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Chaos rains: Iowa 27, Nevada 0

The Hawkeyes endured three lightning breaks to come away with the big win

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

After two games where the Iowa Hawkeyes (2-1) struggled to get the ball moving on offense, they matched the first two games’ total points - 14 - in the first quarter and meandered to a 27-0 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-2).

Perhaps most importantly, Iowa looked alive in the passing game with Spencer Petras going 14/26 for 176 yards and a touchdown. With as full complement of wide receivers as the Hawkeyes are likely to get this season, Iowa pressed the Pack downfield, with seven of Petras’ 17 passes before the lightning delay aimed towards targets 15+ yards down the field.

While the offense’s first three-and-out didn’t come until their first drive of the second half, the Hawkeyes started with two steps forward, one step back on offense. They were, as always, comfortable playing the field position game. The defense obliged with two straight quick stops of their own which set up some delightful field position for the Hawkeyes to take advantage of:

Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. A run out of shotgun WITH some delightful Arland Bruce IV motion? It was Kaleb Johnson’s first touchdown of his career.

The defense followed up the go-ahead score with another game-changing play: Cooper DeJean’s second interception of the season. And what a beauty it was.

The Hawks took another deep shot on the ensuing possession but an offensive hold offset a pass interference call in which Keagan Johnson came up limping. Iowa eventually faced a third and one, where Brian Ferentz dialed up more jet sweep action:

Iowa’s defense continued being Iowa’s defense, which included a Matt Millen comparison of Lukas Van Ness to Howie Long after his first sack of the night. The Hawks took over at their own six but got some big plays out of Gavin Williams. He had three carries for 29 yards plus a 32-yard reception. Iowa’s possession petered out after a couple incompletions but Drew Stevens asserted himself as the placekicker with a true 42-yarder.

The two teams traded possessions for the final 9:42 of the half, with Nevada avoiding catastrophe after CDJ had a third chance at a pick and ABIV took a punt return back 25 yards but Iowa was content, as always, to enter half with a lead.

Then things got a little weird.

The Pack’s Jamaal Bell returned the second half kick 32 yards after an initial muff. Reggie Bracy made a touchdown-saving tackle on that one. Nevada traversed past the 50 for the first time of the game - Iowa’s 47 - before punting it back. Iowa then had their first three-and-out of the game (I know right?). This was at 8:36 PM local time and times were simpler.

Lightning delays interrupted Nevada’s second drive into Iowa territory twice.

Fireworks went off.

They came back after the second delay for Nevada to throw an incomplete pass & Iowa to get drawn offsides on the 4th & 22. Then lightning struck a third time. Looked like Nevada’s head coach - Ken Wilson - said, “I’m going home.”

They did not go home but returned to the field at like 12:40a to see Brandon Talton sail a 57-yard field goal left. Iowa then unloaded a deep pass to Nico Ragaini - his first of the season! - which he miraculously came up with. Drew Stevens nailed his second FG of the game after Iowa went backwards.

Kaleb Johnson added another long touchdown, which was important to some people. He finished with 103 yards on seven carries. Efficient!

Overall, it’s tough to take much from this game. There’s definitely some chemistry lacking between Petras & his receivers. It was nice to see the Hawks take shots down the field but they’re not going to face as many passive three-man fronts as they did tonight. Kaleb Johnson looks like the real deal, though, and the defense once again did their job as well as you could ask.

Other tidbits

  • Aaron Graves got his first sack of his career
  • These made me laugh maniacally
  • Scary Terry Roberts got his pick six but it was negated because of an offsides.
  • Matt Millen was gassed.