INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
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PLAY OF THE GAME
Set up — Iowa was doing OK. It was 14-3 early in the second quarter and the Hawkeyes faced a second-and-10 from Iowa State’s 12. The Cyclones put a decent rush on Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard on first down. It was still a game, but Iowa was looking for a knockout.
What the heck happened — Beathard had a ton of time to throw, which is a story in itself, with center James Daniels out with a knee injury and being replaced by sophomore Lucas LeGrand. Beathard saw wide receiver Matt VandBerg clear an ISU defender on a crossing pattern late in the play.
Beathard had some pressure, but still put a perfect pass that only VandeBerg could reach.
The result — VandeBerg turned and stabbed the ball out of the air with defensive back D’Andre Payne trailing. Payne’s coverage was fine. The pass and VandeBerg’s spinning effort were too much. This gave a 21-3 lead with 10:15 left in the first half.
It capped a brilliant first half from Beathard (three TD passes) and VandeBerg (five catches for 89 yards and a TD).
A — I don’t like Iowa State’s chances at TCU next week.
A — Bright lights, big I don’t have anything that really fits here, but you get it.
A — This reminded me of the “Herman, leave no doubt” line from “Remember the Titans.”
Former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable autographed copies of his book “A Wrestling Life” outside Iowa Book in downtown Iowa City early Saturday afternoon, conversing with all sorts of people who knew who he was.
And one who didn’t.
A woman who from Wisconsin looked at one of the books, with Gable’s photo on the cover “Is that you?” she asked. “Oh, that’s awesome. You’re the wrestling guy. Do they have a wrestling team here?”
“Did you just say that?” Gable answered in semi-shock. “I’ve never been asked that before around here. We have 23 national championships.”
“Are you the coach?” the woman countered.
“I was for 15 national championships,” he said.
She went on her way, and Gable told others who standing nearby “Can you believe she asked me if we had a wrestling program?”
That got a good laugh, and it put a grin on Gable’s face. But then he gave a more-typical reaction.
“We need to do a lot of work yet.”
HAWKEYES LAND RECRUIT
While the Hawkeyes were dominating their way to a second straight win against the Cyclones, the Iowa men’s basketball team got a bit of a win of its own.
Four-star center Luke Garza announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes on Twitter just before the Iowa-Iowa State game kicked off.
“I have decided that I will be attending the University of Iowa,” Garza posted on Twitter. “It’s a blessing to see the hard work pay off, but I know it’s just the beginning.”
Garza chose Iowa over 20 other schools, including Indiana, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Louisville. The Maret School (Washington, D.C.) senior is ranked on the ESPN 100 as the 17th best center in the nation and 24th best player in his region.
The 6-foot-11, 250-pounder doesn’t have a flashy game, but has impressed recruiters with how he uses his body and height effectively. He averaged 25.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game during his junior season, and his recruiting interest spiked over the last year.
“I can stretch the floor and I can hit the midrange shot and have pretty good moves in the post,” Garza said in an interview with USA Today in June. “I have to go with my advantages. I’m not the most athletic guy, so I have to use fakes and stuff to get around. When guys don’t box out, I have to take advantage.”
Garza is the second commitment of the 2017 class for Iowa. Head coach Fran McCaffery’s son, Iowa City West guard Connor McCaffery — also a four-star recruit — was the first.
BY THE NUMBERS
14 — Points scored each of the first three quarters by the Hawkeyes
9 — Tackles by Josey Jewell in his return after being ejected in Week 1.
4.5 — Sacks by a player with the last name “Nelson” so far this season.
4 — Drives in a row that ended in a touchdown for Iowa to close the first half.
3 — Touchdowns rushing and passing for the Hawkeyes.
2 — Quarterbacks used by both teams.
2 — Cy-Hawk wins in a row for the Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes saw a pair of starters out against the Cyclones on Saturday night, with one on each side of the ball, and another who missed significant time in the game.
Starting center James Daniels suffered a leg injury this week during practice, and was ruled out late in the week. Sophomore center Lucas LeGrand got the start in his place, the first of his career. Daniels wasn’t the only offensive lineman Iowa had to go without Saturday night, either. Starting right guard Sean Welsh went down with an injured right ankle during the first half. He had his ankle retaped and returned, but had a noticeable limp.
On defense, defensive end Parker Hesse did not play while still recovering from his injured left hamstring, sustained in Week 1 against Miami (Ohio). Redshirt freshman Anthony Nelson got his first career start in Hesse’s place.
In positive injury news for the Hawkeyes, wide receiver Jay Scheel made his season debut after missing Week 1 with injury. He caught one pass for 12 yards.
Iowa hosts FCS No. 1-ranked North Dakota State at 11 a.m. next Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes get the Bison (2-0) after the five-time defending FCS national champions had to go to overtime in their first two games. NDSU beat Charleston Southern, 24-17, in Week 1 and Eastern Washington, 50-44, on Saturday in Fargo, N.D.
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