Iowa football vs. Rutgers recap: Iowa improves to 3-1 on the season with 27-10

Raven Moore
Hawk Central

The Hawkeyes improve their season record to 3-1 after yet another imposing performance by their defense.

Accounting for two touchdowns and three turnovers, the Hawkeyes' defense was able to get out to a big lead early over the Scarlet Knights, which allowed their offense the opportunity to catch up. 

Kaevon Merriweather accounted for two of those takeaways after posting an interception and a fumble recovery that he took for a 30-yard touchdown.

Offensively, the team had arguably their most balanced showing of the season where they had 129 rushing yards and 148 passing yards.

Tight end Sam LaPorta finished the night with four catches for 77 yards, which tied the yardage he had coming into this game.

After missing last week's game, Leshon Williams was solid in his return, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

End of the fourth quarter

Excluding a late touchdown pass by Rutgers, the Hawkeyes maintained their control in this game to improve to 3-1 on the season.

2:47/Q4 — Tory Taylor's making it look easy

On his fifth punt of the night, Taylor punts the ball all the way to Rutgers' six-yard line. This is his fourth punt of the night inside the 20-yard line.

3:49/Q4 — Iowa's defense stands firm

With the Scarlet Knights needing a score, the Hawkeyes' defense did not allow that to happen after forcing them to turn the ball over on downs.

6:15/Q4 — Iowa adds to their lead

Needing another score to regain comfort on the scoreboard, they trotted out kicker Drew Stevens to try a 51-yard field goal.

He made the kick, giving him team the 27-10 lead to make it a three-score lead.

11:15/Q4 — Rutgers is not dead yet

After a drive that covered 63 yards in just 1:02, Rutgers scores their first touchdown of the game.

Evan Simons finds Aron Cruickshank for an 18-yard pass in the corner of the endzone.

It is now a 24-10 game.

12:17/Q4 — Iowa goes three-and-out

Setting up at their own seven-yard line, the Hawkeyes had a tall task of getting into favorable field position.

Instead, they were forced to punt.

Rutgers takes over at their own 37-yard line following Tory Taylor's punt.

13:46/Q4 — Iowa's defense comes up big again

The Hawkeyes' defense bent, but did not break despite Rutgers making it into the redzone.

They brought a heavy blitz on 4th and 4, which forced Evan Simons to through an incompletion on the pivotal play.

The Hawkeyes' offense will take over at their own seven-yard line.

End of the third quarter

The Hawkeyes kicked off the third quarter with their first offensive touchdown of the night after a short run from Leshon Williams, this gave them the 24-3 lead.

However, they have been kept quiet since then, even after starting a drive in Rutgers' territory after an interception from Kaevon Merriweather.

Defensively, the group has faced its biggest challenge of the night as the Scarlet Knights ended the period deep in Iowa territory.

We will see if the Hawkeyes can notch their fourth turnover of the game or make another big stop the offense from scoring for the first time since the first quarter.

3:43/Q3 — Iowa punts again

Penalties cost the Hawkeyes another drive as they are unable to capitalize on their good field position. 

Tory Taylor's punt is downed at Rutgers' 11-yard line.

5:42/Q3 — Kaevon Merriweather forces another turnover

After recovering a fumble earlier in the game, Merriweather makes another big play in the second half.

This time, he picks off Evan Simons' pass at Iowa's 22-yard line and returns it for 33 yards.

He sets his offense up at the Rutgers' 45-yard line.

10:09/Q3 — Leshon Williams scores a touchdown!

The Hawkeyes' offense scores its first touchdown of the night after a two-yard run by Leshon Williams.

His number was called several times on that drive, rushing for 40 yards on five carries.

Iowa now leads 24-3.

14:54/Q3 — The second half is underway

Following their kickoff return, the Hawkeyes will begin the drive at the 25-yard line.

Halftime

Iowa leads Rutgers 17-3 at halftime as their defense again has been carrying the weight.

