Big 1st Half Propels Iowa Past Indiana
Oct. 22, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa football team piled up 339 yards of total offense and scored 35 points... in the first half. The offensive output was more than enough, as the Hawkeyes rolled to a 45-24 victory over Indiana on a Homecoming Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.
"The offense certainly had it going in the first half," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "They were clicking pretty well. We've seen some improvement out there, but we've seen a lot of things we can get better at. To come out with a win, we're happy about that."
Iowa finished the game with 456 yards of total offense, which included a balanced attack with 253 yards passing and 203 on the ground. Junior James Vandenberg completed 12-of-16 passes with a career-high four touchdowns, and sophomore Marcus Coker had 23 carries for 139 yards and two scores. It was Coker's second straight 100-yard game and fourth of the season.
Senior Marvin McNutt, Jr., had six catches for 183 yards -- both career-highs. His first touchdown put him into the top spot on Iowa's all-time career touchdown list, passing former greats Danan Hughes and Tim Dwight. His 183 yards also moved him into second place on the career yardage charts with 2,303-yards, 313 behind Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.
"I want to compliment Marvin on setting the record, it's quite a feat considering the careers Danan Hughes and Tim Dwight had as players, not only here, but beyond. It's a real tribute to Marvin's work ethic and his unselfishness in making the position change out to the receiver spot.
"I'm happy things have gone so well for him. He played really well today."
Sophomore Christian Kirksey paced the Iowa defense with 12 tackles (seven solo), while sophomores Tanner Miller and James Morris each had 10 stops. Former back-up quarterback A.J. Derby, who switched to the linebacker position during the week, saw action on special teams, where he recorded his first career tackle.
Both teams were running and slinging passes all over the field over the first quarter and a half. The offenses took center stage, as there were touchdown drives on the first five possessions of the game.
"I'm not sure I like these back-and-forths," said Ferentz on the postgame radio show with the "Voice of the Hawkeyes" Gary Dolphin. "I like it better when we score and then stop them."
The Hawkeyes struck first, using a 12-play, 69 yard drive over a seven-minute span to take a 7-0 lead. Iowa used its rushing attack to pound the ball downfield, running 11 times. The Hawkeyes eventually overcame a second and 24 when Vandenberg scrambled 24 yards up middle on a third and eight to the 13. Vandenberg's second rush moved the ball to the one before Coker scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Indiana answered with a 12-play, 88-yard drive of its own. The Hoosiers converted twice on third down, both of which were spearheaded by freshman quarterback Tre Roberson. On a third and 14 from the 45, Roberson had a 15-yard run on a draw play, and on a third and seven from the 34, he found Duwyce Wilson on a deep square in. The Hoosiers found the end zone on Roberson's 3-yard touchdown pass to Cody Lattimer.
Iowa wasted little time in putting its second touchdown on the scoreboard. After a Coker run for no gain on first down, Vandenberg found a wide open McNutt for an 80-yard toss-and-catch for the score. The senior wide receiver ran a deep square-in route following a play-action fake, and Michael Hunter and Alexander Webb picked each other, causing McNutt to be all alone on the IU sidelines.
The Hoosiers put together their second extended drive to tie the game, as it covered 73 yards over 13 plays. Iowa forced Indiana into three third downs, but the Hoosiers kept the Hawkeyes off balance and continued to convert. Stephen Houston's 6-yard run on third and six kept the drive alive in Iowa's red zone, before he pounded his way into the end zone for a 1-yard score.
The Hawkeyes regained the advantage with another quick scoring drive, going 72 yards on four plays in 1:23. Coker rushed for seven yards on first down before rumbling for a 41 yard game on the next play -- his longest gain of the season -- moving the ball to the Indiana 24.
After checking the play at the line of scrimmage, Vandenberg narrowly missed McNutt on a fade to the corner of the end zone. The junior quarterback went back to the well a second time on the next snap, checking to the same play at the line, but this time, the duo connected for the 24-yard scoring strike.
The UI defense forced the game's first punt on the ensuing possession. On third and six from the 18, Broderick Binns went right and Mike Daniels went left on a stunt. Binns and Dominic Alvis closed in on Roberson for the 8-yard sack.
Starting near midfield, the Hawkeyes marched 56 yards on 10 plays to make the score 28-14. Vandenberg connected with a 30-yard completion on a back-shoulder throw to McNutt to move the ball to the four. Coker then rushed twice before finding the end zone with 1:38 left in the half.
The Iowa defense forced a three-and-out with Indiana deep in its own territory, and the offense made the Hoosiers pay by perfectly executing its two-minute drill to take a 35-14 lead into the half. Taking over at the IU 47-yardline with one minute remaining, Vandenberg completed all three of his attempts, including a 29-yard scoring toss to leaping McNutt in the southeast corner of the end zone.
The offenses hit a road block -- well sort of -- in their opening drives of the second half.
Indiana put together a solid drive, moving the ball all the way down to the Iowa 1-yard line, but the Hawkeyes held. Roberson had a 5-yard touchdown run overturned by instant replay, placing the ball at the one. He was then stuffed for no gain on third and goal from the one. Initially, Indiana elected to go for the six points, but a false start by Andrew McDonald forced the Hoosiers to settle for Mitch Ewald's 22-yard field goal.
Senior Jordan Bernstine gave Iowa excellent field position with a 62 yard return on the ensuing kickoff, moving the ball to the Indiana 37 yard line. The Hawkeyes moved the chains down to the 14 with a 10-yard completion to Zach Derby. Following a hold and a Coker rush, making it second and 12, Indiana used a pair of blitzes to move Iowa backwards. Mike Meyer put three points on the board with a 47-yard field goal, making the score 38-17.
The Iowa defense bent, allowing Indiana to move the ball 80 yards down to the five yard line, but didn't break. With a first and goal from the eight, Houston carried the ball three yards to the five. Roberson's second down attempt to Ted Bolser was broken up by Kirksey, and the deflection was nearly picked off by Tom Donatell, but the linebacker couldn't maintain control throughout the play. The Hawkeyes kept the Hoosiers out of the end zone, as Roberson's attempts on third and fourth down were incomplete.
Iowa used an eight-play, 77 yard drive to score its sixth touchdown of the game and make the score 45-17. Iowa pounded the ball, getting 26 yards on the ground by freshman Jordan Canzeri and 14 yards by redshirt freshman De'Andre Johnson. Vandenberg found senior tight end Brad Herman for the one-yard completion, when he was wide open in the end zone following a play-action fake.
Indiana rode Roberson to score the game's final touchdown. His 34-yard scamper brought the Hoosiers to the Iowa 34-yard line, and his completion to Jay McCants moved IU into the red zone. An Iowa pass interference in the end zone moved the ball to the two, and two plays later Houston picked up a fumbled, direct snap and scored untouched up the middle.
Roberson finished 16-of-24 for 196 yards and one touchdown. He also led the Hoosiers with 82 rushing yards on 15 carries. Nine IU players caught at least one pass with Jamonne Chester leading the way with two receptions for 54 yards.
Iowa (5-2, 2-1) returns to action Saturday at Minnesota with opening kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. (CT).