Halftime update: Nate Stanley finds groove, throws 2 touchdowns in first half

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Despite turning the ball over three times, Iowa holds a 14-3 halftime lead over Wyoming in its season opener. 

The Hawkeyes have put up 151 yards and the Cowboys, led by star quarterback Josh Allen, to 81 yards. Akrum Wadley and James Butler have led Iowa with 66 and 30 rushing yards, respectively.

Iowa tight end Noah Fant catches a 2-yard touchdown pass over Wyoming safety Alijah Halliburton on Saturday.

On defense, Jake Gervase recorded a linebacker-like tackle to stuff Wyoming's third-and-short run late in the first. Earlier in the quarter, Gervase used a full-extension dive to break up Josh Allen's pass to a wide open receiver on the sideline. If he doesn't make that play, Wyoming likely scores on its first possession.

Freshman A.J. Epenesa recorded his first tackle — a rocking tackle for loss on Allen — late in the second quarter.

Here are the other key developments from the first half: 

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley warms up before Saturday's game against Wyoming.

Stanley struggles early, gets it going late: The Nate Stanley era had a rough start. Through Iowa's first three drives, Stanley was 0-for-4 with an interception and a minus-50 passer rating. But he entered halftime 4-for-8 for 50 yards and two touchdowns and his rating was up to 160.

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen warms up before Saturday's game against Iowa.

Allen's arm is as good as advertised: On the other side, Allen's arm has certainly looked like that of an NFL prospect. He hasn't gotten much over the top against Iowa and is taking what the Hawkeyes are allowing underneath. He entered halftime having completed 11 of 14 passes for 66 yards. He hasn't completed a pass longer than 12 yards. Expect him to try to push it downfield more in second half. 

Whiffed punt: Wyoming punter Tim Zaleski whiffed on a punt with 27 seconds left in the first half. Iowa recovered on Wyoming's 32-yard line. After an offside on the Cowboys, Stanley hit Noah Fant for a 27-yard touchdown.

Wyoming will receive the ball to open the second half. 

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.