Hawkeyes remain unbeaten, clinch bowl eligibility with win vs. Illinois
Final: No. 22 Iowa 29, Illinois 20
Key play: Jordan Canzeri’s 75-yard touchdown run
When Kinnick Stadium was beginning to get restless, Canzeri came up with the play of the day. He made a nice cutback at the line of scrimmage and broke through untouched for a 75-yard touchdown run. That score gave the Hawkeyes a 10-point lead, and gave them some needed breathing room against a pesky Illinois team.
Telling stat: Iowa wins rushing battle 278-46
Both teams were without their starting tailbacks. Technically. Iowa, however, did not look like a team playing with a backup. Canzeri’s 256 yards on 43 carries told you all needed to know about Saturday’s domination by the Hawkeyes up front. On the other hand, Illinois struggled without starter Josh Ferguson. Freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn, while talented, wasn’t really able to get into the flow of the game with Illinois trailing for most of the afternoon. Vaughn did score the first rushing touchdown against Iowa all year. Still, Illinois needs to get more out of the ground game to beat the better teams in the conference.
-Drew Ott goes down with leg injury
Man, if there was one injury Iowa didn’t want to see, it was to this guy. Ott, who already was banged up with an elbow injury that sidelined him in non-conference play, went down again on Saturday. The senior appeared to suffer a right-knee injury in the second half. He returned to the sidelines on crutches with ice on his knee. This is a week removed from arguably his best game of the season against Wisconsin last week. If he’s out for any period of time, that would be a major blow for the Hawkeyes. Fingers will be crossed in Iowa city.
-Geronimo Allison is a stud
A week after he made the game-winning catch to stun Nebraska, Allison went off against Iowa for eight catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. Without Mike Dudek, Allison has clearly stepped into the No. 1 role for Wes Lunt. That’s huge for this team. Illinois wouldn’t have had a chance in the fourth quarter had it not been for Allison coming up with some big plays to move the chains. If and when Dudek returns, those two are going to be one of the B1G’s top receiving duos.
What it means: Iowa keeps on rolling, Illinois responds respectably
How about the Hawkeyes? They clinched bowl eligibility in the sixth week of the season and put together another solid offensive game. Whenever this team needs an answer, it gets it. Sometimes its a big third-down stop, sometimes it’s a rollout by C.J. Beathard and sometimes its Canzeri going off. Do not underestimate how important it is to be able to win games in a variety of ways. Against the stout Northwestern defense next week, that’s important. And for Illinois, a loss it is, but there was nothing embarrassing about that showing. The Illini hung with one of the hottest teams in the country on the road. That hasn’t happened much in recent memory. It’s not a dramatic last-minute win, but it’s still progress.