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Game Report: Iowa Hawkeyes 33, Illinois Fighting Illini 23
Notes, numbers and more from Hawkeyes’ win
A closer look at No. 17 Iowa’s 33-23 win over Minnesota on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Illinois had every bit of the momentum in the first quarter. The Illini took the opening kickoff and drove easily 75 yards for a touchdown and 7-0 lead.
Iowa punter Tory Taylor then whiffed trying to field a punt snap, leading to an Illinois field goal and a 10-0 game.
But Charlie Jones got Iowa right back into it. Jones fielded the ensuing kickoff at the goal line outside the left hashmark. He cut across the field, got a couple of huge blocks that sprung him down the left sideline and into the end zone.
The official yardage was 100 yards. The Hawkeyes eventually took the lead early in the second quarter and went on to get the victory.
By the numbers
5.5 — Tackles for loss by Illinois linebacker Isaiah Gay. He had 3.5 this season coming into the game. Gay also recorded a sack.
13 — Consecutive wins for Iowa in games played in November and December.
30 — Penalty yards on one play for Illinois early in the fourth quarter. A kerfuffle broke out on the Iowa sideline after a Jones punt return, with the Illini being assessed two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
54 — The unseasonably warm temperature at kickoff.
A Marchese family reunion
Iowa defensive back Henry Marchese was greeted by the “enemy” during Senior Day pregame ceremonies.
Besides Henry’s parents, waiting for him at midfield was Illini tight end Michael Marchese, also a senior. Henry and Michael are twin brothers. Their father, John Marchese of Vernon Hills, Ill., played football at Iowa from 1982-86.
It’s quite a football family. Henry’s brothers, Jimmy and Joe, played at Illinois and Maryland, respectively. Their uncle, Dan, played for Army from 1978-82.
Schulte gets first major run at safety
With starting free safety Jack Koerner out with an injury incurred last week against Minnesota, Quinn Schulte got the initial major playing time of his Hawkeyes career.
The sophomore walk-on from Cedar Rapids Xavier had one solo tackle. He made a huge defensive play on fourth down with about six minutes left, when he knocked the ball out of Illinois tight end Daniel Barker’s hands as Barker fell to the turf and appeared to have caught it.
Schulte also was briefly called for targeting on a hit over the middle on an Illinois receiver in the final minute. After review, the call was reversed, and Schulte remained in the game.
Koerner wasn’t the only absence in the Iowa secondary.
Starting cornerback Matt Hankins also missed Saturday’s game with an injury. It was a particularly tough blow for the senior, who did not get a final playing appearance at Kinnick Stadium.
Cornerback Terry Roberts continued being out with a lower-leg issue. Iowa went with Jermari Harris and Riley Moss as starting corners, with Kaevon Merriweather and Schulte at safety much of the game, as well as Dane Belton, who moved between safety and cash.
Quarterback Spencer Petras was recovered enough from his shoulder injury to be available, though Alex Padilla played the entire game. Offensive tackle Mason Richman also remained out, with Iowa’s starting offensive line again being Jack Plumb, Connor Colby, Tyler Linderbaum, Kyler Schott and Nick DeJong.
Jones appeared to injure a shoulder after being taken hard to the turf on a punt return early in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game later.
The regular-season finale is Friday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Nebraska went into its Saturday afternoon game at Wisconsin with a 3-7 record. Nebraska has failed to qualify again for a bowl game, its last bowl appearance in the Music City Bowl in 2016.
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