AMES — Everyone Hawkeye did something on this road trip. They had to. At one point, the bus was in a ditch somewhere between Colo and Mingo.
Everyone had to get out and push.
During the second storm delay, the two-hour and six-minute one, Iowa support staff left the locker room and went out into Ames for sandwiches.
No, the No. 19 Hawkeyes didn’t plan for nearly three hours of storm delays, so someone had to go get snacks.
“Credit to our managers and state troopers, too,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They went out and got like 60 sandwiches from three different stores at one point. I walked in and someone was eating a big hoagie.
“It was kind of interesting, but there’s a first time for everything.”
That was the first time Keith Duncan kicked four field goals in a game. It wasn’t his first game-winner. You know he beat Michigan in 2016 with a 33-yarder in 2016. This was his first game-winner after waiting two years to have a chance to regain the job.
Duncan’s 39-yarder with 4:51 left in the game pushed the Hawkeyes past Iowa State on Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium.
“In offseason workouts, coach Ferentz and (strength coach Chris) coach Doyle put a big emphasis on mental and physical toughness,” said Duncan, who hit field goals of 25, 40, 42 and 39. “It’s won with mental toughness and that’s what showed tonight.”
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This was the first time cornerback D.J. Johnson started a game for the Hawkeyes. He got caught with his eyes in the backfield on a flea flicker and got beat for a 51-yard TD and a 7-3 Cyclones lead in the first quarter, after wide receiver Deshaunte Jones threw to a wide-open La’Michael Pettway.
Johnson played for junior Matt Hankins, who sat out with a hamstring injury suffered last week. Along with Hankins, the Hawkeyes also were missing safety Kaevon Merriweather in the secondary.
So, it was the first time free safety Jack Koerner got to knock down a pass on fourth-and-13 in the fourth quarter. By the way, it was his second start.
“The ball was halfway through and everything in my mind was telling me to pick it off,” Koerner said. “At the last minute, I thought this is fourth down, I better bat this down. It was an electric feeling.”
The Hawkeyes still needed to drain two minutes off the clock and could only manage a 31-second drive. So, ISU quarterback Brock Purdy, the guy who most definitely would’ve been the player of the game in normal circumstances, was going to get a first down and 1:29 at around the ISU 22.
Defensive back Datrone Young was trying to block a Hawkeye, but instead ran into punt returner Deshaunte Jones and the ball flopped to the turf.
“The game obviously, in a lot of ways, was frustrating. And frustrating because it was our detail that really earned us what happened at the end of the football game,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “... Gosh, you know Speedy’s trying to do a great job, trying to give us a chance to return it.”
So, another first. Iowa reserve safety and special teamer Devonte Young recovered his first fumble. Other than special teams tackles, that was Young’s first stat.
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“Always expect the unexpected,” Young said. “I saw the ball hit the ground, I just dove on it. It was a big moment.”
So, then it was championship formation and maybe another shot at sub sandwiches. Quarterback Nate Stanley passed ... on the sandwich. He completed 22 of 35 for 201 yards, including a pair of super-clutch completions on the drive to set up Duncan’s field goal.
This was the Hawkeyes’ fifth consecutive victory in the Cy-Hawk series. Even after a nearly six-hour game, the Hawkeyes did huddle up, find and then carry the Cy-Hawk Trophy back to their lockeroom.
“Just to be able to celebrate with my teammates, that’s the most special thing,” Stanley said. “Being in that locker room and being able to hold up that trophy and seeing guys start to tear up, that’s what makes it special and that’s what makes it so awesome.”
So, now a bye week and a little regrouping. Hankins, Merriweather and defensive tackle Brady Reiff were held out due to injury. Maybe offensive tackle Alaric Jackson (sprained knee) has a chance to return for the Sept. 28 game vs. Middle Tennessee State.
Either way, lots of firsts for the Hawkeyes on Saturday night at Jack Trice. And sandwiches.
Junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa did eat a sub during the second delay. He was hungry.
“Yeah, they were really good,” Epenesa said. “I needed one really bad.”
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