The Iowa Hawkeyes obliterated Western Michigan on Saturday in Kinnick Stadium, a rout that was sparked by back to back punt returns for touchdowns by Kevonte Martin-Manley.
He’s the first player in the Big Ten to do that since Garcia Lane of Ohio State in 1983 and just the third in league history. It was that kind of day for Iowa when most things went right during the final three quarters of the game.
Senior cornerback BJ Lowery returned two interceptions for touchdowns, Jake Rudock threw two touchdowns and a backup quarterback not only played, but looked good in the win calling his own number on several zone reads and showing why people love his arm and upside.
It was the first time Iowa fans could sit back and actually enjoy a game where they outcome was not in doubt by halftime for the first time in a real, real long time. So long that it inspired this tweet from one of our followers:
@HawkeyeNation heard they had to explain victory formation to the team during the last time out.
— nickpickett (@nickpickett) September 21, 2013
The offense wasn’t exactly a well-oiled machine, but they chipped in along the way despite sitting their starters for the fourth quarter of this game. Jake Rudock was 10-15 for 134 yards and two scores, including a pretty 29-yard strike to Damond Powell in the third quarter. He continues to make good decisions and is more than just a game manager, but he can certainly be that for Iowa.
CJ Beatherd relieved Jake Rudock and did a solid job, showing off his big arm on a near 60-yard hookup with Damond Powell where Powell ran a simple fly route; no fakes, pure speed and Beatherd had to give it all he had and the ball hit Powell in stride. It was one of the prettier Iowa passing plays since the Hawkeyes comeback against Pittsburgh in 2011.
Jordan Canzeri led Iowa with 73 rushing yards on 13 carries. Leshun Daniels was behind him with 13 carries for 54 yards. Both of those players lost fumbles but the fact Iowa was involved in a blowout, it allowed the to come back in the game and respond to their mistakes.
Iowa’s defense continues to impress, allowing just 74 rushing yards on the day and not allowing a first down until the second quarter. WMU was just 1-14 on third downs on this game.
Western Michigan is not a good football team but they have played two common Iowa foes; Michigan State and Northwestern. The Spartans have one of the ten best defenses in the nation and allowed 204 yards in their 26-13 win. 14 of MSU’s 26 points came from the defense, the same total Iowa got from their defense on Saturday. Click on the links of those teams to see the box scores from those match ups.
This is the type of win that Iowa needed, one to sort of flush out their pipes. The first quarter was still rather atrocious offensively, since Iowa decided to keep running into eight and nine man fronts and not attacking the seams or vertical routes. But somebody made a play, which ignited the team….and Iowa never took its foot off the accelerator.
Iowa will face off against 4-0 Minnesota next week. Don’t pay too much attention to their box score as their starting quarterback, Phillip Nelson, did not play and they wen’t all ground game this week. Nelson is a dangerous thrower, to be sure. It might actually be a game worthy of the regional ABC television slot it occupies, and a 2:30 central kick.
Iowa improves to 3-1 with the win after starting last season 2-2 before peaking at 4-2. Iowa began the 2011 season with a 3-1 record then lost in game five at Penn State. Look for more notes and quotes later today and into the evening.