Status report: 9-0 mark salves Beathard's mounting pain
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — C.J .Beathard already has a sore hip and a groin injury. And Iowa’s quarterback added more bumps to his list Saturday on his 7-yard somersault touchdown late in the first half of a 35-27 victory at Indiana.
“I just bruised my back a little bit,” Beathard said. “Nothing serious.”
Beathard has a close and personal friendship with Iowa’s medical staff, and that bond will strengthen this week as he works to get his body ready for Saturday’s night game with Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium.
"I’m not 100 percent,” Beathard said. “But when your adrenaline is going, you feel pretty good.”
What feels good is a 9-0 record and a top-10 ranking. Here’s how it happened:
Pass offense: A career day for Hillyer
Beathard completed 19 of 31 passes for 233 yards and no interceptions. Matt VandeBerg had a team-high five catches for 68 yards, including a clutch 30-yard hookup in the fourth quarter.
“I trust Matt to get open, and when he’s got a one-on-one ball, he does a good job of finding holes and getting open,” Beathard said. “And the offensive line was giving me a lot of time to throw.”
Beathard was not sacked by the Hoosiers. It’s the first time that’s happened since the season opener against Illinois State.
Tevaun Smith and Jacob Hillyer each had four catches. That total was a single-game career-best for Hillyer, a senior. He had never caught more than two passes in a game. He caught three on Iowa's second touchdown drive.
Iowa’s offense also won the time-of-possession battle for the fourth time in five Big Ten games. Iowa had the ball for 34 minutes, 30 seconds, compared with 25:30 for Indiana.
Rush offense: Wadley hits triple digits again
Akrum Wadley had his second 100-yard game of the season, the third of his career and his first against someone other than Northwestern. The sophomore finished with 120 yards in just 12 carries. That included a 65-yard touchdown scamper on the game’s second play from scrimmage. Wadley, who also had 204 yards in relief of the injured Jordan Canzeri at Northwestern, tweaked an ankle and missed a good share of the second half. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he didn’t think the injury was serious.
LeShun Daniels had 78 yards on a team-high 23 carries. It’s his biggest workload since a 26-carry day in the opener against Illinois State.
Canzeri missed his second straight game with a high ankle sprain. His comeback from injury has been encouraging, Ferentz said. Canzeri was cleared to play Saturday, but a decision was made to let him rest one more week.
Rush defense: Hawkeyes slow down Howard, Jewell shines
Iowa entered the game fifth nationally in rushing defense, allowing 85.8 yards a game. The Hoosiers’ Jordan Howard had 116 yards at halftime. After allowing Indiana 139 yards in 17 carries the opening half, Iowa allowed just 86 yards the second half on 22 attempts.
Howard, who had touchdown runs of 37 and 29 yards in the second quarter against a defense that had allowed just one rushing touchdown all season, managed just 60 yards in 13 attempts the second half. Still, Howard’s 174 yards was the most surrendered by the Hawkeyes this season. The only other 100-yard rusher was Maryland quarterback Perry Hills a week ago (104 yards on 19 carries).
Leading that defensive surge was sophomore linebacker Josey Jewell, who set a career high both for tackles, with 15, and solo tackles, with 11.
“The first thing I think about is how close we came to not offering him a scholarship,” Ferentz said. “Our astute judge of ability, I guess. The guy’s just a heck of a football player. He’s a tremendous leader. And he’s only a second-year player. He’s got a real presence about him. To me, it’s kind of special.”
Pass defense: A new King is crowned
Ferentz was in his first season as an assistant coach to Hayden Fry at Iowa when Lou King tied the school record for interceptions with eight in 1981. He tied the school record established by Nile Kinnick in 1939. Desmond King joined that exclusive club with his eighth pick on Saturday.
“Just a tremendous football player,” Ferentz said. “He’s got great instincts, something that he’s developed through film study.”
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Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who entered the game with 2,049 passing yards and had completed 62.8 percent of his attempts this season, was just 16 of 37 for 180 yards.
Indiana’s Simmie Cobbs Jr., gunning for his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game, had just two catches for 20 yards. Ricky Jones, who entered the game with a team-best 37 catches for 669 yards, had four catches for 39 yards against Iowa’s secondary.
Special teams: Disaster averted
Indiana cut Iowa’s lead to 35-27 on a touchdown pass with 2:24 to play, and everyone in Memorial Stadium knew and onside kick was coming. It nearly worked.
Hillyer mishandled the kick, but teammate Henry Krieger Coble recovered for the Hawkeyes, who ran out the clock.
Marshall Koehn didn’t attempt a field goal for just the second time this season, and for the first time since the North Texas game Sept. 26. Koehn did kick off six times, with four touchbacks.
Dillon Kidd punted four times for a 40.8-yard average, with a long of 51 yards. Koehn also punted once for 45 yards. King returned three kickoffs for 84 yards, but had no punt return yardage.