116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A closer look at Iowa’s 27-0 win over Nevada on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
The turning point was a lightning bolt. Metaphorically.
OK, it wasn’t one of the countless lightning strikes that forced hours of delays. This is from the game itself.
Iowa running back Kaleb Johnson, a 6-foot, 212-pound, 19-year-old first-year freshman from Ohio, took a handoff at the Nevada 40-yard line on the Hawkeyes’ third possession.
Johnson followed his blockers up the middle, then was wrapped up by Wolf Pack safety Bentlee Sanders at the 25. Johnson, carrying the ball for the eighth time in his career, ran over Sanders, then ran away from the rest of the Wolf Pack to the end zone with 4:36 left in the first quarter.
It was a touchdown. An offensive touchdown. For the Hawkeyes. Yes, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
And it was a lead that didn’t just endure, but grew.
By the numbers
1 — Iowa’s Drew Stevens made his first career field goal try, a 43-yarder in the second quarter. Hawkeye wide receiver Brody Brecht made his first career catch. Nico Ragaini and Keagan Johnson had their first catches of the season. Freshman defensive lineman Aaron Graves had his first career quarterback sack.
46 — Iowa’s first offensive play after the third lightning delay was a 46-yard pass from Petras to Ragaini.
52 — Gavin Williams and Kaleb Johnson had 52 rushing yards apiece in the first half for the Hawkeyes.
66 — Nevada’s Matt Freem had the longest punt of the game, something few would have bet on earlier in the day given Iowa has Tory Taylor. Freem hit a 66-yarder in the second quarter. He had a 70-yarder earlier in the season. Taylor averaged 48.7 yards in the first half, Freem 48.6.
337 — Iowa had 337 yards, topping its total yardage over its first two games.
* The game was suspended three times between 8:37 p.m. and 12:42 a.m. because of lightning, forcing mandatory evacuations of the Kinnick stands.
The crowd at game’s end was in the hundreds.
* Iowa no longer has more punts than points this season. The Hawkeyes entered this week as the nation’s only team with distinction, with 16 punts and 14 points.
* Hey Ya! Big Boi was at the game.
Big Boi was half of the Emmy-winning hip-hop duo Outkast, and is also an actor. His son, Cross Patton, is a sophomore running back for Nevada.
Big Boi smartly got possession of a pancho with the Iowa Tiger Hawk logo. It rained, considerably.
* Nevada practiced Friday at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids.
“Last March or April they called asking about availability the Friday before the game,” said Mount Mercy Athletics Director Paul Gavin said Friday. “This is my seventh year at Mount Mercy and we’d never had that request.
“We were happy to help. We’ve had middle school football games here, but we’ve never had another high school or college team here.”
* The Wolf Pack started one player from Nevada, offensive tackle Trey Hamilton. They have six Nevadans on their roster.
Iowa wide receivers Keagan Johnson and Nico Ragaini made their season debuts.
Hawkeye running back Leshon Williams, who had 106 of the team’s 115 rushing yards over the first two games, did not play because he was attending his father’s funeral in Chicago. Gavin Williams, Iowa’s No. 1 running back in fall camp before an injury of his own, got the start.
Hawkeye linebacker Jestin Jacobs didn’t play.
Iowa plays its first road game and first Big Ten game when it faces Rutgers (3-0) Saturday at 6 p.m. (Central time, FS1) in Piscataway, N.J.
The Scarlet Knights squeezed out a 16-14 win at Temple Saturday despite managing just 201 yards, and 59 passing yards. Rutgers’ lone touchdown came on an interception return for a touchdown.