Iowa Football

Game Report, Iowa at Indiana: Grades, numbers, notes and more

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A look at Iowa’s 42-16 win Saturday over Indiana at Memorial Stadium.

Play of the Game

The Set Up: This game was tight for a while. Iowa did get off to a fast start, leading 14-3 after the first quarter, but QB Nate Stanley got fooled by a zone blitz. Indiana linebacker Thomas Allen picked him off and returned 30 yards into Iowa territory.

It didn’t take long for Indiana to pull within 14-10.

This was one of those days for Iowa’s offense when it wasn’t a question of “if,” but one of “when.”

Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s adventurous 60-yard kick return gave Iowa a first down at IU’s 38.

What Happened: Running back Mekhi Sargent rushed for 4 yards, 1 yard and then took a pass in the flat and cut back inside, made a few nice spinning moves and, 21 yards later, Iowa had first down at IU’s 12.

Indiana pinned its defensive hopes on a lot of blitzes. Iowa was good with that. Pass protection is the O-line’s best thing this season. Still, IU linebacker Marcelino Ball came off the edge and had Stanley wrapped up.

Stanley used all of his 6-foot-5, 242-pound body to shake off Ball. And then he took off to his right. At full speed, he zipped a pass over defenders and into wide receiver Nick Easley’s arms for a TD.

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The Result: Stanley made his worst mistake of the day and then immediately cleaned up his own mess, with huge assists from Smith-Marsette and Sargent.

On a day of pretty passes where you really had to debate which one of Stanley’s six TD passes you liked best, this one was a strong candidate. Stanley hit the bull’s eye on sprint after hula-hooping out of a tackle.

It was 21-10, but that was the sound of silence in Memorial Stadium.

— Marc Morehouse

Grades

Marc Morehouse: A-

Certainly, everyone has arrived at “Stanley the manly,” so I’ll just show myself out.

Mike Hlas: A

This was supposed to be a “trap game,” but the spring never came close to getting sprung.

Notes

• Offensively, this game quickly took on a similar look to the one Iowa played the week before in its 48-31 win at Minnesota. In both, the Hawkeyes scored touchdowns on their first two possessions.

The drives had the kind of balance the Wallendas would praise. If you count Indiana penalties on pass plays, the Hawkeyes had nine rushes and nine passes over the two drives. They had 67 yards rushing and 67 passing in the first quarter.

• Also like the Minnesota game, Iowa responded after Indiana scores. The Hawkeyes’ first points came after Indiana earned a field goal on its game-opening drive. When the Hoosiers got a 33-yard TD pass from Peyton Ramsey to Ty Fryfogle to cut their deficit to 14-10, Ihmir Smith-Marsette returned the kickoff 60 yards. Four plays later, Stanley hit Nick Easley for a touchdown.

• Except for a second-quarter misfire on a short pass that was picked off by Indiana Allen, Stanley was as crisp as Indiana’s early-morning dew. His first-half TD passes to T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant and Easley for 9, 28 and 12 yards, respectively, were all beauties.

• Discipline was a severe Indiana problem. Its sideline got two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties in the first half, the second on head coach Tom Allen. The Hoosiers had 10 penalties for 99 yards, including a third-quarter personal foul on an Iowa kickoff return and a fourth-period defensive holding call when Iowa had third-and-goal at the Indiana 8.

Of course, Iowa had 11 penalties for 110 yards. However, you look far more disciplined when you score 42 points instead of 16.

• Iowa has played six games. No linebacker has more than four starts. Kristian Welch tied injured Nick Niemann and Jack Hockaday Saturday with his fourth start of the season.

• Indiana noted the life of George Taliaferro, who died Monday at 91.

Taliaferro was the first African-American player drafted by an NFL team. He helped the 1945 Indiana team to a 9-0-1 record and its first Big Ten championship, as well as its only undefeated season. He was a first-team All-Big Ten player as a freshman. He also was a three-time Pro Bowl player.

Taliaferro’s No. 44 jersey number replaced the traditional IU logo on one side of Hoosier players’ helmets, and there was a moment of silence before the game after a tribute video to him was shown on the Memorial Stadium video screen. All flags on Indiana’s campus were lowered to half-staff.

By the Numbers

1 — Indiana had one takeaway. The Hoosiers have takeaways in each of their seven games. They needed a lot more than one this game.

2 — For the second-straight game, Iowa scored touchdowns on its first two possessions.

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4 — Iowa tight end Noah Fant has scored touchdowns in four straight games.

5 — Five different Hawkeyes caught touchdown passes, including backup senior fullback Austin Kelly, who had his first career score of any kind. It’s the second time in Iowa history five different players have caught scoring passes. The first time was in the 1984 Freedom Bowl.

6 — Iowa’s Nate Stanley threw six touchdown passes, one shy of the Big Ten record set by the Hawkeyes’ Chuck Hartlieb against Northwestern in 1987.

8 — This was Indiana’s eighth-straight Homecoming loss.

50 — Kirk Ferentz is 50 games over .500 at Iowa, with 148 wins and 98 losses.

208 — Hockenson had 107 receiving yards, Fant 101. Both had plays of at least 54 yards. The duo averaged 26 yards per catch. Iowa had a pair of 100-yard receivers for the first time since Keenan Davis and Marvin McNutt against Pittsburgh in 2011.

Injury report

Iowa played without No. 1 running back Ivory Kelly-Martin, who was under concussion protocol after getting hurt at Minnesota the game before.

Fant also was in concussion protocol after the Minnesota game, but entered the game on Iowa’s third offensive play and scored before the first quarter was over.

Iowa fullback Brady Ross suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game, but Hawkeyes Coach Kirk Ferentz was optimistic it wasn’t serious.

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The Hawkeyes played without two linebackers, Niemann and Hockaday. Niemann is close to returning from a leg injury. Hockaday suffered a knee injury at Minnesota last Saturday.

Cornerback Matt Hankins was in uniform after missing a game with a wrist injury, but he didn’t return to action. Freshmen corners Julius Brents and Riley Moss made their second-straight starts.

Up next

Iowa celebrates Homecoming with an 11 a.m. Kinnick Stadium game against Maryland Saturday. The Terrapins (4-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) beat Rutgers Saturday at Maryland, 34-7.

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