Sept. 15, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Keenan Davis waited until the second quarter before making his first catch of the game. But that grab foreshadowed the production from the University of Iowa wide receivers during a 27-16 win against Northern Iowa.
The Hawkeyes, trailing 10-7 at the time of Davis’s first reception, were faced with third-and-7 from the UNI 10. UI quarterback James Vandenberg hooked up with Davis for nine yards, and a crucial first down. Iowa scored on the next play and never trailed the rest of the afternoon.
“There is no secret to what we were doing,” said Davis, a senior who finished with five receptions for 54 yards. “We were running our routes and catching the ball, and Vandy was throwing it; things every receiver has to do, going out and doing your job.”
Davis made three more grabs on third down. He made two third-down catches on a drive that led to Iowa’s final points during the 11-point win. In the fourth quarter he moved the chains with an 11-yard catch on third-and-9.
“I was trying to keep the ball tight and not get smacked very much,” Davis said of his third-down plays. “We have to make those hard plays on big drives, and I feel comfortable any of the receivers would have made them because of the week of practice we had and the focus we had today.”
The third-and-9 catch in the fourth quarter stuck out to UI head coach Kirk Ferentz.
“There is no secret to what we were doing. We were running our routes and catching the ball, and Vandy was throwing it; things every receiver has to do, going out and doing your job.”
UI wide receiver
“It was good to see Keenan make a difficult, tough play near our bench to keep a possession going,” Ferentz said. “When you see guys do things in a sticky situation that’s good. It was good to see him get the ball in his hands and do some things as well.”
Joining Davis in the five-catch club for the Hawkeyes was sophomore Kevonte Martin-Manley, who compiled a game-high 101 receiving yards; 51 of those yards came on the opening drive of the second half that led to Mark Weisman’s third touchdown run of the day.
“It was doing the little things and paying attention to details,” Martin-Manley said. “Staying on the move, sitting in the zone if we had to, and at the end, catching the ball and making plays after you catch the ball.”
It is the first time Martin-Manley surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark in a game.
“The hard work is paying off; it paid off today,” Martin-Manley said. “We focused on our catches, James did a good job, the guys up front protected well for us, and we were able to make plays.”
The Hawkeyes played five wide receivers, with junior Jordan Cotton contributing an eight-yard reception in the second half.
Vandenberg completed 18-of-28 passes for 228 yards with no interceptions; he was not sacked. The Hawkeye running game amassed 201 yards on 43 attempts, adding up to a season-high 429 yards of total offense.
“We are pleased with the way our guys responded during the course of the game, and what they did with their opportunities,” Ferentz said.
Davis and Martin-Manley are key examples.