Final Score: Iowa 30, Rutgers 0
Brief Recap: Rutgers’ trip to Iowa was not a great one. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley threw two touchdowns in the first half as the Hawkeyes built a 20-0 lead entering the break. On the other side of the ball, the Scarlet Knights had five punts and an interception before the half, essentially eliminating any hopes of an upset bid before the first half was over.
Key Moment: The game was never really close after kickoff, but the key sequence came at the end of the first half. Holding a 17-0 lead at the time, Iowa’s defense forced an interception by Djimon Colbert with three minutes left to go in the half. Though they weren’t able to punch it in for a touchdown, the Hawkeyes held the ball until the break and kicked a short field goal as the half expired. Squashing that Rutgers drive and going up 20-0 was an early nail in the coffin for the Scarlet Knights.
Key Stat: 2-for-14 on third downs with 10 punts for Rutgers. It should be noted that Iowa was not much better on third down conversions (2-for-13), but the Hawkeyes were able to be effective on early downs during the game. The same cannot be said for Rutgers. Punter Adam Korsak was definitely the MVP of the Scarlet Knights, but that is never a good sign for the offense. Iowa’s defense was suffocating and did not allow Rutgers to get rolling at all.
Key Player: Iowa’s defense. Seriously, pick whichever defender you like best, and that would be a solid pick for MVP from the Hawkeyes’ victory. Rutgers was held to under 150 yards of total offense, including just 84 yards rushing. A lot was made about Rutgers’ duo Isaih Pacheco and Raheem Blackshear coming into the game, but they simply never got going consistently. And in case you are wondering, the Scarlet Knights were not any better throwing the ball. It was an entire team effort, and that’s why Iowa’s defense gets the nod here.
What it Means: For Iowa, they look to be one of the most balanced teams in the B1G West. They were once again effective both through the air and on the ground while getting key stops again and again out of their defense. If the Hawkeyes are not currently the favorites in the West, they are likely second behind Wisconsin. For Rutgers, it is undetermined what this game means. Obviously, the Scarlet Knights still have a ways to go in putting together a complete performance. But Iowa is understandably a tough game on the road.