Iowa caps unbeaten non-conference slate with rout of North Texas
Final: Iowa 62, North Texas 16
Telling stat: Beathard starts 13-for-13, for 233 yards
What couldn’t the Iowa signal-caller do in the first half? He diced up the North Texas secondary whenever and wherever he wanted. He hit Tevaun Smith for an 81-yard score, and then connected with blocking tight end George Kittle for a 43-yard touchdown. Beathard was accurate short, deep and everywhere in between. Even more impressive was the fact that he only had one rush. He was feeling it, and it paced Iowa to a dominant start.
Key play: Jordan Canzeri 10-yard TD
Iowa scored a whole mess of points on Saturday, and a lot of them came by the senior tailback. He tied a school record, actually. Canzeri, still filling in as the feature back for the banged up LeShun Daniels, capitalized early and often on a four-touchdown day. After a lengthy Desmond King punt return gave the Hawkeyes a short field, Canzeri punched it in from 10 yards out to give Iowa a 14-0 lead. It was one of the many early plays that put North Texas on its heels. Had Iowa failed to convert on the short field, Iowa might not have gotten in such a balanced rhythm in the first half. Instead, it fueled a monster day from the Hawkeye offense.
-Drew Ott had sack, forced fumble, recovered by Nathan Bazata
That had to be a welcome sight for Iowa fans. Their defensive leader hasn’t been at full strength since he suffered an arm injury two weeks ago. But with North Texas threatening to get back into the game down 19, Ott turned the table like he usually does. His bullrush was capped off with a fumble by Andrew McNulty to give Iowa the ball back. If Ott isn’t back to full strength, he’s certainly still able to function well enough to be a game-changer. That’s big heading into conference play. By the way, how about that little 8-man Nebraska football connection between Ott and Bazata?
-Smith busts loose
I predicted that Smith, Iowa’s best receiver, would finally have a breakout game. Fortunately, he lived up to my prediction. His 81-yard score was arguably the highlight of the day for the Hawkeyes. His first 100-yard game of the season was the product of him clicking with Beathard better than he has all year. The Hawkeyes have been fortunate to get key contributions from Matt VandeBerg, but Iowa needs their stud wideout to be the playmaker he was on Saturday.
What it means: Break out the oranges
Ok, I’m just kidding. That was mean. But this is the first time since that 2009 Orange Bowl season that the Hawkeyes will enter B1G play unbeaten. If not for Northwestern’s incredible start, Iowa would be the trendy pick to win the West. Not to overreact too much to a win to North Texas, but you can’t help but like what this team is building heading into what is sure to be a wild, wild, West race.