Oct. 22, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Saturday was a “Take Care of Business” day for the Iowa Hawkeyes at sun-drenched historic Kinnick Stadium.
Pegged to defeat Indiana by just about everyone who follows college football, Kirk Ferentz’s squad did just that — by a 45-24 count — and, in so doing, got better, deeper, and, most importantly, put win No. 5 in the record book all while doing a little record-setting.
We’ll start with the last and the day’s best. UI wide receiver Marvin McNutt, Jr., raced 80 yards to give Iowa a 14-7 lead on its second possession in the first quarter. That score was his 22nd as a Hawkeye and it separated him from former Hawkeyes Danan Hughes and Tim Dwight as Iowa’s all-time leader in receptions for touchdowns.
The lanky wide receiver was a long way from done, however. In the second quarter, McNutt scored twice, first on a pretty 24-yard spiral from James Vandenberg that once again gave the home team a seven-point margin at 21-14. Vandenberg and McNutt teamed to push the margin to 35-14 when they hooked up on a 29-yard pitch and catch with 16 seconds left to play before intermission.
McNutt finished the day with six catches for 184 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.
“He’s going to play on Sundays,” offered Milo Hamilton, the play-by-play voice of the Houston Astros and a graduate of the UI, who had joined Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak in the Hawkeye Radio Network booth.
“There won’t be many more day like this. It was a great day to throw the football. He made lots of great reads that became touchdowns. Five touchdowns…that’s something you dream about.”
Ed Podolak of the Hawkeye Radio Network on James Vandenberg’s performance against Indiana
Iowa shared its game plan with a sellout crowd of 70,000-plus in its opening drive. The Hawkeyes called running back Marcus Coker’s number nine times in its 12-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that ended with Coker crashing in from one yard out. It was the first of two touchdowns by the hard-hitting sophomore, who gained 139 yards on 23 carries before giving way to De’Andre Johnson and Jordan Canzeri.
Both reserves gashed the Indiana defense, Johnson averaging 5.2 yards on his five carries and Canzeri better than six yards on four attempts.
Vandenberg was sharp, hitting on 12 of his 16 pass attempts for 253 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. The Hawkeyes were also efficient, converting on six of eight third down plays.
“They scored from near, they scored from far. They ran clock and scored fast. It was a productive day,” said Dolphin, who beamed about the performance by Vandenberg.
“A smart, smart player and, man, can he throw a pretty pass. He also is sneaky fast as a runner and knows when to take a sack.”
“There won’t be many more day like this. It was a great day to throw the football. He made lots of great reads that became touchdowns. Four touchdowns…that’s something you dream about,” said the Hawkeye Radio Network’s Ed Podolak.
“I’ve been blessed to have Ricky (Stanzi) and now James (Vandenberg). They make it easy,” McNutt said of the two guys he’s played catch with the last three seasons before becoming weatherman.
“This was a great, great day to play football. It was beautiful.”
Defensively, Iowa was a Jekyll and Hyde. The Hawkeyes allowed Indiana more than 400 yards of total offense, but the Hawkeye defenders twice turned the visitors away with zero points once they got inside the red zone and allowed only a field goal on a third visit inside the 20.
“They played more workmanlike defense in the second half. They didn’t allow the big play. They also played with more emotion in the second half, something coach Ferentz told us he was hoping to see,” offered Podolak.