Sunday, August 31, 2003

Rocky start for Roethlisberger

Iowa 21, Miami 3; Miami QB picked off career-high four times by Iowa

By Ryan Suchomel
Enquirer contributor

Miami quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is pressured by Iowa defender Jonathan Babineaux into throwing an interception during the first first half.
(AP photo)
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IOWA CITY - Miami quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's Heisman Trophy campaign got off to a rocky start Saturday in Kinnick Stadium. The junior threw a career-high four interceptions in a 21-3 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes.

"I take the blame on myself for this loss," Roethlisberger said. "Too many interceptions, too many mistakes, and we've got to get it cleaned up."

The biggest interception led to an Iowa touchdown just before halftime. With 32 seconds to go and facing second-and-11, Roethlisberger threw a high pass off his back foot that landed in the arms of Iowa sophomore Jovon Johnson, who returned it 20 yards to the Miami 1.

"I was trying to throw it out of bounds and got hit square in the chin," Roethlisberger said. "I didn't even see him pick it off."

Two plays later, Iowa senior Fred Russell, who finished with 167 yards, took the ball in over left tackle, giving Iowa a 14-3 lead at the half.

"That was the difference in the game," Miami coach Terry Hoeppner said. "That's on me. ... I made the decision to throw out of the end zone.

"I didn't want to give them field position. I see (Iowa all-America kicker Nate) Kaeding making 57-yarders (in warmups)."

The 14-3 halftime disadvantage was even more discouraging because the RedHawks had outgained the Hawkeyes 128 to 115 in total yards and held a 17:14 to 12:46 advantage in time of possession.

Miami stuffed Iowa's first possession, then marched 77 yards in 15 plays and capped the drive with a 21-yard Jared Parseghian field goal.

But the RedHawks kicked the field goal after having first-and-goal on the Iowa 8.

"We open up with a 14-play drive and we don't get the touchdown," Hoeppner said. "Who would've thought that's all we would get?"

Miami took its second drive to the Hawkeyes 29, but Roethlisberger was intercepted by Chris Smith on the 3. Prior to his first interception, Roethlisberger had been 9-for-11 passing.

Roethlisberger's third interception was on the Iowa 19, and his fourth, late in the final quarter, was in the end zone on first-and-goal.

"It's the most interceptions he's ever had," Hoeppner said. "He might go the rest of the year and not have any."

It marked the first time in 93 games that Miami didn't score a touchdown. The last time was a 21-0 loss to Ball State on Nov. 6, 1993.

"We had drops in the end zone, we had underthrows," Hoeppner said. "And (Iowa) made us pay for our lack of execution."

Roethlisberger finished 27-of-42 for 250 yards. His top targets were senior Korey Kirkpatrick (five receptions, 64 yards) and sophomore Martin Nance (five for 49).

"We saw one of the best quarterback in the nation today," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. "Roethlisberger is very talented and I think we did pretty well today against him."

Iowa senior Nathan Chandler was 12-of-19 for 129 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. He committed Iowa's lone turnover, a fumble inside Miami's 10-yard line.


First Quarter

Mia-FG Parseghian 21, 5:28.

Iowa-Mickens 7 pass from Chandler (Kaeding kick), 0:00.

Second Quarter

Iowa-Russell 1 run (Kaeding kick), :15.

Fourth Quarter

Iowa-Brown 29 pass from Chandler (Kaeding kick), 10:43.


First downs2217
Return Yards1620
Time of Possession33:3426:26

RUSHING-Miami, Murray 9-46, Clemens 12-20, Robinson 1-3, Roethlisberger 7-(minus 15). Iowa, Russell 22-167, Chandler 7-24, Schnoor 6-28, Davis 2-8.

PASSING-Miami, Roethlisberger 27-42-4-250. Iowa, Chandler 12-19-0-129.

RECEIVING-Miami, Kirkpatrick 5-64, Nance 5-49, Busing 4-53, Murray 4-11, Larkin 3-41, Corbin 2-14, Clemens 2-3, Tyler 1-9, Robinson 1-6. Iowa, Brown 7-78, Ochoa 2-24, Jensen 2-20, Mickens 1-7.

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