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The Hawkeyes used stellar defense and timely offense to get win number two

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa won playing Iowa’s game for the second time in two weeks. For the fourth straight time, the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Iowa State Cyclones 13-3.

The defense carried the torch in this one and only struggled on one play. After Iowa punted it to ISU after their first possession, the Cyclones found Deshaunte Jones underneath and he took it 31 yards well into Iowa territory. They moved the ball to the Hawkeye 1 before a 4th down false start forced Matt Campbell to send out the field goal team to put them up 3 points.

Iowa struggled the rest of the half offensively but continually won the hidden yardage as Iowa State started their next three drives at the 15, 20, and 8. Iowa couldn’t capitalize on the flipside of the field position - they started two drives at Iowa State’s 21 and 28 after shanks - except for one time: a 31-yard field goal Miguel Recinos eked inside the right upright.

Going into the half, it felt like Iowa left a ton of points on the board but the defense was succeeding with their defense of David Montgomery as he had only 47 total yards on 15 touches going into half.

Iowa went into half with only 73 yards as Nate Stanley continued his struggles to the tune of 26 yards, though Toren Young had 9 carries for 36 yards. There were no wide receiver catches at the break.

The teams traded 3ish and outs the first three possessions after Iowa State started with the ball. Stanley and Ihmir Smith-Marsette couldn’t connect on the first play of the next drive which felt like more of the same. On the next play, however, Stanley hit Marsette for a deep ball on a simple post route to the tune of 45 yards. ISM was not seen the remainder of the game with a shoulder injury.

After a dreaded chop block moved Iowa back 15 yards, they snuck forward on two straight passes to get back 10 yards. An incompletion to Kyle Groeneweg meant Iowa would run out Recinos for a 48-yard field goal which snuck over the crossbar to give Iowa a 3-point edge.

Iowa State looked to counter with a quality drive of their own. Shortly after a first down offside penalty from A.J. Epenesa, ISU moved it to near midfield and converted another first. Epenesa then sacked Kyle Kempt on a play which eventually forced Kempt out of the lineup. He continued the series and couldn’t convert a pass on 4th and 1 to Hakeem Butler.

As Iowa looked to add to their lead, they struggled, once again, on the Cyclone side of the field. Stanley forced a ball outside to Nick Easley which Iowa was lucky didn’t turn into an interception. The very next play, he force Easley to the ground with a low throw on a slant route. Recinos couldn’t convert a 50-yarder and it felt like Iowa was about to let the game get away from them.

The defense was ready to ice it away, though. When Zeb Noland entered, his first pass was a bad overthrow before completing a 6-yard pass on 3rd and 7 which was given a first by the #BigXIIRefs. On the very next play, the ball didn’t lie as ISU was called for a holding which put them well behind the chains and unable to get another first down.

Iowa put together their best drive after that, but it was never easy. They got 9 yards on a 3rd and 9 which required video review to properly spot. The next play was a pass behind Noah Fant he hauled in for 11 yards. Later in the drive, Stanley found Easley for 15 yards on 2nd and 16 before Brady Ross plowed ahead for a first down.

The drive nearly stalled once again at the 32, before Stanley checked into a go route to Brandon Smith on 3rd and 4. He hauled it in to Iowa’s 2. They ran up to the line and punched it in with a run by Mekhi Sargent on the very next play. Recinos knocked the extra point through for a 13-3 lead.

With 4:47 left, Iowa’s defensive line ate (as they did all game). Epenesa broke up apass and forced a holding call on a play which would have given ISU a first down. A false start pushed them back further before a drop by Hakeem Butler forced an ISU punt.

After Iowa forced two ISU timeouts and punted back to them, Epenesa once again found his way into the backfield by forcing a fumble Chauncey Golston picked up.


The Cy-Hawk Trophy stays in Iowa City for a fourth straight year.

Other musings

  • I called out Epenesa but the Iowa defensive line made hay all day. Matt Nelson had an early sack while they did yeoman’s work setting the edge all day and contained Montgomery to 44 yards.
  • News trickled out late that Ivory Kelly-Martin and Kristian Welch wouldn’t play. Young led the way with 68 yards on 21 carries while Sargent added 25. They totaled 105 which makes the Hawks 30-1 when they get over 100 rushing yards since 2015.
  • Djimon Colbert filled in very well for Welch while Jack Hockaday started at MLB. The only big play of note given up was the second from scrimmage. Amani Hooker was also all over the field as Iowa played more single-high safety than normal. He was instrumental in holding them to a field goal on a pass to Butler in the end zone.
  • I’m not totally concerned about Stanley yet but his numbers continue to stagnate. He finished with 166 yards on 16/28 passing. His mind is a total weapon but his body and execution with teammates needs to catch up.
  • Colton Rastetter averaged 42.5 yards on 4 punts. More of that please.
  • Goes without saying, but Phil Parker has this team in midseason form already. ISU’s playmakers were kept in check all game.