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IOWA 45, INDIANA 29: BIG PLAY BONANZA

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Boom goes the dynamite.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

So... that was something, wasn't it?  Iowa set a season-high in points (45) and racked up 426 yards of offense (second-most all season), but the story of the game was probably that fever dream of a first quarter, when Iowa scored 28 points and featured the sort of explosive, big-play potential we've been dying to see from Iowa all year.

Iowa scored on FOUR STRAIGHT TOUCHES:

1) The Jake-to-Jake connection: Jake Rudock to Jake Duzey for a 12-yard touchdown pass.

2) Desmond King intercepted the ball and ran it back for a 35-yard pick-six.

3) Jake Rudock to Damond Powell for a 72-yard touchdown pass.

4) Jonathan Parker on a 60-yard touchdown run off a jet sweep.

Boom.

After that the offense slowed down a bit -- just 17 points in the remaining three quarters -- but a lot of damage was done in that first quarter.   Iowa answered two Indiana scoring drives that cut the lead to 28-21 with a 10-point run to end the half, a 22-yard Marshall Koehn field goal and a 1-yard Mark Weisman on the final play of the half (on fourth down, no less).  The third quarter was the comedown from the brain-exploding high of the first quarter; instead of huge touchdown plays, we saw punts, punts... and more punts.  Seven combined punts, to be precise.

Iowa opened the fourth quarter with another 1-yard Mark Weisman touchdown run, which appeared to seal the victory for Iowa.  I say "appears" because Coleman erupted for a 69-yard touchdown run on the subsequent drive to cut Iowa's lead to 16 points with 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  It would have been far more nerve-racking if Indiana had still had a legitimate passing threat in the game, but QB Nate Sudfeld left the game with an apparent arm injury in the second quarter.  His replacement, Chris Covington, was not a passing threat: he ended the day 3/12 for 31 yards and two interceptions.  He was never likely to lead a big comeback for the Hoosiers.

* Iowa's first touchdown drive was a quintessential drive from the 2014 Iowa offense: 15 plays, 80 yards in 7:13.  It even featured a converted fourth down.  Those drives are good, but when they can't be the only way you score; today was one of the first time all years when that wasn't the case.  Iowa doesn't have to be Oregon, but they need to have the capability to score quickly.

* Tevin Coleman should be outlawed.  A stat-line of 15 carries, 219 yards, 3 TD is pretty monstrous.  On the other hand, 197 of Coleman's yards came on those three big touchdown runs (83, 45, 69).  He gained 18 yards on his other 12 carries.  You can't just ignore the big plays -- but it should be easier to reduce those in the future.  Let's hope anyway, because Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah are coming to Kinnick next month and if Iowa's run defense doesn't firm up, Coleman's 200-yard day might not be the only one we see against Iowa this year.

* The offensive play design was less maddening than in weeks past; there was a concerted (and successful) effort to push the ball downfield, which resulted in several big pass plays or pass interference penalties on Indiana.  That was a very welcome sight.  There also seemed to be a concerted effort to get the ball in the hands of some of the offense's most explosive players, like Damond Powell (3 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD), Jonathan Parker (3 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD), and Tevaun Smith (4 receptions, 69 yards, several pass interference penalties drawn).  More of that, please.

* Do we need to talk about onside kicks?  We should probably talk about onside kicks.  They're still a problem.  Like, a big problem.  Let's save that depressing discussion for later, though.

* As far as the grand two-quarterback experiment goes... it was mostly the Jake Rudock Show, with occasional cameos by C.J. Beathard.  And today at least, that was just fine.  Rudock was sharp in the first half (his touchdown pass to Powell was probably as beautiful a deep ball as we've seen all year) and his final stat-line was very solid: 19/27, 210 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT.  Beathard played just three series: a quick three-and-out in the second quarter, another three-and-out in the third quarter, and the final Iowa touchdown drive of the day (a 9 play, 55-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard Weisman TD run and was highlighted by a 20-yard Beathard run).  It wasn't an even split of snaps and it would be a stretch to say that Beathard got a "significant" amount of snaps, but Rudock certainly appeared to be the hot hand today and it's not hard to see why Iowa would have been reluctant to go away from him in this game.  We'll have to see what sort of workload Beathard gets over the next few games.

But hey: this was a solid, double-digit win over an Indiana team that has looked dangerous at times this year and that has been a definite problem for Iowa in past years.  The offense wasn't perfect, but it's also hard to argue much with 38 points of production (7 points came from King's pick-six, remember).  Outside of some defensive breakdowns that led to big plays for Indiana, this was a pretty strong performance.  We'll take it.  5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten is a good place to be right now.

ALSO: BIG UPS to the Kinnick sound operator who played Junior Senior's "Move Your Feet" today.  You're the best.