Iowa broke a 17-17 tie with just over two minutes left to play and went on to a 31-17 win Saturday over Iowa State in in Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz say he was pleased his team overcame some mistakes and poor field position to get the win.
“We knew coming in here it was going to be a very tough environment, a tough football team, a well-coached football team and I am really proud of our guys and the way they hung in there,” Ferentz says. “As we look forward if we are going to be competitive in November the way we want to be, you’ve got to find a way to win games like this. And there was nothing easy certainly about today’s ballgame. From our standpoint I though our guys did a great job of preparing this week, I was pleased with that, it starts with that, we weathered a lot of tough periods through the course of the game.”
Iowa held Iowa State scoreless in the second half, which Ferentz says was something the players did on their own.
“I wish we could take credit for a half-time speech or adjustments — it’s really more about our players getting a feel a little bit. That first half that ball was going up and down and it seemed one-side. The second half we played really good defense, took away the run and made them a little bit left-handed, which helps too,” Ferentz says.
Hawkeye quarterback C.J Beathard made some big plays with his feet and threw three touchdown passes to lead Iowa to the victory.
“I think the thing I was most impressed about the way C.J. played was him keeping his poise. When you talk to him or see him on the sideline he never looks any different, he doesn’t get rattled. It would have been easy to get rattled, just really proud of what he did,” Ferentz says.
Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads says Iowa outplayed his team in the second half. “We played a tremendous first half and there is no reason we should have played the way we did in the second half,” according to Rhoads. “So, first of all you’ve got to find those answers. Why did we? Was conditioning a factor, was it play selection, execution. There’s reasons there, and it’s our job as a program to discover them and not allow them to happen again.”
While the Cyclones made big plays in the first half to take the lead, Rhoads says they gave up too many big plays in the second half. Some of it was due to poor execution on defense.
“There was too much arm tackling that took place tonight, and not enough feet and hip and body tackling,” Rhoads says. He says they will put the loss behind them and prepare for the next game. “We’re worried about Toledo and we will go back to work Toledo tomorrow as a staff and then as a team as we start practice on Monday. It’s week three in college, we are moving on right now, and that’s where our focus is,” Rhoads says.
One of the stars of the game for Iowa was the quarterback Beathard. He threw a few passes high early on, but says he was able to get into the rhythm of the game. Beathard says Iowa State’s 3-4 defense gave him some different looks and he had to throw over them and that made him throw a little high at the start. “I think yeah, a little bit of that was settling in,” Beathard says.
Beathard’s big plays included a 57-yard run on what he says was a draw play that worked well. “You know I saw a seam, saw a hole and it turned into a big play,” Beathard says. “You know I was dying after the fact, but it was a big play in the game.” Iowa got pinned deep in their own territory several times in the first half, but Beathard says they were able to overcome it.
“That’s part of the game, you’ve just go to keep the faith all the way through, and that’s what we did on offense and defense. It wasn’t going so good early, but that’s part of football, you keep chipping away and things will happen your way,” Beathard says.
Matt Vandeberg caught nine of Beathard’s passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. He picked up a fumble at the four-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown, and several of his catches were key in keeping drives going. He says he has to be there as the defense looks to stop the speedy Tevaun Smith at the other receiver spot.
“When there’s a guy like Tevaun on the other side of the field you know he is going to get attention being as good as he is. When my number is called I got to win my one-on-one matchups –make a play here and there,” Vandeberg says. “They are not all big plays, but third down conversions and things like that keep the team on the field.”
He is pleased to bring the Cy-Hawk Trophy back to Iowa City. “It feels great, it is the Hawkeye state once again and that feels pretty darn good,” Vandeberg says.
The Cyclones take a 1-1 record to Toledo Saturday. Iowa returns home at 2-0 to face Pittsburg in a night game.