Iowa Football

Game Report: Iowa Hawkeyes 49, Michigan State Spartans 7

IOWA CITY — A closer look at Iowa’s 49-7 win over Michigan State on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Turning point

Was it when Michigan State won the coin toss and opted to defer until the second half, giving Iowa the opening kickoff?

If not, it’s certainly high on the list. The Hawkeyes proceeded to go 75 yards for a touchdown on that first possession for a lead they wouldn’t come close to surrendering.

That drive pretty much told the story of the game. Iowa had 44 yards rushing and 36 passing on the possession. The key play was a 27-yard run to the MSU 6 by wide receiver Charlie Jones on a jet sweep. The Hawkeyes scored a touchdown three plays later.

It was just the tip of the iceberg that the Titanic — er, the Spartans — hit. The Hawkeyes struck again in the first quarter, and had touchdowns via rush, punt return and interception return in the second quarter for a 35-0 lead at the break.


By the numbers

6 — Iowa scored a second-half touchdown against a Big Ten opponent for the first time in its last six conference games. It scored a TD in the third quarter for the first time in its last seven Big Ten outings.


9 — The Hawkeyes were in Michigan State territory in nine different possessions.

9 — Keith Duncan’s streak of nine straight made field goals for Iowa was snapped in the second quarter when he missed a 37-yarder.

10 — The Hawkeyes have intercepted passes in their last 10 games. Jack Koerner got a pick on Michigan State’s first possession, Koerner’s second in two weeks. Two Spartan possessions later, Iowa’s Barrington Wade got his second pick of the season. Riley Moss added one late in the first half.

13 — This is the 13th-straight season the Hawkeyes have returned an interception for a touchdown. Moss went 54 yards with his pick with 1:30 left in the first half.

21 — This was the first time Iowa scored more than 21 points against Michigan State in their last six meetings.

27 — Jones’ 27-yard run was on his first career rushing attempt. He gained 11 more yards on his second carry and was second on Iowa’s rushing list Saturday.

42 — Iowa’s margin of victory was its largest against a Michigan State team. The Hawkeyes beat the Spartans 41-0 in 1980.

71 — Tyler Goodson’s 71-yard run was Iowa’s longest rush since Akrum Wadley’s 75-yard TD against Nebraska in 2016.



Iowa’s defensive line easily had its best game. Deviyon Nixon remained his excellent self this season. Chauncey Golston had 1.5 sacks. Zach VanValkenburg had a half-sack, and a solo tackle for a loss. Joe Evans had three quarterback hurries. Jack Heflin had a tackle for a loss and a QB hurry.

Balance wasn’t a problem for Iowa’s offense Saturday.

The Hawkeyes had 51 passes and 23 rushes in their 21-20 loss to Northwestern the week before. That wasn’t the ratio that fits the Iowa ideal. Or anyone else’s outside of Mike Leach.

In the first half against Michigan State, the Hawkeyes had 20 rushes, 19 passes, 121 yards passing and 88 rushing.

This was a star turn of sorts for Iowa wide receiver Jones. His 27-yard run was Iowa’s longest of 2020. Until, that is, Goodson had a career-long 71-yarder in the third quarter.

Jones had a 31-yard punt return early in the second quarter, then had another long return shortened by penalty. His third return was of a line drive punt by Bryce Baringer. Jones grabbed it and sped 54 yards for a touchdown.

Jones transferred to Iowa as a walk-on from Buffalo, where he had 18 catches and 15 kickoff returns as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He hadn’t returned a punt until this season.

The legend of Iowa freshman punter Tory Taylor continues. Taylor had seven punts for a 45.9-yard average Saturday. His season totals are 16 punts for a 46.0-yard average.

Taylor isn’t all foot and no finesse. He had a 46-yarder that was downed at the MSU 6 in the third quarter. He later had a punt from the MSU 40 that was fair-caught at the Spartans’ 11 and one from the MSU 42 that was stopped at the MSU 4.

“Totally unexpected,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said of Taylor’s impact.


“He doesn’t seem fazed by anything, including wind. ... He’s gained all of our confidence.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Padilla of Greenwood Village, Colo., got his first playing time as a Hawkeye. His first play was a 6-yard keeper, his first completion a 12-yarder to fellow frosh Alec Kritta, who made his first college catch. Freshman running back Gavin Williams of Altoona gained 28 yards on his first eight career carries.

Ferentz was given the game ball by his players for passing Joe Paterno for wins as a member of the Big Ten. Ferentz has 163.

Iowan Rocky Lombardi had a tough go of it as Michigan State’s quarterback. He completed 17 of 37 passes, and was intercepted three times.

The line for this game opened last week at Iowa being favored by seven points at nearly all Las Vegas sportsbooks. At kickoff, it was Iowa by 5.5 at most books, 4.5 at the South Point. This was the first time this season the Hawkeyes covered, and without a sweat from those who backed them.

Injury report

Iowa was without offensive linemen Coy Cronk (ankle) and Kyler Schott, who started the first two games. Mark Kallenberger started at right tackle, Cody Ince at right guard. It was Ince’s first career start. It was Kallenberger’s sixth, but first at tackle.

Linebacker Jack Campbell (mono) and defensive lineman Austin Schulte were out a third-straight week. Schulte, who was first team on the depth chart entering Week 1, has been cleared to resume participating Sunday.

Social summaries

From Twitter

“It was the best of times.” — @JAKlindt

“Where was this Iowa team the last two weeks?” — @JasonPulliamDM


“The last couple of weeks were Rocky, but this time Iowa turned it around on Michigan State.” — @JohnWarnke

“Some days, everything goes your way.” — @oompahead

“Michigan is overrated.” — @bigtkirk

Up next

The Hawkeyes play at Minnesota Friday night at 6 p.m. (FS1).

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