Iowa not expecting historic Ball State matchup


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Historically, when Iowa and Ball State have met, it hasn’t been much of a contest. The Hawkeyes have won the schools’ only two matchups by a combined score of 101-0 — just a tad lopsided.

It’s easy for Keenan Davis to remember Iowa’s last date with Ball State. It was 2010, his sophomore year, and the one of the first times the former Iowa wide receiver said he felt very comfortable on the field.

In that contest, a 45-0 evisceration of the Cardinals, Davis caught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. It was his career high at the time.

“I actually remember that game pretty well. It was a game where I got to get in a lot,” Davis said. “We had the throwback jerseys that we all loved, and it was a great game for the whole team.”

Ricky Stanzi threw for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns at Kinnick Stadium that day, and Adam Robinson led all rushers with 115 yards on the ground, as well as three scores. The Iowa defense allowed just 8 first downs and held the Cardinals to 112 yards of total offense.

The other time the Hawkeyes and Cardinals played before that was in 2005, a 56-0 win in Iowa City. Drew Tate had just 99 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in limited action, and Shonn Greene carried the ball 18 times for 116 yards and a touchdown.

However, what Iowa offensive lineman Andrew Donnal had to say about this year’s matchup is telling of how the Hawkeyes are approaching this contest.

“Honestly I don’t remember a whole lot from that game,” Donnal said about the 2010 victory. “It was a while ago, and I’ve been hit in the head a couple times since then.”

After a 4-8 campaign in 2010, Ball State has increased its win total from six games to nine games to 10 games last season. The Cardinals have lost only 12 games over the last three years.

Ball State beat Colgate, 30-10, in its opening week and had two running backs rush for triple-digit yardage in the opener: Horactio Banks for 134 and Jahwan Edwards for 109 and a touchdown.

Granted, it was against an Division 1-AA opponent, but the Iowa running defense was its strength last week, allowing just 25 net rushing yards on 25 attempts in last week’s 31-23 season-opener. “They’re very balanced. They want to be balanced,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “… Their running game is really very effective and very strong. Both backs are very productive.”

Ferentz certainly isn’t looking into what his teams have done to Ball State in the past. He said this year’s Cardinal team is much different from the teams they’ve fielded in the past, which means Saturday’s game will be, too.

“They just didn’t have a very good football team [in 2005], and by 2008, they were nationally ranked, so they did a wonderful job with that,” Ferentz said. “…Then we caught them in 2010 where they had dipped again, and now [head coach Pete] Lembo has come in.

“And to me I would compare them to where they were in ’07, ’08, in that upward swing.”

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa football team.

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