AMES, Iowa — Sophomore Nate Stanley connected with freshman Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a game-winning 5-yard touchdown pass to give the University of Iowa football team a 44-41 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series victory over Iowa State on Saturday afternoon at Jack Trice Stadium.
Iowa moves to 2-0 on the season and the triumph gives the Hawkeyes the Cy-Hawk Trophy for a third straight season.
With the game tied at 31 late in the fourth quarter, Iowa State grabbed the momentum and took the lead with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Park to Hakeem Butler, giving the Cyclones a 38-31 lead.
The Hawkeyes took possession with three minutes remaining before going on a seven-play, 89-yard scoring drive to tie the game and force overtime. On first and 10, just inside Iowa State territory, senior Akrum Wadley caught a pass on a crossing route from Stanley and did his thing.
The running back broke at least three tackles before fighting his way into the end zone to complete a 46-yard touchdown reception to even the game at 38. The 46 yard reception was Wadley’s career-long.
“I had a step on the middle linebacker and Stanley looked downfield and nobody was open and he checked it down to me,” said Wadley. “I was determined to get in. I got a great block by Nick Easley, they kept the corner and I had to keep running.”
Iowa won the toss in overtime and put its defense on the field. The Hawkeyes stood firm, limiting Iowa State to a 30-yard Garrett Owens field goal.
The Hawkeyes started their game-winning drive with a 6-yard Wadley run to the 19 before Stanley connected with Nick Easley for a 10-yard gain and a first down to the 9. After senior James Butler bulldozed his way to the 5, Stanley hit Smith-Marsette on a square out, giving the Hawkeyes the walk-off victory.
“We knew we were going to get their best effort,” said Wadley. “All we had to do was match it and push forward. We all stuck together as a team.”
It was the second overtime game played in the series in 65 all-time meetings. Iowa lost by the same score in three overtimes in 2011 in Ames.
The Hawkeyes trailed 31-21 with 11:46 remaining before the offense went on an 11-play, 92-yard scoring drive to get back into the game. Stanley capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Smith-Marsette. He made a diving catch in the back corner of the end zone to make the score 31-28.
On the first play of Iowa State’s next offensive series, junior Parker Hesse accounted for the game’s only turnover. Park targeted a pass underneath, but Hesse read the play and intercepted the Cyclone quarterback at the Iowa State 18 yard line and returned the pick 13 yards to the 5.
Iowa State’s defense kept Iowa out of the end zone, but Miguel Recinos connected on a 23-yard field goal to even the game at 31 with 5:16 remaining.
WHEN IT WAS OVER
The 2017 Iowa-Iowa State Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup was one of the best in recent history, with the outcome being decided on the final play. Iowa led by as many as 11 points (21-10) midway through the third quarter before Iowa State scored touchdowns on three straight possessions to take a 31-21 lead.
Iowa weathered the storm, found its footing, and forced overtime to prevail for the 43rd time in the series. The Hawkeyes lead 43-22.
Wadley was Iowa’s bell cow, and he had an impact across the field. The New Jersey native accounted for 260 all-purpose yards on his 35 touches, finishing with 118 yards rushing yards (on a career-high 28 attempts), 72 receiving yards (on four catches), and 70 return yards (on three returns). Wadley had both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the game.
In his first career road start, all Stanley did was something that hadn’t happened in 30 years. The Wisconsin native completed 27-of-41 passes for 333 yards and five touchdowns. He completed passes to nine different receivers and didn’t commit a turnover.
Stanley is the first Iowa quarterback with 300-plus passing yards and at least five touchdowns since Chuck Hartlieb against Northwestern in 1987.
Junior defensive end Parker Hesse gave the Hawkeyes life with his fourth quarter interception – the second of his career. The Waukon, Iowa, native also had a career-high seven tackles, including five solo stops, and had a tackle for loss.
- Iowa’s offense was as balanced as ever, rushing 41 times (164 yards) and passing 41 times (333 yards) for 497 total yards.
- Four of Iowa’s five touchdown drives in regulation were 89 yards or more (plays-yards: 10-76, 10-91, 11-94, 11-92, 7-89).
- Stanley is the fourth quarterback in the Ferentz era to make his first true road start at Jack Trice Stadium. The others include Nathan Chandler (W, 40-21, in 2003), Jake Christiansen (L, 15-13, in 2007), and Jake Ruddock (W, 27-21, in 2013).
- Stanley established career highs in completions (27), attempts (41), yards (333), and touchdowns (5). He has seven touchdown passes in his first two career starts, more than any other quarterback in the Ferentz era.
- Stanley completed passes to nine different receivers. Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (4), tight end T.J. Hockenson (2), and running back James Butler (1) recorded their first career receptions as Hawkeyes. Fullback Drake Kulick had a career-high two receptions for a career-best 29 yards.
- Stanley is only the second Big Ten quarterback in the last 20 years with 300-plus pass yards, five-plus pass TDs and zero interceptions in a road game.
- Wadley has rushed for 100 yards in four straight games, and he has 11 career 100-yard rushing games. His 1,997 career rushing yards rank No. 15 in program history.
- Senior Matt VandeBerg had three receptions for 42 yards and one touchdown. He is the only player in the Ferentz era to have a receiving touchdown in three different games against Iowa State. He has 19 receptions for 285 yards and three TDs in his last three meetings against Iowa State. He has at least one reception on 21 consecutive games played. He has 111 career receptions, 16th all-time.
- Smith-Marsette made his first career start. He had four receptions for 36 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 5-yard touchdown reception in overtime. He had one carry for nine yards. He entered the game with no career statistics.
- Junior wide receiver Nick Easley is the first player under Ferentz to have a touchdown reception in each of his first two career games. He had a career and team-high seven receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown. He has 11 receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns in two games.
- Five Hawkeye set career highs in tackles: Hesse (7), free safety Jake Gervase (6), defensive back Josh Jackson (6), defensive back Michael Ojemudia (4), and defensive end Sam Brinks (3).
- Senior linebacker Josey Jewell had seven tackles, tying for the team lead. He has 322 career tackles, 16th in program history.
QUOTING HEAD COACH KIRK FERENTZ
“I am proud of our whole football team; it was an up and down game, there were dips in there. I am so proud of our players, they stayed the course. We have two under our belts now, hopefully we can improve and learn from this.”
“I can’t say enough about all the guys, they battled and fought and the defense held them to a field goal in overtime. We were able to muster up a touchdown.”
On Iowa State
“We knew they were going to throw the kitchen sink at us, not schematically, but with the effort they played. They came hard from the first snap right on to the end. They’re a well-coached football team and they have a lot of good players.”
The Hawkeyes host North Texas on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2:30 p.m. (CT) at Kinnick Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2.