AMES, IA — They finally did it. After five years of waiting and hoping, Iowa defeated Iowa State 40-21 Saturday inside Jack Trice Stadium in Ames and once again made Iowa the Hawkeye state.
The 19th-ranked Hawkeyes increase their regular-season winning streak to 12 games, the third longest in school history, and move to a 34-17 advantage over the Cyclones in a series dating back to 1894.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased it was a great win for our football team. The entire coaching staff is very, very proud with the effort of our guys. I thought they played extremely hard all game long,” said coach Kirk Ferentz. “The credit goes to our players; they did a heckuva job today.”
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased it was a great win for our football team. The entire coaching staff is very, very proud with the effort of our guys. I thought they played extremely hard all game long. The credit goes to our players; they did a heckuva job today.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz
Iowa jumped to an early lead after kicker Nate Kaeding punched home a 42-yarder in the first three minutes of the game. In 12 of the last 14 games, the winner of the Iowa-Iowa State game has led after the first quarter.
Kaeding, a senior, had a career day by kicking 16 points over the match-up and became Iowa’s career scoring leader with 291 points, one point over Rob Houghtlin’s record set through the 1985-1987 seasons.
Through the course of the game, Kaeding kicked four field goals and four points after touchdown. His career totals now include 138-of-140 PATs and 51-of-63 field goals, including 21-of-26 from outside 40 yards.
“It was fun to get those records,” Kaeding said. “It’s always good stuff to kind of re-write the books. But in terms of records, records and awards don’t compare to the feeling of this win.”
The Hawkeyes got their first glimpse of what was in store for them three plays later when ISU quarterback Austin Flynn fumbled after a hit by Abdul Hodge. Grant Steen got the pick-up for four more yards.
In the drive, Iowa quarterback Nathan Chandler made two 17-yard passes to Maurice Brown, the last being a large jumping catch in the endzone for the first touchdown of the game.
Flynn redeemed himself in the next drive by making a 25-yard run on a third-down conversion for Iowa State’s first and only touchdown of the half.
Flynn went 24-for-41 with one interception for 239 yards and just one touchdown. He was sacked three times by Iowa’s defense.
But not to be outdone by an opposing passer, Chandler, in Iowa’s fourth possession, rushed for 42 yards to within the Cyclones’ four-yard line setting up running back Fred Russell’s easy third scoring play of the season.
Overall, Chandler had 7-of-14 for 72 yards and three carries for 53 yards and one touchdown. This was Chandler’s third game without an interception.
Russell’s performance, on the other hand, was often spoiled by a challenging Cyclone defensive scheme, which held him to 26 carries for 75 yards and just the one scoring play.
“I always think I can do better, but I think they had a real good defensive scheme that gave us the problems last year,” Russell said. “They just had a real good defensive scheme set up.”
By the interval, the Hawkeyes had a 20-7 lead over ISU, however, that had to be of little comfort to them as the Hawks squandered a 24-7 lead in last year’s fixture.
Iowa pushed its lead in its series with Iowa State to 34-17 with the victory in Ames.
Coach Ferentz said the coaching staff didn’t mention last year’s game during the break, but had confidence his players were ready to enter the second half.
Indeed, they were.
Iowa’s defense, which highlighted the entire game for the Hawkeyes, held the Cyclones to just five plays on their first possession of the second half, but when Sean Considine’s hands blocked punter Troy Blankenship’s attempt from the Iowa 18-yard-line, it was confirmed that last year’s mistakes would not be repeated.
Chris Smith recovered Considine’s block for a touchdown within the first minute of the second half and gave Iowa a 27-7 lead, from which the Cyclones would not recover until the fourth quarter.
“It was a huge momentum builder for us in the second half,” said Considine. “We had to do something in the second half. Last year, we came out slow and had some turnovers and this year we came out and made some good plays on special teams. That took care of some stress.”
Considine made the same play for Iowa six possessions later in the exact same way against Blankenship, which set up a 20-yarder for Kaeding.
Considine said that both plays were designed by special teams’ coach Darrell Wilson during practices this week. Wilson is in his second year at Iowa.
“Coach Wilson watches a lot of film and designs the blocks, and those were the blocks we wanted to go into the game with this week,” Considine said. “We thought we definitely had a chance to block a punt or two and it worked great. Both times, same thing — it worked great.”
The Hawkeyes were held within six yards of their endzone by the Cyclones defense on the possession.
“They were tough in the redzones today,” said Chandler. “We wanted to score, it’s not like we wanted field goals all the time. But we have confidence in our kicker and when it comes down to it, we have an almost automatic three.”
By the fourth quarter, Iowa had a 33-7 lead that enabled the Hawkeyes to sit back a little and enjoy the win.
The Cyclones had two more touchdowns in the fourth, including a 69-yard pass from Cris Love to Jack Whitver with under three minutes remaining in the game.
“Iowa was more physical than us today,” Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. “They had more plays and are an excellent football team. They were coached well; they played hard and tough and were just better than us today, no doubt about it.”
The Hawkeyes, which rank 23rd nationally by The Associated Press, remain undefeated through three games and face Arizona State at 5 p.m. inside Kinnick Stadium next Saturday. Iowa handed the Cyclones their first loss of the season and drop to 2-1 on the year. They play at Northern Illinois next week.
By Barry Pump, Hawkeyesports.com