116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Kinnick Stadium had no shortage of lightning Saturday night, both literally and metaphorically.
Literally, severe weather in the Iowa City area prompted an 80-minute delay. Then after 12 minutes of warmups and nine minutes of football, a 110-minute delay ensued.
Play resumed shortly before midnight. After one play — a dropped pass from Nevada on third-and-22 — a third 46-minute lightning delay happened.
Metaphorically, Iowa (2-1) had a flash of lightning from its previously-quiet offense Saturday en route to a definitive 27-0 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack in a game that lasted about seven hours.
It didn’t take long for Iowa’s offense to strike, scoring as many points in the first quarter of Saturday’s win as in its first two games combined.
“Everything just clicked today,” wide receiver Arland Bruce IV said.
Iowa first scored with a 40-yard touchdown run from true freshman Kaleb Johnson — his first career touchdown run and first carry of more than 8 yards.
“He got a little bit of daylight and knew what to do with that,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s for sure.”
Then later in the first quarter, Iowa had a four-play, 41-yard touchdown drive that ended with quarterback Spencer Petras’ first touchdown pass of the year — a 21-yard pass to a wide-open Bruce. A Cooper DeJean interception set up the drive.
Iowa’s defense preserved its largest lead of 2022 with ease, not giving up any points while giving several younger players opportunities in the fourth quarter.
The closest the Wolf Pack came to scoring was when an Iowa offside penalty set up a 57-yard field goal attempt, but the kick from Brandon Talton was wide right.
Nevada quarterback Shane Illingworth was 14-for-28 for 82 yards and an interception. The Wolf Pack’s rushing attack averaged just 1.9 yards per carry.
Over the course of the seven-hour game, Petras was 14-for-26 with a touchdown and no interceptions.
“Spencer, I thought, made some beautiful throws tonight- and some real near-misses,” Ferentz said. “Hopefully, in time, those will be completions.”
The running game, sparked by Johnson, who scored again in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard run, averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Gavin Williams added 57 yards on 16 attempts.
“The run game wasn’t perfect, but they did some better things,” Ferentz said. “So that’s encouraging.”
Iowa had a few more offensive weapons in the 27-0 win. Wide receivers Keagan Johnson and Nico Ragaini were both back from injuries that sidelined them in the first two weeks of the season.
Johnson and Ragaini’s return, along with a heavier workload for Brody Brecht, allowed Iowa to play with more three-wide-receiver sets.
“It felt a little bit more like the kind of football you want to play,” Ferentz said.
While the win showed improvement for the Iowa offense that has often been in distress, the Wolf Pack will likely end the season as the worst opponent on the 2022 schedule. A week earlier, FCS-level Incarnate Word smoked the Wolf Pack for 55 points.
The Hawkeyes will have less margin for error in their remaining games.
Iowa will begin Big Ten play next week at Rutgers before playing host to reigning Big Ten champion Michigan. It needs to go 4-5 in its conference slate to be eligible for a bowl.