Hawkeyes Roll Over ULM, 45-17

Stats | Boxscore

Sept. 24, 2011

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The offensive train kept on rolling, as the University of Iowa football team racked up 453 yards of total offense in a 45-17 victory over the University of Louisiana at Monroe Saturday afternoon inside Kinnick Stadium.

“The guys showed up today, and I thought they did a really good job,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. “There were a couple of low points in the game, but not an awful lot. I think we made progress, and did a lot of good things out there.

“To come back the last two weeks, play better and end up getting two wins to head into the bye week with a 3-1 record… we’re pleased about that.”

Junior James Vandenberg completed 21-of-32 passes for 270 yards with three touchdowns. Senior Marvin McNutt, Jr., had seven catches for 100 yards with two scores — the 19th and 20th of his UI career — and Kevonte Martin-Manley had six receptions for 82 yards. McNutt is now one touchdown shy of tying the school record.

Sophomore Marcus Coker paced the UI rushing attack, carrying the ball 18 times for 113 yards with two touchdowns. It is his second 100-yard rushing performance this season and the fourth of his career. Freshman Jordan Canzeri finished with 30 yards on five carries in his collegiate debut.

A pair Hawkeye defenders posted double digit tackle totals. Senior defensive lineman Thomas Nardo paced the squad with a career-high 12 tackles, while sophomore James Morris had 10 stops.

The Hawkeye offense built on the momentum of last week’s performance in the 31-27 win over Pittsburgh from the opening snap. Iowa caught the sellout crowd of 70,585 off guard on their opening drive. Following a 2-yard Coker run on the first play, the Hawkeyes reverted to last week’s no huddle, shotgun, five wide receiver shotgun spread.

“We were just trying to please the fans and the media,” said a joking Ferentz about starting the game in the no huddle. “It’s something we thought might be a good way to start. I think James is pretty comfortable in that position.

“It’s something we’ll fool around with and something we can integrate into our thinking.”

The move paid off. The Hawkeyes moved the ball 74 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead. Vandenberg opened the drive with consecutive completions of 12 and 23 yards to Martin-Manley. His third completion — a 22-yarder to McNutt — advanced the ball to the 10, and a Keenan Davis catch moved the ball to the two.

Coker gained a single yard on third down to advance the ball to the one. Iowa elected to go on fourth down, and Vandenberg crossed the goal line on a quarterback sneak to put the Hawkeyes on the board.

ULM answered on its first possession with a 14-play drive that ended with a 43-yard field goal. Warhawk quarterback Kolton Browning’s escape ability kept the drive alive, as he scrambled 16 yards on a third and long at midfield. Iowa forced a second third down, and the defense held, using an uncharacteristic 3-4 formation to get pressure and force a Browning throw away.

The Iowa offense kept rolling, using an eight-play, 60-yard drive to push the score to 14-3. The Hawkeyes converted a fourth-and-one on a Vandenberg quarterback sneak at midfield, before Coker rumbled 26-yards on the next play to move the ball to the 23. Vandenberg capped off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown strike to McNutt on a perfectly thrown fade route to the corner of the end zone.

Special teams set up Iowa’s third score of the day. Iowa punter Eric Guthrie pinned the Warhawks deep with a 50-yard punt that was downed at the 3-yard line. The Iowa defense held serve before Micah Hyde had a 30-yard punt return that was sprung by a helmet-ringing Jordan Bernstine block on ULM’s Khairi Usher.

Coker took over from there, rushing four times for 23 yards before crossing the goal line on a 4-yard touchdown run with 9:32 left in the half.

ULM caught a break midway through the second quarter when Bullock fumbled deep in Hawkeye territory at the 26 yard line. The turnover didn’t come back to haunt the Hawkeyes, as the defense forced a turnover on downs to give Iowa possession.

The Hawkeyes went back to the hurry-up with 4:10 left in the half to build its advantage to 28-3. Vandenberg had consecutive completions to C.J. Fiedorowicz and McNutt for eight and 12 yards before a pass interference call on ULM moved the ball past midfield and a 21-yard completion to Martin-Manley moved the chains to the 21.

McNutt caught his second touchdown pass on a 17-yard catch over ULM cornerback Tim Taylor. The Hawkeyes picked up a ULM blitz, and the 5-foot-9 inch Taylor couldn’t match-up in man-to-man coverage with McNutt.

The third quarter was all offense — by both teams — with four touchdowns being scored. ULM struck first, using a 13-play, 71 yard drive, which was capped off by a 4-yard quarterback draw by Browning to make the score 28-10.

The Hawkeyes answered with an efficient six play drive of their own. Following a 22-yard kickoff return by Bernstine, Coker ran for 17, six, six and two yards to move the ball to the 18. A pass interference call by Taylor in the end zone advanced the ball to the two before Coker barreled his way into the end zone to make the score 35-10.

ULM’s back-up quarterback Cody Wells ushered the Warhawks down field for its second touchdown of the quarter. Wells used a heady play to advance the ball to the Iowa 27. A bad snap ricocheted off an in motion Kevin Steed, but Wells corralled the ball before firing 25-yard dart to a streaking Anthony McCall. Four plays later, Tavarese Maye’s found the end zone on a 1-yard run, making the score 35-17.

ULM attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but Iowa linebacker Marcus Collins snagged the ball in mid-air, giving the Hawkeyes possession at the ULM-41 yard line. Iowa needed just three plays to score their sixth touchdown of the game. Vandenberg connected on his third scoring strike when he found a wide open Davis back-pedaling into the end zone, making the score 42-17.

Iowa’s final scoring drive, which ended in a 23-yard Mike Meyer field goal, came following a 12-play, 5:53 yard drive that consisted of six rushes by Bullock and Canzeri. Canzeri carried for a 12-yard gain on his first collegiate carry, and he had a second rush for 12-yards to move the ball to the 5.

The Hawkeyes, who are 3-1 entering the bye week, open Big Ten play at Penn State on Oct. 8.

Iowa 45, ULM 17 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
ULM (1-3) 3 0 14 0 17
Iowa (3-1) 14 14 14 3 45
Iowa Statistical Leaders
Passing: James Vandenberg 21-32-0 270 3 TD
Rushing: Marcus Coker 18-113-2
Receiving: Marvin McNutt, Jr. 7-100-2
Tackles: Thomas Nardo 12