Hawkeyes look to Vandenberg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hawkeyes look to Vandenberg


IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- It took just one play, and very quickly a loud, festive Kinnick Stadium almost instantly saw all the life sucked right out of it.

 “I thought maybe he'd be out for a couple of plays or walk it off.  Ricky's so tough,” said receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, “You kind of just start to feel he's been healthy for so long you never imagine that.  You never even think of it.”

Ricky Stanzi didn't walk it off, and he never returned to Saturday’s ballgame against Northwestern.  So in came James Vandenberg, a redshirt freshman with little college experience, facing a pressure situation he'd never encountered before.

“It's really tough, when you're down, it's your first game, and especially with Vandenberg being just the first time getting some real game experience,” said receiver Marvin McNutt, “It's pretty tough as a quarterback, I mean, cause you've got to know all the checks and I mean it moves a lot faster than high school.”

The inexperience showed.  Vandenberg completed just 9 of 27 passes while throwing a pick very quickly after replacing Stanzi.

“We couldn't sustain drives,” said Johnson-Koulianos, “It felt like we had so many 3 and outs today, and we couldn't get rhythm, we were in our own endzone the whole time.”

 "We were able to put some drives together,” said Vandenberg, “We just couldn't quite get clicking.  We made some plays, but we couldn't quite make enough in a row to put a whole drive together.”

Now Vandenberg, who will be the likely starter when the Hawks travel to Ohio State, has just one week of practice to learn how to sustain drives.  Come Saturday, he'll have to try and do that in one of the most hostile environments in college football.

“ We've got to move on,” said Vandenberg, “There's no time to dwell being nervous anymore because there's too much at stake now.”

Johnson-Koulianos agrees, “It's going to be interesting to see how this thing unfolds with him and how he can finish.  We've faced a lot of adversity this year.  We've faced everything you could face and I think this one right here tops them all.”

Online reporter Mark Woodley


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