Iowa Hawkeyes Played One Of Their Best Games

By Derek Helling
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes played one of their best game in 14 seasons under Kirk Ferentz yesterday. Offensively, it was just a little bit above average. The Hawkeyes as a team, however, put on a performance that has surely energized the fan base.

Four of the Hawkeyes’ eight touchdowns came from a source other than the offense. Junior wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley became the first Hawkeye ever to return two punts for a touchdown in the same game. The Hawkeyes got another record-setting performance from senior defensive back B.J. Lowery, who became the first Hawkeye ever to record two interception returns for touchdowns in the same game.

On offense, the Hawkeyes gained 446 yards of offense, 258 of which came on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock finished the game 10 of 15 for 134 yards and two touchdown passes. Jordan Canzeri led the Hawkeyes in rushing with 74 carries on 13 attempts. Junior Ray Hamilton led Iowa in receiving with three catches for 39 yards.

For the first time this season, the Iowa offense eclipsed the 30 point mark. The Hawkeyes stuck to their game plan in this game, with the exception of pounding Mark Weisman. Weisman carried the ball just 10 times for 45 yards.

On defense, it was the best performance of the season so far. The Hawkeyes held the Broncos to just nine first downs and 209 total yards of offense. Iowa got four turnovers and only allowed Western Michigan to convert one third down.

Once again, the combination of effective running and defense led to a decisive time of possession advantage for the Hawkeyes. Iowa held onto the ball for nearly 13 minutes longer than Western Michigan. The +4 turnover margin was the Hawkeyes’ best of the season.

Iowa’s special teams were the primary reason for the blowout performance. The Hawkeyes averaged 32 yards per kickoff/punt return in the game, their best average of the season by far.

This was exactly what Iowa needed to close out its non-conference schedule. As the Hawkeyes get ready to head to Minneapolis this week, they will have the knowledge that they are capable of playing at a high level.

Derek Helling is a Big 10 football writer for Follow him on Twitter @DRokSH, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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