They have scored two touchdowns, first a 45-yard pick-six by cornerback Cooper DeJean, then it was a 30-yard fumble recovery from defensive back Kaevon Merriweather.

0:21/Q2 — Iowa takes 17-3 lead

The Hawkeyes have their longest drive of the season, where they use 12 plays to go 87 yards, however, it ends in just a field goal.

The highlight of the drive was a 42-yard pass from Petras to Sam LaPorta that got them all the way to Rutgers' 13-yard line.

5:00/Q2 — The punters' duel continues

Despite reaching their own 48-yard line, the Hawkeyes stopped the Scarlet Knights from going any further, leading to their third punt of the game.

This time, Korsak has his punt downed at Iowa's six-yard line. This is Iowa's worst starting field position of the night.

8:28/Q2 — Iowa's defense strikes again

After what looked to be a first-down reception between Evan Simon and Joshua Youngblood, Iowa forces a fumble which is taken 30 yards to the house by Kaevon Merriweather.

Iowa leads 14-3 after Drew Stevens' made point after kick.

9:18/Q2 — Iowa's promising drive ends in a punt

Despite getting multiple first downs and taking the ball beyond midfield, the Hawkeyes' offense stalls again.

A big turning point came after Spencer Petras was sacked for an eight-yard loss after taking the snap at Rutgers' 45.

Following Taylor's punt, Rutgers will start their next drive at their own nine-yard line.

14:07/Q2 — Rutgers goes three and out

The Scarlet Knights again struggle to get the ball downfield, going three and out to open the second quarter.

Following the punt from Adam Korsak, the Hawkeyes are set up at their own 16-yard line.

End of the first quarter

Iowa leads Rutgers 7-3 after the first quarter. The Hawkeyes got on the board after a 45-yard pick-six by cornerback Cooper DeJean, his third interception of the young season.

However, Rutgers truck first after making a 28-yard field goal attempt on their first drive of the game.

When we return, it will be 2nd and 7 for Rutgers at their own 40-yard line.

1:01/Q1 — Iowa set to punt again

After a holding penalty is called on Iowa's first play of the drive, the Hawkeyes are unable to get into a rhythm, going three and out.

An injury timeout has been called for a Rutgers.

2:42/Q1 — Arland Bruce in the game

2:42/Q1 — Rutgers punts after their interception

Hoping to avoid another turnover, the Scarlet Knights came out conservatively. Unfortunately for them, it did not pay off since they were forced to punt.

Iowa will start their second drive of the game at the 21-yard line.

5:26/Q1 — Cooper DeJean puts Iowa on the board

Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean could not have scripted his third interception any better. After picking off Evan Simon's third-down pass, he avoided would-be tacklers for a 45-yard touchdown.

After the made point after kick by Drew Stevens, Iowa leads 7-3.

8:11/Q1 — Iowa punts on its opening drive

After starting the drive with an 11-yard completion to tight end Sam LaPorta, the Hawkeyes were unable to gain any traction and were forced to punt.

Luckily, Tory Taylor's punt was fair caught at Rutgers' four-yard line.

10:14/Q1 — Evan Simon starts at quarterback for Rutgers

After a week of mystery, Rutgers officially roles out with sophomore Evan Simon as their starting quarterback. The decision looks right as he leads the team on a 12-yard drive that covers 66 yards, ultimately ending in a 28-yard field goal from Jude McAtamney.

This is the first time this season that the Hawkeyes defense has allowed a team to score in the first quarter.

6:10 p.m. — Iowa decides to defer

After winning the coin toss, the Hawkeyes have decided to defer until the second half. Rutgers will receive the opening kickoff.

5:52 — Rutgers' quarterback uncertainty remains

4:50 p.m. — Pre-Game Warmups

For more coverage ahead of tonight's kick, here are stories by Hawk Central's Kennington Lloyd Smith III and Chad Leistikow:

Raven Moore covers high school sports for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. You can reach her at RSMoore@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Raven_XReport.