IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Drew Stevens kicked three field goals, and Iowa added two fourth-quarter touchdowns on the way to a 22-0 win over Rutgers on Saturday that helped the Hawkeyes clinch a share of the Big Ten West Division title.
Iowa’s defense posted its first shutout since the end of last season, while its offense had its most productive game of this season.
“As the game kept going, I thought our guys got more confident,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “November football, and I’ve said this before, is when things shape up or don’t shape up for football teams.”
The Hawkeyes (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten), who came into the game ranked as one of the nation’s worst offenses, put up a season-high 402 yards and had almost a 17-minute edge in time of possession.
“It shows how much we’ve grown as an offense,” said quarterback Deacon Hill, who threw for a career-high 223 yards.
The Hawkeyes held Rutgers (6-4, 3-4) to just 127 yards. Iowa’s defense shut down Kyle Monangai, the Big Ten’s leading rusher at 100.3 yards per game, holding him to just 39 yards on 13 carries.
“That was a big key for us to keep him under control,” Ferentz said.
“It really started with the guys up front,” said Iowa linebacker Nick Jackson, who had seven tackles. “They’ve been physical day in and day out, and whenever we can neutralize an offensive line like that, it just helps get us free and makes our job easier.”
Iowa’s defense has allowed just one offensive touchdown in the last four games.
“Iowa is exactly who we thought they were,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “They sure played well today.”
Stevens kicked a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 43-yarder in the third. He added a 24-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Jaziun Patterson had a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to put Iowa up 12-0, then Hill threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kaleb Brown with 4:39 left to close the scoring.
Hill, who moved into the starting lineup after Cade McNamara suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fifth game of the season, had his best game of the season, completing 20 of 31 passes. He completed passes to seven different receivers, including a 54-yarder to tight end Zach Ortwerth, his longest completion of the day, that set up Stevens’ second field goal.
“The biggest thing is trusting myself and the growth I’ve seen in the last month or so,” Hill said.
“Clearly he was playing with more confidence out there,” Ferentz said. “I’m guessing he’s been hearing a lot of negative stuff out there. Instead of worrying about that, he’s been trying to get better.”
Iowa’s defense kept Rutgers from mounting any sort of comeback. The Scarlet Knights’ last five drives ended with either a three-and-out or a turnover. Rutgers was also penalized seven times for 40 yards.
“I think we had, what, five false starts,” Schiano said. “You don’t have a chance when you do that.”