They just kept giving him the ball and he just kept piling up the tough yards. Iowa Hawkeyes running back Mark Weisman racked up 145 yards on 35 carries in Iowa’s 27-21 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday night. The Hawkeyes were simply dominant in the run game as Damon Bullock also chipped in with 50 yards, and they walked away with bragging rights in this in-state rivalry game.
After an uneventful first quarter, Iowa jumped on the scoreboard first as quarterback Jake Rudock threw a five-yard touchdown to wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley. The running game was the focus of that scoring drive, and two other scoring drives in the second quarter that ended in field goals. The Hawkeyes headed in to half time with a 13-0 lead.
The Cyclones made it interesting in the second half, as they made it a 13-7 ballgame early in the third quarter when Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Quenton Bundrage. The Hawkeyes answered on the very next drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Rudock to Jacob Hillyer.
The fourth quarter was very interesting as Richardson threw two more touchdowns to Bundrage, to give Iowa State a chance late. But tough running by Weisman and an incredible interception by cornerback B.J. Lowery allowed the Hawkeyes to escape Ames with a victory.
The powerful Weisman has looked incredible so far this season rushing for 425 yards and two touchdowns in three games. Weisman arrived at Iowa last season as a fullback and stepped in to the half back role when the Hawkeyes lost multiple backs due to injury. He was very productive last season and is back for more this year. Weisman is an extremely powerful back that runs with a purpose. He does a fantastic job following his blocks and bulldozing defenders in his path.
Rudock has been solid so far in his first season starting for the Hawkeyes. He has made some mistakes, but that is to be expected from a guy who is starting for the first time in college football. I think that Rudock, a sophomore, is showing nice poise, especially for such a young player. The running game led by Weisman has surely helped Rudock ease in to the offense.
With the continued success of Weisman, solid play by Rudock and good defensive performance, the Hawkeyes have had a nice start to the season. They are not expected to compete in the Big 10, but they will surely be better than expected if they continue to play like this.