AMES, Iowa -- For the fourth straight year, the road team won the annual Cy-Hawk rivalry game as Iowa defeated Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday by a score of 31-17.
The Hawkeyes and Cyclones came out of their locker rooms ready to play Saturday as both teams shared their excitement throughout the week leading up to the Cy-Hawk showdown. This game featured a little bit of everything, including several courageous play calls by Kirk Ferentz and Paul Rhoads.
Iowa was able to get on the board first as Marshall Koehn knocked in a 49-yard field goal, before Iowa State answered with a Cole Netten 37-yard field goal of his own. Hawkeye preseason All-Big Ten defensive end Drew Ott was forced to leave for the rest of the game due to an elbow injury in the opening quarter, which seemed to play a major role in the first half.
The first quarter also featured a flea flicker from C.J. Beathard that ultimately fell incomplete, and a D'Vario Montgomery wide receiver reverse pass that was intercepted by Greg Mabin, before being nullified due to pass interference by Iowa on the play.
Sam Richardson found Quenton Bundrage on a 11-yard strike across the middle for the game's first touchdown early in the second quarter.
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Iowa came back to tie it when Tevaun Smith was able to reel in an impressive grab near the back corner of the endzone. Smith would soon be outdone, however, as the Cyclones took back the lead when Jauan Wesley snared a 29-yard one-handed touchdown.
"The one-handed catch was just a great play by me," Wesley said after the game.
For the Hawkeyes, the second quarter was also highlighted by two elusive and athletic runs by Beathard, with the first going for 44 yards and the second for 57.
The first half ended with Ferentz choosing to fake a field goal with two seconds left. Koehn ran for 17 yards before being tackled short of the goal line. Iowa State held a 17-10 lead as Beathard's counterpart, Richardson, had all day to throw and racked up 186 yards threw the air along with his two touchdowns.
This game would prove to be a tale of two halves, as Iowa State struggled to move the ball consistently throughout the game's final two quarters. After posting 244 total yards in the first half, they added just 66 to that number in the second half and only passed midfield once. Starting nose guard Demond Tucker also missed the rest of the game due to a sprained ankle.
“We’re disappointed and we’re disappointed for exactly that reason,” Rhoads said after the game. “We played a tremendous first half and there’s no reason we should have played the way we did in the second half. First of all you have to find those answers, why did we? Was conditioning a factor? Was it play selection? Was it execution? There are reasons there.”
Iowa's first drive of the second half ended with Matt VandeBerg alertly picking up a Henry Krieger-Coble fumble near the goal line and running it in for the score to tie the game. After that moment, the momentum seemed to shift to the Hawkeyes. VandeBerg would also finish the game with nine receptions for 114 yards.
“When my number is called, I have to win my one-on-one matchups,” VandeBerg said. “I need to be able to make a play here and there. They aren’t all big plays, but third down conversions and things like that keep us on the field.”
The Cyclones couldn't get anything going on offense through the air or with the ground game in the third quarter, as Iowa's defense adjusted very well. The Hawkeyes were eventually able to overcome the departure of Ott, and entered the 4th quarter tied with Iowa State.
“We are not going to give up, and I think that we just know that there was never any doubt in our mind that we were going to win the game,” Beathard said. “It was just a matter of when we were going to turn it on and we decided to turn it on in the second half.”
Iowa drove down the field to Iowa State's 10-yard line looking to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. However, the Cyclones recovered a Jordan Canzeri fumble at their own 10-yard line to keep the game tied.
The Hawkeyes would not be denied the next time they possessed the ball. Beathard displayed his athletic ability again as he found Riley McCarron on a running 25-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes left in the game.
Iowa State had the chance to come back and tie it on the following drive, but Richardson threw an interception to Desmond King on an out pattern. King played a pivotal role in the fourth quarter. Before McCarron's touchdown, he returned a punt 34 yards to midfield to shift field position.
Iowa would finish off the Cyclones with one more score late in the fourth when Canzeri found the endzone from 8 yards out. The Hawkeyes dominated the second half on both sides of the ball following an uneven first half, and for that, they'll head back to Iowa City with the Cy-Hawk trophy.
“The guys kept playing and that’s football,” Ferentz said. “Every coach in the world says it, it’s a 60 minute game and you can’t worry about what’s going on, you have to worry about the next play and keep playing. That’s a testament and tribute to our kids.”
Next week, Iowa (2-0) hosts Pittsburgh and Iowa State (1-1) travels to Toledo.