowa...The Panthers came into the game ranked 18th in the FCS...Robinson recorded his third career 100-yard game.
09/04 17:18:05 ET