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September 2, 2006

Montana no match for Iowa and Drew Tate

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IOWA CITY, Iowa -Iowa was a little rough around the edges in its season opener, but it didn't matter thanks to Drew Tate, Albert Young and an opponent without a running game.

Tate threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns and Young added 148 yards of total offense and two scores to lead No. 16 Iowa past the I-AA Grizzlies 41-7 on Saturday.

Scott Chandler and freshman Dominique Douglas had TD catches for the Hawkeyes (1-0), who christened newly renovated Kinnick Stadium with a dominant defensive performance. Iowa held Division I-AA Montana (0-1) to 10 yards rushing, and 144 yards overall, en route to its 19th win in 20 home games.

But it wasn't always pretty. Iowa has nine new starters from last year's Outback Bowl squad, and at times it showed. The Hawkeyes' coverage teams were spotty, their young receiving corps dropped more than a few of Tate's passes and they picked up eight penalties after averaging just 4.3 a game in 2005.

"There's certainly a lot of things we have to clean up. But I think the guys got ready mentally. The effort was there," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Nothing really looked crisp out there. But part of that was our opponent."

The Grizzlies, playing in front of the biggest crowd in school history (70,585), gave away too much physically to compete. Quarterback Josh Swogger spent much of the afternoon running for his life, as Montana was no match for the Hawkeyes in the trenches.

"It's tough when you've got 600 pounds on you on every play. We're not used to it. It's a different breed going into I-A," linebacker Tyler Joyce said.

The Grizzlies did, however, give Iowa a scare midway through the third quarter by cutting its lead to 17-7. Montana capitalized on a fumble by Young with a 44-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard TD pass from Swogger to Eric Allen.

But that was the only time the Grizzlies crossed Iowa's 35-yard line.

"We're 0-1 and that's about as simple as it gets," Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. "Iowa's awful good up front, and we knew that going in."

The Hawkeyes answered Montana by scoring touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to put the game out of reach. Andy Brodell hauled in Tate's first long throw of the day for a 44-yard reception, and Tate found Chandler for a 6-yard touchdown pass to give the Hawkeyes a 24-7 lead.

Iowa pushed its lead to 31-7 early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by Young.

"That's the way we have to respond. I think that shows a lot of character on our team," Tate said. "I think there's a lot of senior leadership on this team. It's just going to have to all come together."

The Hawkeyes held Montana to five first downs in the opening half and led 17-0 at halftime.

Iowa went ahead 14-0 in the second quarter on Tate's second touchdown pass of the day. Young took a short pass from Tate and turned it into a 35-yard gain, and Tate capped an 89-yard drive with a 9-yard TD pass to Douglas.

The Hawkeyes opened the scoring by moving 71 yards for a touchdown on their second possession. Young, who kept the drive going with an 11-yard run on a 4th-and-1, capped it with 5-yard TD catch.

"We didn't even open up our playbook," Young said. "You guys saw our basic package today. That's all we needed to do."

Tate's three TD passes gave him 46 for his career, moving him into second place on Iowa's all-time list. Chuck Long holds the mark with 74.

Swogger finished 16-of-28 for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Montana recorded its lowest point total against a Division I opponent since 1982, a stretch of 22 games.

The game was the first at Kinnick since the completion of $86.8 million in renovations. The makeover included a new press box and luxury suites, new scoreboards and a statue of Nile Kinnick, Iowa's only Heisman Trophy winner.

For more coverage of the Iowa Hawkeyes, check out HawkeyeReport.com.



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