Iowa’s 27-21 win over in-state rival Iowa State on Saturday wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz and Mark Weisman wouldn’t let that happen.
All afternoon, Ferentz stuck to the player and scheme that he had the utmost confidence would ensure him a win.
Handing the ball off to Weisman.
The junior running back rushed for 145 yards on a career-high 35 carries. Weisman has rushed for over 100 yards in three-straight games to start the season.
Ferentz and offensive coordinator Greg Davis decided early on in the game that they would focus on the ground attack as opposed to the passing game and sophomore Jake Rudock — who was making his first start against Iowa State.
Rudock wasn’t asked to beat Iowa State using his arm. He did manage the game well however, and finished with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Hawkeye quarterback also rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter — he has four rushing touchdowns through three games.
Ferentz dared the defense of Iowa State to stop Weisman and the offensive line from constantly rushing the ball. The Cyclones held Iowa’s running backs out of the end zone, but couldn’t prevent them from consistently moving the chains.
The Hawkeyes gained 21 first downs against their rival and went 11-for-20 on third down.
The Cyclones failed to score in the first half but managed to make the game interesting in the final seven minutes of the game by scoring 14 unanswered points to set up an opportunity to retrieve an on-side kick attempt.
Iowa State couldn’t maintain possession of the ball and even though the Cyclone defense managed a three-and-out, it was too late.
Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads couldn’t match the Hawkeyes ground attack or time of possession. Iowa State rushed for 59 yards and held the ball for only 22 minutes.
With the help of Weisman, Iowa was able to control the ball for 38 minutes.
Iowa’s front seven prevented the Cyclones from rushing the ball but its secondary couldn’t stop quarterback Sam Richardson.
Minus BJ Lowry’s spectacular one-handed interception in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes secondary allowed Richardson to throw for three touchdowns and nearly mount a comeback.
The Hawkeyes are now 2-1 and head back to Iowa City for a match up against the Western Michigan Broncos on September 21 before starting Big Ten play.
Ferentz and his team have won utilizing the ground attack. For Iowa to continue its early season success going into conference play it will have to keep feeding the ball to Weisman and ensure that its young quarterback maintains his poise.