Iowa Football

Iowa vs. Middle Tennessee Game Report: Grades, numbers, notes and more

Hawkeyes cruise in warm-up for Michigan

Iowa running back Toren Young (28) runs the ball as Middle Tennessee safety Jovante Moffatt (7) wraps up his leg during their game Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Young had 131 of the Hawkeyes' 351 rushing yards in their 49-3 win. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Iowa running back Toren Young (28) runs the ball as Middle Tennessee safety Jovante Moffatt (7) wraps up his leg during their game Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Young had 131 of the Hawkeyes' 351 rushing yards in their 49-3 win. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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No. 14 Iowa crushed Middle Tennessee, 48-3, in its final nonconference game Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Check out our play of the game, grades, noteworthy numbers and more in the Game Report

Play of the Game

THE SETUP: Look, we all know there was no Play of the Game. There was no turning point, no drama, no unforgettable moment. Middle Tennessee joins Eastern Illinois, North Texas, and other nonconference teams that left no cleatprints here. But since we do this anyway … Iowa scored on its first two possessions for a 10-0 lead and had a second-and-10 at its 41 late in the first quarter when …

WHAT HAPPENED: Nate Stanley threw a pass down the middle that briefly looked destined to be intercepted by Middle Tennessee safety Reed Blankenship at the Iowa 45.

THE RESULT: The ball went off the leaping Blankenship’s hands and into those of intended (and alert) Iowa wide receiver Tyrone Tracy, who proceeded to the Blue Raiders 26 for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, Stanley threw an 18-yard TD pass to Brandon Smith, it was 17-0, and no one in the crowd of 63,706 had any doubt about where this thing was headed.

Tracy deserves this recognition since he also had a 19-yard catch on third-and-9 on Iowa’s first possession, a play in which he looked like he was waiting for a bus as he stood waiting for a scrambling Stanley to spot him near the left sideline. Then he had a 33-yard catch-and-run late in the third quarter that the fans enjoyed quite much.

 
 

Grades

Jeff Johnson: A-

I could have called plays, and Iowa would have gained mega yards on that Middle Tennessee defense. That’s hyperbole. But still ...

Mike Hlas: A-

Last week Kirk Ferentz said “I’m not good on grades and I hate them in the paper, with all due respect, when you guys grade things.” Hey, I’m not big on it myself.

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By the Numbers

0 — Middle Tennessee didn’t have a first down in the first quarter.

3 — Iowa had its third-straight game without a turnover. Nate Stanley hasn’t thrown an interception this season over 118 passes.

4 — Iowa is 4-0 for the fifth time under Kirk Ferentz. The other seasons were 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2015. The Hawkeyes won 10 or more games in three of those years.

4 — Four Hawkeyes had rushes of 10-plus yards in the first half, including Nate Stanley on a quarterback keeper on a third-and-1.

6 — With fullback Brady Ross, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and quarterback Spencer Petras rushing for touchdowns, that makes seven Hawkeyes who have done so this season.

11 — The Hawkeyes have won 11 straight nonconference games.

19 — The Hawkeyes have scored in 19 consecutive quarters, dating to the second quarter of last season’s Outback Bowl.

33 — Iowa’s three home wins are by an average of 33 points.

60 — Stanley threw two touchdown passes to give him 60 in his career, one behind Drew Tate for second on Iowa’s all-time list. Chuck Long is first at 74.

91 — Three Hawkeye running backs rushed for at least 91 yards. Toren Young had 131 yards, Mekhi Sargent 97 and Goodson 91.

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644 — The Hawkeyes’ 644 yards was the most in the 21-year Kirk Ferentz era and most since getting 658 against Northern Iowa in 1997.

Notes

This wasn’t complicated. It was about Iowa taking advantage of size and leverage advantages on both sides of the ball. The Hawkeyes were able to rush with apparent ease. They had 51 carries for 351 yards, 6.9 yards per tote. Sargent had 19 rushes for 91 yards in the first half, and Young totaled a career-high 131. Young had a 52-yard burst on the Hawkeyes’ first play of the second half.

Oh yeah, Iowa also had 293 passing yards for a well-rounded 644 total yards. That happens to be the most a Kirk Ferentz Iowa team ever amassed.

Defensively, the Hawkeyes surrendered just 216 yards, their third game holding a foe under 275.

A telling tale of Iowa’s season to date is time of possession. The Hawkeyes began the day fourth in the nation in time of possession with 36:11 per game with their opponents averaging just 51.7 plays per contest. Saturday was more of the same when they had the ball for 35:57.

Carson King was here. The Iowa marching band was here. Anheuser-Busch was represented here, at least in certain coolers in Kinnick tailgate spots. Why, it was a virtual two-week reunion of the Iowa-Iowa State game, minus the Cyclones.

King wore Cyclone red to the game, but was received like a Hawkeye hero. His Venmo fundraiser for the UI’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital hit the $2 million mark Friday.

“What it represents is so fantastic,” Ferentz said after the game, “and it’s a nonpartisan thing. It’s for Iowans and all people to feel good about.

“It’s a gesture, a selfless act by an individual who happens to be from our state. Maybe we can make him an Iowa Hawkeye fan one of these days.”

 
 

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C.J. Beathard and George Kittle were here, too. The third-year San Francisco 49ers quarterback and third-year 49ers tight end returned to their alma mater on their team’s bye week. The 49ers, like the Hawkeyes, are unbeaten.

Injury Report

The Hawkeyes seemed to have as good a game from a health aspect as from the scoreboard standpoint. Among those who didn’t play because of previous injuries: Offensive tackle Alaric Jackson (knee), was out for the third-straight game. He was, however, in uniform and went through warm-ups with the team, and is a good bet to return in the next game.

Offensive guard Kyler Schott (foot), defensive tackle Brady Reiff and defensive backs Matt Hankins, Kaevon Merriweather, Julius Brents and Riley Moss missed the game. Cole Banwart, who missed the first two games with a leg injury, started in Schott’s place at right guard.

Up next

Things are about to get real. It’s Big Ten from here until the bowl game. The No. 14 Hawkeyes (4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) play at No. 20 Michigan Saturday (11 a.m. CT, Fox). The Wolverines (3-1, 1-1) routed Rutgers Saturday in Ann Arbor, 52-0.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.