Three cool things:
1. Defensive tackle Jared Clauss always carried himself like a Des Moines businessman. With us, the media folks. I’m sure he was a wild-horse rider on the field.
He had his best season in 2002, piling up six sacks. He played two seasons with the Tennessee Titans. I’d call him a supporting player on that 2002 team, but six sacks? From a defensive tackle? If I remember correctly, Clauss came to Iowa as an offensive lineman and made the move to the D-line quickly.
This was his moment. He recovered a fumble in the end zone and the Hawkeyes took it from there.
Clauss was an honorary captain (we won’t say what game, you won’t like it) last season. He’s a financial adviser in Des Moines and looks tremendous. Looks like a golfer now. (Always amazes me seeing the linemen lose their weight. I think Steve Ferentz went from 280 to 200 in the blink of an eye.)
Anyway, Jared, take my retirement account and get me off this crazy thing. (Kidding, kidding, but yeah, if anyone knows a financial guy, I probably should get on that.)
2. They had special plays for Dallas Clark? Well, that’s what it says in the gamer. Even if they didn’t, could you tell? I mean, he made darn near every play look like it was called specifically for him.
3. Fred Russell was the one injury in 2002. He hurt his hand or shoulder at Miami (Ohio). That really was it. That was the huge, forgotten factor about 2002. Kirk Ferentz knows. He’s mentioned the luck Iowa had with injuries that season many times.
For Iowa to do big things, it does take a little luck. And it takes running backs. Not Saquon Barkleys, but dudes who can get it to point A or B. Do they have that guy in 2018 and can they enjoy good health?
Quote: “When things broke down, he made things happen,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said of Brad Banks. “That’s good to see. That’s a big part of his game and an extra dimension he can give us.”
This is what made Banks great. He was Iowa’s best QB at making something out of nothing. I don’t think any other Iowa QB in my time has come close to Banks in this. Maybe early 2015 C.J. Beathard before his groin went boing.
Note: Here’s Nate Kaeding’s excellence again. I still see Nate (last time at Jason Isbell in Cedar Rapids), so I can’t pump too much sunshine his way. But ... still maintain, one of the recruits who built this. He made a 51-yard field goal in this one, a career long and the seventh longest in Iowa history. It also tied Iowa’s record of 11 straight field goals.
It was so easy when you could fill a game story with Kaeding’s feats. Pun absolutely intended.
Why No. 112? — Do you even know what conference Utah State is in? This game was such a scheduling outlier.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2002
IOWA CITY — As far as metaphors go, it fits like a wristband.
Utah State was that bouncing ball, free in the end zone and full of so much promise and ego-soothing joy. Iowa was that lumbering defensive tackle, slobbering at thoughts of a free and easy touchdown.
There’s Utah State, there’s the ball. Don’t screw it up.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” said Jared Clauss, ably playing the role of lumbering defensive tackle. “Just don’t screw it up. Just dive to the side of the ball and scoop it in. Don’t screw it up.”
Iowa dove on the side, on the front and pretty much all over the Aggies, 48-7, Saturday before 54,211 at Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes (3-1) rolled up 518 yards of offense, including 300 rushing, and held Utah State (1-3) to just one touchdown drive and 21 rushing yards.
They even scored two TDs on bouncing balls in the end zone. Clauss closed the scoring with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the third quarter. Reserve linebacker Mike Follett jumped on a blocked punt earlier in the third quarter.
Clauss’ fumble recovery followed Nate Kaeding’s 51-yard field goal, a career long and the seventh longest in Iowa history. It tied Iowa’s record of 11 straight field goals.
“You see the ball free like that, you just want to get on it,” Follett said. “You don’t want to overrun it, pop it up in the air and look silly.”
The Hawkeyes did overrun the Aggies, in the way a football team is supposed to overrun another football team.
Sophomore Jermelle Lewis gained 109 yards on just nine carries, including a 75-yard TD dash with 10:42 left in the third.
Iowa has now produced a 100-yard rusher in its last seven games, with four different running backs reaching that mark.
The Iowa running back situation gets more interesting every week.
Junior Fred Russell, among the top 10 rushers in the nation, didn’t dress Saturday because of a bruised shoulder. Junior Aaron Greving, injury-addled so far this season, started, but gained just 48 yards on 12 carries before yielding to Lewis.
“It’s football, anybody can get beat up,” said Lewis, who leads Iowa with five TD runs. “It’s all about competition, but we help each other out, too. As long as somebody is having success, I think we’re all happy.”
The Hawkeyes did pop it in the air, but, again, it was a good thing.
A week after a disastrous third quarter that helped Iowa State rally to a 36-31 victory at Kinnick, quarterback Brad Banks completed 15 of 29 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown.
He also rushed seven times for 65 yards and a TD, a 1-yard option run that gave Iowa TDs on its first three possessions and a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Banks rushed for 62 yards in the first half, beating his career high (42) by 20 yards.
“Banks absolutely killed us,” USU Coach Mick Dennehy said. “It wasn’t just throwing the ball, but running it.”
Utah State threw a gob of blitzes at Banks, including a couple stolen right off last week’s Iowa State game tape. He missed a few hot reads, but he also kept his head and improvised his way to positive yards.
“When things broke down, he made things happen,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s good to see. That’s a big part of his game and an extra dimension he can give us.”
And apparently, tight end Dallas Clark hasn’t been voted off the island and out of Iowa’s offense.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior caught five passes for 67 yards. Banks tried to go his way several times.
And they didn’t even make it to the special plays put in this week designed to get Clark the ball.
“We did have some plays put in, but we didn’t make it that far,” said Clark, who had a streak of 14 straight games with at least one catch snapped last week. “We got some one-on-one situations and took advantage.”
Continuing on with the “Utah State is the ball” metaphor, Iowa didn’t look silly, either.
Specifically, the defense didn’t look silly. And the secondary, ranked last in the nation at No. 117, should move up at least a few pegs this week.
The Hawkeyes held quarterback Jose Fuentes and wideout Kevin Curtis in check, allowing 223 passing yards, no touchdowns and no big plays.
And the Hawkeyes did it without strong safety Bob Sanders, who missed the game with an ankle injury. Russell and Sanders are expected to return for next week’s Big Ten opener at Penn State.
“Our defense is stepping back up to where it’s supposed to be,” senior defensive tackle Colin Cole, who had USU quarterback Jeff Crosbie in a headlock when Crosbie fumbled and handed Clauss his TD. “If we can depend on the secondary, we can rush the passer with confidence.”
Really, Saturday was never about Utah State. Saturday was about the Hawkeyes. They were the bouncing ball, bouncing back from last week’s gut-blow loss to the Cyclones. Saturday was a first peek into Iowa’s guts.
A hangover and a struggle would’ve had the fans howling. A preoccupation with 15th-ranked Penn State (3-0) and a struggle wouldn’t have been any more palatable.
“We’re over the disappointment,” Cole said. “You lose a game like that, it lingers in your mind until you get a game and get a win. It’s erased now. Time to move on.”
All the bouncing balls are now covered, ego and Utah State included.
Time to for Penn State. Time for the Big Ten. Time for 100,000-seat stadiums and coaching legends and players people have heard of.
They didn’t screw that up Saturday.