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Hawkeyes seeking improvement before Homecoming bout with Michigan

BY BRENDAN STILES | OCTOBER 06, 2009 7:20 AM

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When the Iowa Hawkeyes left the field after a 24-21 victory over Arkansas State, Kirk Ferentz told his team inside the locker room that winning isn’t easy.

While many on the outside believed that the Red Wolves wouldn’t fight as valiantly as they did, the Hawkeyes, who are now ranked 12th nationally, knew they would be in for a challenge from the Sun Belt conference squad.

Right away, Iowa jumped out to a 14-0 lead after junior quarterback Ricky Stanzi found receivers Trey Stross and Marvin McNutt for touchdowns.

But then came the struggles on both sides of the ball. The offense was unable to effectively run the ball, which allowed the Red Wolves to apply more pressure on Stanzi.

“We kind of coasted a little bit in the second quarter, and we were kind of cold,” said redshirt freshman running back Adam Robinson, who mustered 38 yards on the ground on 14 carries. “It really took us awhile to get back in the swing of things.

“We need to start fast and keep our foot on the gas throughout the whole game. There’s no telling what could’ve happened during that second quarter when we weren’t scoring.”

The defense gave up a 17-play drive in the fourth quarter, one in which Arkansas State converted three third-down opportunities, as well as a fourth and 1 following a third and 27 on what was ultimately the Red Wolves’ final offensive possession.

“That was a great team we just played,” said senior linebacker Pat Angerer, who revealed he had a torn thumb ligament, but it won’t keep him out of any games. “Offensively, they had a ton of talent. They had a ton of speed. Thankfully, we came out on top.”

Bulaga comes back

One of the most satisfying parts of Iowa’s win on Oct. 3 was the return of junior left tackle Bryan Bulaga.

Bulaga had missed the Hawkeyes’ previous three games because of a thyroid condition, with redshirt freshman Riley Reiff starting in his place.

The 6-6 lineman said he was close to returning for Iowa’s game at then-No. 5 Penn State, but the timetable for his return had ultimately depended on when his thyroid levels would dwindle.

“They wouldn’t put a pinpoint on a date or anything like that,” Bulaga said. “It was kind of just an open-ended thing.”

Doctors will continually check on him, he said, and the condition should not become a recurring problem.

Moeaki, Prater expected to return

Another bit of good news came after the game from Ferentz, who said senior tight end Tony Moeaki will likely be back in Iowa’s lineup for Saturday’s showdown with Michigan in Kinnick Stadium. The announcement comes despite Moeaki’s not being listed on the most recent two-deep sent out Monday for the Hawkeyes’ prime-time Homecoming battle with the Wolverines.

Junior tight end Allen Reisner has started Iowa’s past three contests in place of Moeaki, who was sidelined because of an ankle injury. The Marion native is listed first-string again, with tight end Brad Herman listed behind him on the two-deep.

Also expected back for the Hawkeyes this week is sophomore cornerback Shaun Prater, who missed Iowa’s game against Arkansas State with a hyperextended knee.

“I think we’re getting really close,” Ferentz said about Moeaki. “I’m hoping [today] he and Prater are full speed.”


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