What we learned from Iowa's 13-3 Cy-Hawk win over Iowa State

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz calls out during the Cy-Hawk NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

IOWA CITY, Ia. — It was ugly. It was gross. But Iowa will take it.

In game that wasn’t for the offensive-mined, the Hawkeyes found just enough juice late. Mekhi Sargent’s 2-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to go Saturday cemented Iowa’s fourth straight Cy-Hawk win, 13-3, over Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium.

Three field goals were all the teams mustered until late in the fourth. The Cyclones grabbed a 3-0 advantage on their opening drive, but nothing clicked from there.

Sandwiched around two misses were a pair of Miguel Recinos field goals, the last of which handed Iowa its first lead, 6-3, with 6:34 remaining in the third.

Neither team was smooth all afternoon, but the Hawkeyes prevailed in yet another rivalry win. The Cy-Hawk trophy remains in Iowa City.

An ugly affair

With visions of last season’s 44-41 overtime thriller still dancing in Cy-Hawk fans’ heads, anticipation bubbled early for Saturday’s showdown. There were no manufactured storylines this year — just two teams with high expectations meeting under the afternoon sun.

Then, the game kicked off. And miscues were everywhere.

Neither offense had a heartbeat for most of the day. Quarterbacks weren’t sharp. Receivers dropped easy passes. Special teams miscues — shanked punts, missed field goals and more — were in abundance. Neither coach will look at this offensive film too favorably.

Plenty of statistics illustrate the futility. Here are the ones that stand out the most:

Saturday’s result was the third-lowest scoring Cy-Hawk game since 1920. Only 2012 (a 9-6 Iowa State win) and 1988 (a 10-3 Hawkeye victory) featured fewer points.

For all their offensive struggles, the Cyclones did look strong on their opening drive. They drove 66 yards on 13 plays for an early field goal. The next time Iowa State ran a play in enemy territory? 6:34 to go in third quarter.

Neither squad was particularly sharp on third down, combining to go 10-for-31.

After the opening-drive struggles, Iowa surrendered just 82 net yards on the Cyclones’ next nine drive combined.

ANALYSIS:Iowa offense stuck in neutral puts together encouraging late-game drive

Iowa limits big-time Cyclone weapons

Kirk Ferentz had high praise for both Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery this week, two Cyclones who torched Iowa in Ames last year.

Montgomery is generally regarded as one of the best running backs in the country. Butler had big-play potential on the outside.

Iowa held both in check.

Montgomery mustered 44 yards on 17 carries, a measly 2.6 yards per carry. He didn’t have a run longer than 11 all day as the Hawkeyes swarmed him with multiple black jerseys on every touch.

Butler, meanwhile, had just three catches on 10 targets. He finished with 35 receiving yards, 23 of which came on Iowa State’s final drive.

Not much went right for Iowa’s offense, but its defense proved its worth again.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.