Football

Vandenberg still looking for first TD pass of 2012

2012-09-19T21:37:00Z 2012-09-20T10:27:48Z Vandenberg still looking for first TD pass of 2012Steve Batterson The Quad-City Times
September 19, 2012 9:37 pm  • 

IOWA CITY — James Vandenberg insists it’s no big deal.

“If we go 11-1 and I don’t have a touchdown pass this season, no one will care, myself included,” Vandenberg said.

That’s a trade-off Iowa’s senior quarterback could live with, but after throwing 25 touchdown passes a year ago, Vandenberg was hoping to find the end zone even more frequently this season.

“Right now, I’m on pace for zero,” Vandenberg said, flashing a smile.

That’s right. Through three games, he’s pitching a shutout.

The Hawkeyes are one of four teams among the 120 in the Football Bowl Subdivision to have not thrown a touchdown pass yet this season, joining Connecticut, Air Force and Army.

“It’s going to happen, hopefully sooner rather than later,” receiver Keenan Davis said. “We’ve been close a couple of times, but we need to start putting six on the board when we get the chance.”

Davis believes the Iowa offense took strides in that direction in last weekend’s victory over Northern Iowa, when Vandenberg completed 18 of 28 passes for 228 yards.

The ability to establish the run early — Iowa gained 60 of its 201 rushing yards against the Panthers in the first quarter — opened some avenues for the Hawkeyes passing attack to enjoy its best game of the young season.

“When you can force an opponent to put eight in the box, that creates a lot more 1-on-1 opportunities for the receivers and creates more chances for big plays,” Vandenberg said. “They find themselves with more of a cushion. It all started with the run and the holes the guys up front created.”

Iowa had four plays of 20 yards or more against UNI, equaling the total number the Hawkeyes managed in the first two games of the season.

Two of those gains came in the passing game, where coach Kirk Ferentz saw the type of effort he believes his team can build on as it works toward Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Central Michigan.

“It was good to see Kevonte (Martin-Manley) get involved, and Keenan had two really nice third-down catches,” Ferentz said. “Those things were good to see.”

Martin-Manley covered a career-high 101 yards with his five catches, a reception total Davis matched.

“We did our job last week. We caught the ball,” Davis said. “It wasn’t anything special, just what we are supposed to do and that’s the way it should work. We came back after the drops we had against Iowa State and played the way we are capable of playing.”

The Hawkeyes continue to look for someone to emerge as a third option among receivers, a role where Don Shumpert and Jordan Cotton have both had their moments.

“We do have a help-wanted sign up, no doubt about that,” Ferentz said. “That group overall has practiced a lot better since the start of August, and the hope is that it will show up. Moving forward, it has to or we’re in trouble. Somebody’s got to make plays.”

Iowa isn’t lacking opportunities.

The Hawkeyes have run an average of 74.3 offensive plays in their first three games under new offensive coordinator Greg Davis. A year ago, Iowa averaged 53 snaps per game.

“It doesn’t seem like that much of a difference, but I think that means we are getting used to that tempo,” Vandenberg said. “We’re getting enough chances. Now, it’s up to us to do something with them.”

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Football schedule

2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota 7 p.m.
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

Past schedules

2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28

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Hawkeyes bowl history

1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28