Big plays key Hawks' perfect season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Big plays key Hawks' perfect season


IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- As Tyler Sash raced 86 yards for the Hawkeye goal line following a big interception, you could feel the momentum quickly swing in Kinnick Stadium.

"That was really key, and that really picked us up as an offense," said receiver Marvin McNutt, "We knew we had to step up and do what we need to do to win."

"It was just a crazy play and I'm trying to do anything I can to help the team," added safety Tyler Sash, "give the team a spark, and I'm glad that one worked out."

That moment, however, wasn't the first time the Hawks could pinpoint one play that was either the game winner or the game changer.  It started in week one when they blocked not one, but two UNI Panther field goals to seal victory.

In week 4 the shift came on Adrian Clayborn's blocked punt and touchdown against Penn State.

Against Wisconsin Ricky Stanzi's scoring strike to Tony Moeaki seemed to jump start a Hawkeye offense that was fairly lethargic through much of the first 30 minutes, and one of the most memorable came on the game winning pass from Stanzi to Marvin McNutt one week ago at Michigan State.

Stanzi says plays like that just snowball, "one big play leads to another with this team and guys did a great job of blocking out the mistakes that were made and just moving forward the whole game."

The play couldn't have come at a better time.  Iowa's offense was struggling, and Stanzi had already thrown 4 interceptions in the ballgame.  Although he did throw one more after the play, the atmosphere had changed and led to a dominant 4th quarter in which Iowa outscored the Hoosiers 28 to nothing.

It all started with the Hawkeye defense.

" We never give up," said defensive end Christian Ballard, "We just keep on going no matter what the case is if we're winning by 20 or if we're down by 30.  We're just going to keep on going out there and keep playing.  That's what we do."

Online reporter Mark Woodley

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