McNutt's Big Day Sparks Hawkeyes

Oct. 3, 2009

IOWA CITY, Iowa – When University of Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi needed it most Saturday at historic Kinnick Stadium, he went to his favorite target on this game day, quarterback-turned-wide receiver Marvin McNutt.

Leading 21-14 but feeling very uneasy – particular since Arkansas State had just cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to seven with a crowd-silencing 75-yard interception – Stanzi found a streaking McNutt up the sideline for a gain of 37. It was McNutt’s fourth catch of the day and, arguably, his biggest. The catch was the first play in an 8-play, 56-yard drove that resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Daniel Murray that gave Iow its margin for victory: Iowa 24, ASU 14.

The victory pushed the nationally ranked Hawkeyes to a perfect 5-0 – Iowa’s first 5-0 record since the 1995 season – heading into next Saturday’s Homecoming game against the Michigan Wolverines. The loss dropped the Red Wolves to 1-3.

“It’s been available and the Hawkeyes have been successful with it all day. Iowa has dominated these corners on every one-one-one pattern they run. Square outs or out-and-ups…it hasn’t mattered. The Hawkeyes have owned these D-backs on those routes,” said Ed Podolak of the Hawkeye Radio Network.

Podolak speaketh the truth, too.

Stanzi and McNutt hooked up for a pair of lengthy touchdowns earlier in the afternoon, the first a 41-yarder midway through the first quarter which gave Iowa a 14-0 lead. The second – a 43-yarder — gave the home team a 21-7 lead with just 90 seconds expired in the third quarter.

In each case the route was straight up the sideline. And, each time the pass from Stanzi was picture perfect.

McNutt, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore from St. Louis, finished the game with career highs for receptions in a game (four), yards (121) and touchdowns (2). His average yards per catch was a video game-like 30.3.

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Iowa wasn’t particularly impressive on this particular Saturday. They started sharp, scoring on its first possession of the game with a 34-yard strike from Stanzi to Trey Stross that capped a 5-play, 72-yard drive. The scoring march took all of 2 minutes and 44 seconds.

But they seemed to lose their focus after when it seemingly came too easy against a very, very competitive Arkansas State team.

Fortunately, Marvin McNutt didn’t lose his focus. He didn’t look like a quarterback-turned-wide receiver. He looked like a wide receiver and caught important passes like a wide receiver.

“He really arrived today,” Gary Dolphin, the radio voice of the Hawkeyes, said in his post-game comments.

“You always work in practice for timing. Ricky’s passes were spot on today. The ball was just spot on each time,” said an excited McNutt, who noted the biggest challenge of the position was the conditioning the wide receiver slot requires.

“We thought we could take advantage of them. We just executed. We were confident in our technique and our plan and we just executed.”