Run-heavy Hawkeyes resist ISU
AMES – It wasn’t flashy.
And it wasn’t surprising either.
Though befitting Mark Weisman and his substance-over-style demeanor, what you see is what you get.
Slow and steady but always dependable, the Hawkeye tailback gashed the Cyclone defense time and again – giving Iowa everything it needed on the ground in a 27-21 victory in the annual Cy-Hawk series at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday.
Weisman surpassed the century mark for the third straight game with 145 yards on 35 carries as the Hawkeyes controlled the trenches from start to finish.
Iowa outgained the Cyclones in rushing 218-59, while nearly doubling them in time of possession – holding the ball for 38:03 – as Iowa picked up its 600th victory in school history.
“We’re thrilled to get the victory,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who improved to 3-5 at Jack Trice Stadium.
“We knew it would be a battle. It’s a battle every time we come to Ames. They don’t give victories away here. We had to earn it.”
Iowa State rallied late with a pair of fourth quarter touchdown strikes to Quenton Bundrage sandwiching a successful onside kick, though Iowa’s 20-point advantage established with 7:05 left in the game proved too much for the Cyclones.
“We made way too many mistakes to win a football game like this,” said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. “The University of Iowa did an excellent job of keeping the ball away from us and playing very sound football – and earning the victory tonight.”
That ball control started and ended with Weisman who nearly padded his seventh career 100-yard rushing game with a two-yard touchdown run that was overturned. Though the damage was done to Iowa State’s tiring line as Jake Rudock punched it in from a yard out on the following play to stretch Iowa’s lead to 27-7.
Weisman carried the ball seven times on the drive including a crucial a 12-yard rumble on 3rd and 8 before setting up Rudock’s plunge.
“Our goal is to come out and play as physical as possible,” said Weisman. “We would have liked to put them away a little sooner than that, so you have to give them credit for fighting.”
Bundrage kept the Cyclones in the fight and was a lone bright spot hauling in seven catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns. His last score – a 17-yard strike from Sam Richardson – brought ISU within 27-21 with 2:26 to play.
The duo hooked up on a 26-yard TD just two minutes earlier, following their 67-yard pitch and catch to charge up the Cyclone fans midway through the third. Trailing 13-0 at the half, the Cyclones got a jolt when Bundrage broke a tackle and raced down the sideline to pull ISU within 13-7 with 5:28 to go in the third.
“We haven’t had those kind of explosive plays in four years and two games,” said Rhoads. “That’s something that this offense has been sorely lacking.”
Iowa’s aerial attack had been largely lacking through the early season, though the Hawkeyes retaliated with a 26-yard strike to Jacob Hillyer to reclaim their 13-point cushion with 41 seconds left in the third.
Rudock completed 14-of-23 passes for 160 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while also adding a rushing score to upstage Richardson. The Iowa State signal caller appeared to favor his right ankle, which was injured in the season opener against Northern Iowa. After leading the Cyclones on the ground against UNI, Richardson had just 12 yards on eight attempts and completed 22-of-39 passes for 260 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Richardson didn’t get much help from his running backs as James White led all Cyclone rushers with 26 yards on five carries. Iowa State’s offensive line was dealt another early blow when backup center Jamison Lalk went down with an apparent knee injury in the first quarter. Lalk had replaced starter Tom Farniok – who went down with a knee injury against the Panthers – forcing Iowa State to bring in third-stringer Ben Loth.
Iowa struck first with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley early in the second quarter. Mike Meyer added a 27-yard field goal with 1:43 in the half, before nailing a 38-yarder off a James Morris interception and 27-yard return.
Though the Hawkeyes were hoping to ease the burden on Weisman following a 30-carry performance against Missouri State the week before, the Iowa back didn’t seem any worse for the wear following a career-high 35 carries.
“I love (getting 35 carries). Whatever coach wants, I’m willing to give it to him,” said Weisman. “I want to be the workhorse.”
David Irving forced the Hawkeyes’ lone turnover with a sack and forced fumble, which Cory Morrissey recovered. … B.J. Lowery had the Hawkeyes’ other interception – an athletic one-handed grab in the fourth quarter. Martin-Manley became the 20th Iowa player in program history to with at least 100 career receptions (101) and the 36th Hawkeye to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards (1,057). Iowa State wore throwback uniforms from the 1920s, similar to what Jack Trice wore 90 years ago in his only season with the Cyclones in 1923.